With an automatic BCS bid on the line, most November games in the American Athletic Conference are big ones, including Saturday's contest between No. 13 Louisville and visiting Houston. The winner of this matchup and once-beaten Cincinnati likely will be the only teams with a chance to overtake Central Florida, which is unbeaten in conference play. "I always talk about November, and that is when championships are won," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "There is a lot of football still left to be played. We just have to make sure we take care of business."
The Cougars, like the Cardinals, lost a close game to Central Florida, whose four remaining opponents have an 11-22 combined record entering this week's games. Both still have to play Cincinnati, which does not face Central Florida this season. "Another great challenge this week in another great program in Louisville," Houston coach Tony Levine said. "I've got a great deal of respect for Charlie Strong and his staff, who've done a great job in a relatively short time."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Louisville -15.5
ABOUT HOUSTON (7-2, 4-1 AAC): The Cougars are a decided underdog on the road, despite losing at Central Florida by just five points last week. Freshman quarterback John O'Korn didn't play exceptionally well against the Knights, so as he goes, so does Houston. "Going into Louisville, again they sell out regardless who they are playing, so we know its going to be a great crowd and another opportunity to get exposure on national television," Levine said. "Our kids are thriving off of that."
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (8-1, 4-1 AAC): Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has played well in every game this season, and that's not likely to change against a Cougar defense ranked 30th in points allowed. Strong knows what his quarterback can do, but he believes there are similarities between what Central Florida and Houston do on offense. "They are going to run the zone read, and they are always going to have an outlet for the quarterback where they can throw the ball to the outside," he said. "They count numbers, and if you don't, the ball is going to come to the outside."
1. The series is tied at seven wins apiece, with each team winning four times at home.
2. The Cougars lead the nation with a plus-21 turnover margin, while the Cardinals are second at plus-14.
3. Of the 64 scoring drives by the Cougars, 30 were completed in less than two minutes.
PREDICTION: Louisville 23, Houston 17