By Beau Kilpatrick–
The No. 3 Louisville Cardinals go toe-to-toe with No. 5 Clemson Tigers Saturday night at 8 p.m. These two programs sit on top of the ACC and the matchup is sure to be an epic showdown.
Clemson has won the past two meetings against the Cardinals. Louisville and Clemson have played close games in both games, with margins of victory never more than a touchdown. Saturday’s game in Death Valley is anticipated to come down to the wire like both 2014 and 2015 games.
The national spotlight is focused on the quarterback position for both teams. Lamar Jackson is leading the nation in scoring, with 25 touchdowns, and is leading the Heisman race after four weeks. Clemson is the ACC defending champs and national runner-ups. Quarterback Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to the College Football Playoffs and fell just short to Alabama in the title game.
Louisville is on their way to having the greatest season in school history. They demolished powerhouse Florida State two weeks ago by 43 points and are home to the Heisman front-runner. Finally, the win against Clemson would put Louisville in the driver seat to win the ACC Atlantic and carve a spot open in the ACC Conference Championship game. If U of L takes the ACC title, the Cardinals might just be playing in college football’s final four.
A loss at Clemson would not be the end of Louisville’s hopes either. Even with a loss, the Cardinals could manage to win the ACC as long as they finish strong. Jackson’s hopes of taking home the Heisman don’t disappear either. A loss in Clemson isn’t considered a bad loss, but games such as these separate teams from good to great.
A win opens a whole new door of possibilities, one that U of L has never experienced. One of those possibilities is being ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time in school history.
Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal