Editor’s Note: This article ran earlier this month as part of our Bowl Preview Series. Since today is the day of the bowl, here’s a quick review of what to expect in the Little Caesars Bowl.
Both schools in this one see this game as a stepping stone to bigger things for their programs and it should be a hard fought battle between 2 fairly balanced teams. Here’s the Breakdown…
Bowl Breakdown: Both Louisville and NC State bounced back from poor starts, 2-4 and 2-3 respectively, to make it to the Belk Bowl held in Charlotte, NC. NC State will have home-state advantage in this one and will head 165 miles from it’s campus in Raleigh to Charlotte. The Cardinals will be led into Charlotte by their Big East Rookie-of-the-Year QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater isn’t the only Freshman to make an impact on the Cards as they start 10 different freshmen. Louisville is going to be beasts in the Big East even after all the new teams come into the league. NC State is also a team on the rise with young players in key positions. Coach Tom O’Brien loves the character the players have shown throughout the year as they’ve battled back from a tough start and won 5 out of their last 7 with the biggest win being an upset of then #7 Clemson. The Wolfpack offense is led by Jr. QB Mike Glennon who distributes the ball well and can make all the throws in Coach O’Brien’s playbook. The reason I’m taking the Wolpack though is 3-fold 1-they’re playing close to home, 2-the defense of NC St led the country with 24 picks led by David Amerson with 11, and 3-Tom O’Brien is 7-2 in bowl games in his career.
Pro Prospects: Audie Cole-NC State-ILB: One of the top middle linebackers in a thin draft at that position. Cole led NC State’s defense and can play sideline-to-sideline and in any situation both run stopping and pass coverage. He’s a very well-rounded linebacker who will probably go in the low 3rd or high 4th round. He has a chance to move up with good pre-draft workouts…Josh Chichester-Louisville-TE: Chichester is a big TE who has decent hands and can catch the ball well. He’s freakishly tall for a TE at 6’8″ and should be an end-of-the-draft developmental selection.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our ongoing series for our Bowl Mania. You can find the same type of analysis for the Sun, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Music City, Pinstripe, Armed Forces, Alamo, Champs Sports, Holiday, and the Military Bowls. Or check out the Independence, Poinsettia, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, New Orleans, MAACO Las Vegas, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Idaho Potato Bowls to see how accurate our breakdown was.