Cardinals open ACC era in Labor Day spotlight against Miami

Louisville's schedule features Thursday night home game against FSU, trips to Clemson, Notre Dame

Miami quarterback Stephen Morris, lower left, fumbles the ball as he is hit by Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith (91) during the first half of the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. (Naples News photo)

Miami quarterback Stephen Morris, lower left, fumbles the ball as he is hit by Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith (91) during the first half of the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. (Naples News photo)

It won't take long for Louisville to begin reaping the benefits of ACC membership.

The Cardinals will open their inaugural ACC season in the spotlight when they host Miami in a Labor Day primetime clash at Cardinal Stadium.

Two weeks later they'll face their other cross-division opponent - Virginia - before beginning Atlantic Division play against Wake Forest at home on Sept. 27.

Clemson fits into the middle of Louisville's slate - an Oct. 11 date at Death Valley - eight days after a Friday night contest at Syracuse.

The Cardinals will also be one of the first wave of teams to participate in the ACC's scheduling agreement with Notre Dame, as the teams play at South Bend on Nov. 22 - a week before Louisville's regular season finale at home against Kentucky.

In addition to playing host to the Hurricanes in their opener, the Cardinals also welcome league opponents Wake Forest (Sept. 27), NC State (Oct. 18) and, in a nationally televised Thursday night game, defending national champion Florida State (Oct. 30).

"As a head coach, this is the type of schedule you want to play each year," coach Bobby Petrino said. "To open the season against a high-profile opponent like Miami on Labor Day is every exciting, as we officially begin play in the ACC. It's a very challenging schedule, but one that our fans and players can be really excited about."

The Cardinals and Hurricanes, who just met in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl, will clash on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. in front of a national ESPN television audience. Louisville handed Miami a 36-9 defeat on Dec. 28, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. This will be the first time the Cardinals open the season with a conference game since 1973, when Louisville lost in overtime to Memphis State.

Petrino and the Cardinals are also familiar with Wake Forest, having defeated the Demon Deacons 24-13 in the school's first BCS appearance in 2007. Louisville last faced NC State in the 2011 Belk Bowl. In the last appearance versus Florida State, the Cardinals knocked off the fourth-ranked Seminoles 26-20 in overtime in 2002 on a nationally televised Thursday night contest.

The Cardinals' road ACC games consist of trips to Virginia (Sept. 13), a Friday night contest versus Syracuse (Oct. 3), Clemson (Oct. 11), and Boston College (Nov. 8). The Cardinals haven't faced Virginia since 1989 and BC since 1998. Louisville and Clemson have never faced each other.

After opening the regular season against Miami, Louisville begins its non-conference slate just five days later with a game against Murray State on Sept. 6). The Cardinals travel to FIU on Sept. 20.

Louisville's 2014 Schedule

Sept. 1 Home Miami

Sept. 6 Home Murray State

Sept. 13 Away Virginia

Sept. 20 Away Florida International

Sept. 27 Home Wake Forest

Oct. 3 Away Syracuse

Oct. 11 Away Clemson

Oct. 18 Home NC State

Oct. 30 Home Florida State

Nov. 8 Away Boston College

Nov. 22 Away Notre Dame

Nov. 29 Home Kentucky

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