Boilermakers ready to snap funk

The Beavers have the right mix of personnel to give the Trojans a scare in Corvallis on Saturday night.

Originally Published: November 3, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
As we head down the stretch of the season, the significance of each game will be amplified. While it is difficult to envision any team looking past an opponent at this juncture of the season, the increase in pressure might lead to some surprising results.

Trap games

Louisville Cardinals at Memphis Tigers
Memphis opened up strong with an upset victory at Ole Miss, and its only loss in the first six games of the season came on the road against a very good UAB team. The 39-point loss to Cincinnati is perplexing. The Tigers might have been looking ahead to Thursday night's game against Louisville.

Regardless, Tommy West's team still has enough talent and senior leadership to pull off this upset. After getting trounced by Memphis last season (37-7), the Cardinals certainly won't be overlooking this trip. But playing at home on national television in its biggest game of the season will give Memphis the emotional edge early on.

Louisville has earned the right to be two-touchdown favorites at Memphis. It almost beat Miami on the road and blanked North Carolina (34-0), which just upset the Hurricanes last weekend. QB Stefan LeFors is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation and has the weapons around him, including WR J.R. Russell, to light up the scoreboard against Memphis The Tigers have struggled to defend the pass.

However, Joe Lee Dunn's defense doesn't match up as poorly as many think. The Tigers have been tough against the run and should keep Eric Shelton, Michael Bush and Lionel Gates in check on the ground, forcing the Cardinals to be more one-dimensional. The balance that Memphis QB Danny Wimprine and RB DeAngelo Williams provide will also keep the Louisville defense on its heels.

The Tigers might not have enough firepower to pull it off in the end, but this game will be a lot closer than "the experts" predict. Don't be shocked if it takes a come-from-behind effort from the Cardinals in order to stave off the upset and preserve their perfect record within Conference USA play.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer