That about sums it up. Sure, the Memphis State - Louisville rivalry lost a lot of energy after 2005. As you may remember, 2005 marked the year when Louisville moved into its rightful place among the national power conferences and Memphis mysteriously was good at basketball again after the best teams in its conference left and its coach went away from "game planning" and "scouting" and moved towards "becoming the cool parent who let kids do whatever they want at their house" until the cops come and the kids get cited for underage drinking and the dad gets a promotion to a bigger house and.....wait, where was I going with this? Oh ya, Memphis still sucks, and this will never get old:
Does any of this really matter as we go into tomorrow's game? Considering that in March 2005, most of our team wasn't even in high school yet, I doubt any of them remember or even care about the 1986 Memphis State - Louisville basketball games, since most of them weren't born yet anyway. All that matters is that we have a chance to have a winning record heading into conference play, get one game closer to a bowl berth that looks increasingly possible, and put together two quality halves for the first time all season. Memphis isn't great, and in fact, they actually look terrible (1-4 overall, 0-3 in CUSA with their most recent loss a 48-7 shellacking by Tulsa AT HOME) and is probably worse than Arkansas State.
So what is going to happen? Since there are no consequences for being wrong on a 'blog', or any apologies when you are mocked by 'premium websites' and then it turns out you are 'right', let's get into some random, ill-conceived predictions.
First Cardinal Play From Scrimmage: Pass to Bellamy, likely a long bomb type thing. We are going to run the ball a ton, but I think they take a shot down field on the first play to really take Memphis out of it.
Second Play From Scrimmage: Like always, hand off to Bilal Powell.
Cardinal Offensive MVP: Vic Anderson gets his on the ground. Memphis's defense is really, really bad, and Vic is due for a breakout game. Powell will get a lot of yards too, but Vic will have something to set him apart (see below).
Cardinal Defensive MVP: Memphis's offense and defense are equally bad (95th in the entire United States of America in passing yards, 96th in rushing yards) but if the defense has to key on anything, it is the run game as Memphis's two quarterbacks have both suffered concussions in recent weeks. The starter, Ryan Williams, is a true freshman who has been very inconsistent so far this year. Against ECU he went 18-25, 293 yards and 3 TDs...in a 49-27 loss. Before being knocked out against Tulsa, he was 5-11 with 64 yards and an INT. Overall, he's thrown 5 INTs, 5 touchdowns, and been sacked 9 times. All of this is to say, Rodney Gnat, come on down, you are are the Cardinal Defensive MVP this game - dominating the Memphis OL and sacking or rushing Williams into risky throws will cause at least one turnover and really shut down Memphis's passing game, allowing the rest of the team to focus on the relatively superior rushing unit.
First Cardinal Touchdown / Bold Prediction: Vic runs one back for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Immovable object (Memphis's extremely lowly ranked punt and kick return teams) meet irresistible force (Anderson is ranked 15th in the country in kickoff return yards) or something.
Specific Vision: The amazing run of no-fourth-quarter-touchdowns ends, although since we are up by 30+ points it is not that big of a deal. To the fans. Charlie Strong rips the balls off a student manager out of anger.
New Faces: Jeremy Wright and Dominique Brown make their debuts (at home for Brown, overall for Wright) and each have an electrifying play or two, but also maybe one of them fumbles and Brown throws a couple bad passes to remind us why we blog about this
for a living as an escape because all the cool kids are doing it out of desperation and the coaches coach for monetary compensation.
Final Score Prediction: Cards 42 - 17 Memphis. In an offensive explosion the likes of which we have not seen since scoring 42 against MTSU in 2008, the Cards take advantage of a hot and confident offense, a very weak and young Memphis defense and Charlie Strong's general awesomeness to dominate for 3.5 quarters before giving up a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
I'm very, very rarely this confident about a UofL game, no matter who we are playing. But seriously, Memphis is really bad, this team has played 2 great games (just not in 8 consecutive quarters) and this is the perfect opportunity to play four great quarters and dominate a rival. No matter whether the players know or care about things that happened over the last few decades, every time Hakeem Smith nails a Memphis running back, I will think of Darius Washington, Coach Cal, Eliot Perry and all the rest of them. Beat Memphis.
And Free Dieng.