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Episode 037 – Previewing the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl

Mark Ennis from The Collision Course provides insight

Bilal Powell and the Louisville Cardinals take on Southenr Miss on Tuesday night. Getty Images.

At Big East media day prior to the season new Louisville head coach Charlie Strong told reporters that he was never picked to finish last in anything in his life. That was the only reaction he had to the predictions for the Big East football standings that were released earlier that day. No doubt it inspired Strong to fuel a new energy into the program he was hired to resurrect.

Nobody expects Louisville to be a national title contender but competing in the Big east right now should be a realistic expectation for any program, including Louisville. The Cardinals finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big East and are making their first bowl trip since the 2006 season when they went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl. It is seasons like this that cause fans of the Cardinals to be a bit optimistic moving forward, and few know that better than our friend Mark Ennis from The Collision Course.

Ennis joined me for a brief chat about the Cardinals, their 2010 season, Strong, and to preview the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl match–up with Southern Miss to take place tomorrow night in St. Petersburg. Though the venue for the game is far from attractive for, well… anything, the Louisville faithful attending will be happy to see their team play a game this bowl season. But what are their chances in the game? Find out what Ennis has to say by listening to the full podcast below.

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl
Louisville vs. Southern Miss.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
8 p.m. Eastern, ESPN/ESPNHD

Former conference rivals collide in the 2010 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Tuesday night. Louisville moved to the Big East in 2005 but while a member of Conference USA they had many battles with the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. Southern Miss owns an 18-9-1 record against the Cardinals but, as Ennis mentions, Louisville won the most recent meeting which took place last season. What is slightly surprising to me is the fact that the Golden Eagles have the statistical advantage in total offense, passing yards, rushing yards, and points scored but the Cardinals are the three point favorite.

The reason? Scoring defense.

Louisville has allowed an average of 18.7 points per game and have kept West Virginia and Pittsburgh to 20 points or less this season. For added measure the Cardinals have also recorded a 26-0 shutout against the Big East’s BCS representative, Connecticut, this season. Five of the six losses for Louisville have been by one score, indicating that Strong has his team ready to play a full 60 minutes. Southern Miss has given up a good amount of points but look at their losses, season opener against South Carolina aside, and you will see a similarity. Southern Miss lost three games by a combined eight points.

This one has the potential to come down to the wire and each team should have confidence they can pull one out, but the key will be shutting down the Louisville running game.

If the audio widget is not showing up below, click here to listen.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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