BÖZICH | Which programs should be Louisville’s top ACC football contenders? | Sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville athletic program will enter its ninth season later this year at the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Life is more entertaining than what the American Athletic, Big East, Conference USA, Metro and Missouri Valley conferences offered.

With a little quibble: who are Louisville’s primary ACC rivals?

The question should be asked today because the ACC spring meetings began Monday in Amelia Island, Florida. ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that league officials are considering eliminating the seven-team Atlantic and Coastal divisions for football.

If this move is made, the ACC would adopt a schedule where schools have either two or three annual rivals, while each other league team rotates on a different schedule.

That sounds like the perfect time for U of L fans to speak up: Who are the two or three ACC programs the Cards football team is scheduled to play each year?

Virginia is the program the ACC has tucked into a planning partnership with the Cards to sponsor an annual men’s soccer game and home-and-home basketball games with the Cavaliers.

In football, U of L plays its six opponents from the Atlantic Division (Florida State, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse, and Clemson), Virginia, and a rotating opponent from the Coastal Division.

I know Louisville fans who would celebrate if the Cards never played Tony Bennett’s UVa basketball team again. But this is football talk.

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The football rivalry between Louisville and Virginia was solid but hardly spectacular. The programs have split eight games since U of L joined the ACC, with the Cards winning three of the top four.

Both programs have won once at each other’s stadium, and five games have been decided by a touchdown or fewer.

If the ACC goes to three-year opponents, Virginia would be a reasonable choice. It’s a game that a good Louisville team should normally win. It’s a pleasant seven-hour drive to Charlottesville, where it’s not a hard ticket for opposing fans.

But the Cards need a sexier name for their primary ACC football opponent.

I would support the state of Florida instead of Clemson and Miami. These are the three programs with a national cache in the ACC. Florida State tops the list in this group.

The cards never beat Dabo Swinney and Clemson, and the gap between the programs has widened, not narrowed.

Miami recruited Oregon coach Mario Cristobal to give the Hurricanes the performance they’ve been missing since the Howard Schnellenberger/Jimmy Johnson/Dennis Erickson era. Your boosters spend like a program with no salary cap. The U seems determined to become a handful again.

But Florida State and Louisville have a history. They competed as basketball rivals in the Metro Conference, and programs began in 1952 with football competition.

The Cards will play their 2022 home opener when the Seminoles visit Cardinal Stadium on Friday, September 16. It will be the 23rd game in the series. Louisville will be looking to extend its winning streak to three games. The programs split eight games since the cards were moved to the ACC. FSU turned Scott Satterfield’s top quarterback recruit several years ago.

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In a world without divisions, the rivalry between the U and L-FSU should continue. It’s a game the cards can win, and the program benefits from the recruiting presence in Florida.

Which programs should be Louisville’s top ACC football contenders?

I would argue for Georgia Tech as the second permanent ACC opponent. This is another program with a Metro conference connection. It’s also a team that should beat Louisville while making its mark in the fertile recruiting ground of Atlanta, Georgia.

Boston College and Syracuse offer little. Hard journeys for fans. Sagging tradition. There’s nothing compelling about North Carolina’s four schools, at least not in football.

Virginia Tech and Louisville have played once since the Cards joined the ACC. U of L did not make a trip to Blacksburg during this time. Pull out.

Pittsburgh is worth discussing. The programs have played against 18 teams since 1976 and have had a solid rivalry in the Great East.

But if the ACC eliminates divisions and goes to two permanent opponents, I’d prefer to see Louisville play Florida State and Georgia Tech.

If the plan is three permanent adversaries and five rotating programs, give me FSU, the Yellow Jackets, and Virginia.

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