Week 1 of the college football season concludes with a special Monday Night matchup as Notre Dame heads down to Bluegrass Country to take on the University of Louisville. Last season was an exercise in extremes for these two programs. For Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish it was a great season and the team went undefeated before running into the bright orange buzzsaw of Clemson in the playoffs. Even with the loss to the Tigers, the Irish finished 12-1 SU but that was only good enough for 6-6-1 against the spread. Some things never change and Notre Dame as an overpriced public ‘darling’ is one of those things.
For Louisville, things can change fast enough from Bobby Petrino’s disastrous final season as head coach. The 2018 season started alright as the Cardinals won two of their first three games. They wouldn’t win again last year losing 9 straight to finish 2-10 SU/1-10 ATS. Louisville would have been happy just to send Petrino packing after the team’s implosion but they managed to hire an excellent replacement–former Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield. That alone should make Louisville more competitive this season though the previous regime left a pretty big mess.
Notre Dame will likely be ‘deja vu all over again’ in 2019. They’ve got a team capable of putting up double digit wins again this season and with a few breaks a return to the National Championship playoffs is not out of the question. Should that happen, however, they’ll just get eviscerated by Clemson or Alabama. At this juncture, the average have decent talent but not on the level of the true elite of college football. Irish were a ho hum 2-3-1 ATS last year on the road despite a 5-1 SU record.
Louisville’s defense was horrible last year ranking #128 in points against (44.1 PPG). They return 10 starters from that team and the change in coaching should help. Satterfield’s true talent is on offense where he’s particularly good in customizing his tactics to the talent on hand. As a result, you can expect to see a more rush oriented attack. You can also expect to see him ‘milk the clock’ and shorten the game to help keep his team competitive. This also helps the defense as long drives make for a rested defense.
Notre Dame is the significantly better team but given what Louisville will try to do asking the Irish to cover this price on the road in their opening game is a tall order. We’ll go with the points and the ‘Under’.