The Belk Bowl on Tuesday will see the NC State Wolfpack take on the Louisville Cardinals in Charlotte, NC. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. kickoff and will be televised nationally on ESPN. NC State is currently favored in this contest by 2.5 points with the total sitting at 44 points. Both teams enter the contest with 7-5 records but Louisville was literally one game away from a BCS Bowl game.
Free Analysis: This game is pretty much a home game for the NC State Wolfpack, playing a bowl game in state. To a small level school that might seem like a pretty good thing but I don't see how it's a big advantage for a major college football team. However Louisville was really just one game away from playing in a BCS bowl game by winning the Big East. Sad, really, but true. I think Louisville will have some motivation to play in this game because they are really young as a team. In fact, they start 10 freshmen. The Cards were picked to finish seventh in the Big East and started the year at 2-4 before coach Charlie Strong held a team meeting in which senior Anthony Conner called out his teammates for selfish and inconsistent play. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. But for Louisville, it seems to have been a positive. NC State didn't exactly start out in a good way, either. The Pack were 2-3 at one point this season but rebounded well in ACC play, even beating then-ranked No. 7 Clemson. I know all about Tom O'Brien's record (48-22 ATS) in the last five games of the regular season and bowl games combined. Louisville's biggest strides during their surge came on the offensive side of the ball once QB Teddy Bridgewater settled in at quarterback. I like running backs Dominique Brown and Victor Anderson for the Cards in this game. They could be a major key to tonight's contest is Louisville is able to march the ball on the ground and keep NC State's offense on the sidelines. However, the Wolfpack defense is pretty good as well. They led all FBS teams with 24 interceptions this season, including a school-record and national-best 11 by sophomore David Amerson. On offense, Mike Glennon stepped in nicely for Russell Wilson at QB this year. He threw for 28 TDs this year.
Free Pick: I like the progress that Bridgewater made this season at QB for the Cardinals. Sure, NC State is basically playing at home but what's the motivation for playing a bowl game in your own state? I just don't like it. Louisville might look at this came as sort of a consolation prize for not making it to a BCS game but I think coach Strong will have his young team ready to go tonight. And young is certainly the best way to describe Louisville, starting 10 freshmen. I don't think either team will score a lot of points in this game but I do think Louisville can score more. Sure, the Big East wasn't exactly very good this season but to me the Cardinals are a better football team right now than NC State is. And I'm getting 2.5 points? Sure, I'll bite.
Free Picks: Louisville vs NC State BettingLouisville peaking at the right time and NC State with questionable motivation plus other factors college football bettors need to know about Louisville vs North Carolina State (Tuesday, December 27, 2011) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Scott Spreitzer and analysis from host Marco D'Angelo.