Scott Satterfield's first season as Louisville Cardinals head coach went better than some might have expected. Remember, heading into last season, there were not a lot of high expectations for a new coaching staff that had to turn around a team that finished 2-10 season the previous year.
The team finished 8-5 overall, including 5-3 in the ACC. In his second season, the Cardinals are looking to contend in a competitive conference that includes Notre Dame for 2020. First, the Cardinals will have to navigate their 10-game ACC schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Louisville will play just one non-conference opponent in 2020, and that will be against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to begin the season. From there, the Cardinals will have games against Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State, and Virginia Tech.
Before the start of the season, Athlon Sports asked a few of its editors and one of its college football contributors to predict the Cardinals' final record.
Louisville Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Scott Satterfield guided Louisville to a six-game jump in the win column in his debut last year, and the 2020 version of this program could feature a run to an appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Satterfield is one of the best minds in college football on offense, and a full offseason to work with quarterback Micale Cunningham should pay dividends for this group. Running back Javian Hawkins and receiver Tutu Atwell join Cunningham to form one of the nation’s top offensive trios. Louisville’s defense struggled last year by surrendering 33.4 points a game and 6.3 yards a snap. With seven starters back, improvement should be a reasonable expectation. However, with a high-powered offense in place, the Cardinals can outscore most of the teams on the schedule. While Louisville might not be as well-rounded as Notre Dame or North Carolina in the race to finish second in the ACC, missing the Tar Heels and Clemson in the revamped schedule is a big plus for Satterfield’s team.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Louisville could be a surprise contender for the ACC Championship Game thanks in part to a schedule that does not include Clemson or North Carolina. There are a couple of road tests (Notre Dame and Pittsburgh), but otherwise, the toughest matchups for the Cardinals will come at home. Louisville already boasts one of the top offensive trios in the league in quarterback Micale Cunningham, running back Javian Hawkins, and wide receiver Tutu Atwell, so if Scott Satterfield's team can improve on defense the Cardinals could find themselves in Charlotte at season's end.
Antwan Staley (@antwanstaley)
Last season, the Cardinals finished 24th in total offense at 447.3 yards per game. They were also 24th in rushing with 212.8 yards per game. Now they get another season with Scott Satterfield at the helm and a more talented team than a season ago. Expect redshirt junior quarterback Micale Cunningham to have a better grasp of the offense this year. The Cardinals secondary will be the biggest question heading into the season, as their defense allowed 33.4 points per game. As good as their offense is expected to be, if their secondary can eliminate the big plays, the Cardinals should be one of the better teams in the ACC. Also, because of the year that is, Louisville will avoid Clemson this season, but will have to play Notre Dame, who also could be one of the best teams in the country.