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Louisville’s hit list: Seminoles down, Clemson to go

Up-and-coming Louisville Cardinals are the favorites of people betting on college football to derail the Clemson Tigers’ victory train on Saturday, October 1st at Memorial Stadium in South Carolina. These are the NCAA football betting odds:

Louisville Cardinals -2 (-110) 67½ (-110) -130
Clemson Tigers +2 (-110) 67½ (-110) +110

The Tigers seemed to have just been going through the motions, though that was still good for a 4-0 record and settling cozily into a No. 5 spot in the AP poll. But it might have been enough for those uppity Cardinals. Accordingly, Clemson made fellow Atlantic Coast Conference program Georgia Tech look like a sparring partner prior to their showdown with Louisville. As Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson put it “they kicked our butts” – quoting Mark Anthony following the Battle of Actium, if I remember my Shakespeare correctly. Tigers QB Deshaun Watson completed 32 of 48 passes for 304 yards with two TDs and one interception. Clemson was up 347-22 lead in total yards and 19-3 in first downs at halftime, and led 23-0; a scoreboard that actually does a disservice to the Tigers’ dominance over Georgia Tech. Clemson took the foot off the pedal in the second half, graciously allowing the Yellow Jackets to avoid a shutout. Isn’t that sweet.

As for the No. 3 Cardinals, and to put in a way that’s appropriate for all fans betting on college football regardless of their age, Louisville QB Lamar Jackson made Marshall his small female canine. Heisman trophy candidate threw 24 of 44 for 417 yards with five TDs, and ran 62 yards on 12 carries for an additional two scores. The Cards vanquished their non-conference opponent 59-28. That’s not to say Louisville didn’t exhibit a few flaws; for example, the Cardinals were penalized 12 times for 143 yards, and Jackson’s rush at times forced him into inaccurate throws. “I was overthrowing my receivers,” Jackson said. “I’m hot about that right now.” Oh, Lamar; if you have a failing it’s that you’re always demanding perfection.
If you have a failing.

The Cardinals-Tigers clash on Saturday has the makings of an instant classic. Louisville is No. 1 nationally in total offense, while Clemson is No. 3 nationally in total defense. Both programs have faced each other only twice and very recently, with the Tigers closely getting the best of the Cards in 2014 and 2015. However, something more than just bragging rights might be at stake here – the winner would become the new favorite of people who bet on college football to win the Atlantic Division title, and very possibly land a coveted spot in the vaunted College Football Playoff. Clemson will be Louisville’s first true road test, but it is very telling that the Tigers, who have not lost at Memorial Stadium since 2013 against the Florida State Seminoles, are a home underdog, even if ever so slightly. The Cardinals have already asserted their ascendancy over the Seminoles; a win over Clemson would truly mean that Louisville has arrived.