Week 4 - Memphis at Duke

Posted Sep 19, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Memphis at Duke

Memphis (0-3) at Duke (2-1) Sept. 22, 6:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: On the hardwood, Memphis-Duke is a treat. On grass, it's unlikely to generate much attention. For the Blue Devils, this is a key game, one it'll have to pocket in order to keep faint postseason bowl hopes from fading. David Cutcliffe's team has been the product of its schedule this month. In games with Florida International and North Carolina Central, Duke rolled to easy wins. Versus Stanford, though, it got obliterated, 50-13. Memphis is going to need an upset at some point in order to avoid a winless season. The Tigers are battling, improving in recent losses to Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee, but are a long way from being a competitive FBS squad.

Why Memphis Might Win: Whenever the Duke defense is in the building, the opponent has a shot for a victory. The Blue Devils rank last in the ACC in pass defense, yielding almost 300 yards a game. The Tigers will counter with QB Jacob Karam, who has gotten increasingly comfortable since transferring from Texas Tech. In Marcus Rucker and Keiwone Malone, he has a pair of talented pass-catchers, who'll enjoy an edge on the Duke defensive backs.

Why Duke Might Win: While Memphis' passing game is improving, Duke's is already fully developed. The Blue Devils are 16th nationally in passing, led by seasoned veteran Sean Renfree. Sophomore WR Jamison Crowder is an emerging star, joining Conner Vernon to give Renfree two very dangerous targets. The Tigers have yet to produce a sack, while Duke leads the ACC in pass protection, so time in the pocket should not be a problem for No. 19.

What To Watch Out For: The Blue Devils O-line, especially tackles Takoby Cofield and Perry Simmons, is quietly doing a very nice job so far in 2012. The unit has only allowed a pair of sacks, and those came at the hands of Stanford; the same Cardinal defense that manhandled USC this past weekend, sacking Matt Barkley four times.

What Will Happen: Another ACC program might overlook or take Memphis for granted. Not Duke. Every game matters to the Blue Devils, especially if there's a chance to bag a W. Renfree and the passing attack will lead the way in Durham, peppering a toothless Tigers defense for at least 300 yards and a couple of scoring strikes.

CFN Prediction: Duke 45 … Memphis 19
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Duke -21 O/U:
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1