December 26, 2013

Russell Athletic Bowl Pick: Miami vs. Louisville

R&L Carriers New Orleans Matchup: Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals

Date/Time: December 28th, 6:45 ET

Television: ESPN

Russell Athletic Bowl Odds from BetAnySports

Point Spread: Louisville -3

Total: 57

Over the course of the first eight days of the bowl season, there is no doubt that one of the most anticipated games will be played in Orlando, where the Miami Hurricanes will take on the Louisville Cardinals in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

The Canes finished up the season at 9-3, easily their best season of the Head Coach Al Golden era. The NCAA sanctions are now behind Miami, and that will leave Golden a chance to restore this team as one of the best in the country. There is a chance to finish with 10 wins and a spot in the Top 25 in the nation, though most will be quick to point out that “The U” didn’t successfully do much of anything this year. The win over the Florida Gators, which was considered at the time to be one of the biggest wins this team has had in years, turned out to be a dud, and the only bowl teams that Miami beat this year were 7-5 Georgia Tech, 6-6 North Carolina, and 6-6 Pittsburgh. It’s the final game in the career of QB Stephen Morris, who has largely underachieved in his career. He threw for 2,868 yards and 21 TDs, but he also averaged a whopping 9.0 yards per pass attempt to boot.

Louisville caught the short end of the stick this year. We believe that this should have been a BCS team for going 11-1, even with that one loss coming to the UCF Knights at home. Had the Knights not won the game from behind on that Friday night, the argument could be made that Louisville should have been in the National Championship Game. In all likelihood, this is the last dance for QB Teddy Bridgewater, who figures to go pro after his junior season and will likely become the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans next season. Bridgewater threw for 3,523 yards and 28 TDs against four picks, and though he didn’t put up the season that most figured he would, it’s tough to argue with any of these numbers. Head Coach Charlie Strong too, could be on his way out, as the NFL could be calling after two very successful seasons at Louisville.

The Cardinals shocked the world last year when they beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl, and that’s why most figured that they would be National Championship contenders this season. It’s not a shock to see the Cards doing so well in bowl games, as they have gone 3-1 over the course of their last four visits to bowl games since 2006, including winning a pair of BCS bowl games in the midst of all of that. The Hurricanes haven’t been to a bowl game since 2010, and they haven’t won a bowl game since 2006. They have played here in the Russell Athletic Bowl once before (though it was known as the Champs Sports Bowl at that point), losing to the Wisconsin Badgers 20-14. These two haven’t played each other since 2006, a 31-7 win for the Cardinals at home. Louisville is 3-0 ATS all-time against Miami.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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