Dalton Ray: 9-3
The schedule isn’t challenging, but I still think Louisville can slip up. I can see this team being a seven-win team and I can see this team being an 11-win team.
Lamar Jackson is special and will make people pay for disregarding him this offseason. The problem, in my eyes, comes with the offensive and defensive line and defensive scheme.
The offensive line has three new starters, including a true freshman and a redshirt freshman.
U of L doesn’t have a defensive identity, which can haunt them if they don’t find it. Their defensive line is extremely thin and the Cardinals will likely get pushed around all season.
Focus likely won’t be an issue after what happened last season, but Louisville has questionmarks across the field.
Matt Bradshaw: 10-2
Football will be good this year, but not that good. They have a very weak schedule, so that won’t prepare them for the tough games, such as the away game versus Florida State. In the end, their record is going to look solid and Jackson will likely have an impressive year, but this won’t help them get to a national championship.
Jeff Milby: 10-2
There are questions surrounding Louisville football as it gears up for the season opener against Purdue. Will Lamar Jackson improve upon his stellar Heisman season of a year ago? Will we see a better offensive line under position coach Mike Summers? Has the fumbling issue been addressed? Make no mistake, though, this team is talented.
Jackson has a pair of stud receivers in Jaylen Smith and Seth Dawkins to throw to. The defense, led by Jaire Alexander and James Hearns, will be one of the best in the ACC. Expect this team to have success as well. The schedule, save for a few high-profile games against Clemson and Florida State, is relatively weak, with the Cardinals expected to be the favorites most times out.
A 10-win campaign would be an improvement upon 2016, but the College Football Playoff will prove elusive for Bobby Petrino’s bunch in 2017.
Micah Brown: 9-3
The games that stand out to me are NC State, Florida State and Kentucky. Questions still remain surrounding the offensive line, receivers and Jackson’s accuracy. I expect the Cards to be the superior team in many games this season.
However, whenever a game is against a rival school, all the measurements, rankings and predictions become obsolete. While I believe Louisville was a better team than Kentucky and Houston last year, it certainly did not appear that way on the field. It is for this reason that I think football drops three games this season, all of which to teams they will be better than.
Conner Farrell: 10-2
Coming off a 9-4 season, the returning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Cards have something to prove.
Looking ahead into this season, the pivotal moment of discerning the trajectory of this team will come on Sept. 16 as the defending national champion Clemson Tigers travel to PJCS.
If this team can overcome the likes of Clemson, which the team has not defeated since U of L’s arrival in the ACC, then fans will know what to expect as the season progresses.
The two games this team will drop are ACC road games against NC State and Florida State.
The success of this season hinges on three areas: Improved offensive line play, ball security and continued stellar play from the defensive secondary.
Jordan Shim: 11-1
I predict Louisville to go 11-1, with their only loss from No. 3 Florida State. First and foremost, the offensive line must protect Jackson because the offense lacks proven weapons.
Going to Tallahassee won’t be easy, and they have arguably the nation’s best secondary. Florida State can shut down Louisville’s passing game and make them one-dimensional. which can limit Lamar Jackson’s impact.
Clemson has a lot to replace and Louisville nearly won last year. At home, Jackson should work his magic again.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal