Inside the Top 25

Originally Published: October 13, 2004
Scouts Inc.
With 24 of the Top 25 teams in action, this week is loaded with good matchups. Five games feature matchups of ranked teams, and three should directly impact the Big 10, Pac-10 and ACC races. Our scouts break 'em down:

Thursday, Oct. 14
No. 17 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS  at
No. 3 MIAMI HURRICANES
Miami
7:30 p.m. ET - ESPN
Louisville's spread passing attack combined with the inconsistency of Miami QB Brock Berlin will keep this game very close, but Miami's superior defense and special teams will lead it to victory. While the Cardinals' balanced offensive attack will allow them to move the ball fairly well, the Hurricanes will tighten in the red zone, forcing Louisville to settle for field goal attempts. Berlin will make enough big plays to loosen up the Cardinals' run defense and overshadow his mistakes. Once the safeties start backing off the line, a steady diet of RBs Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss will allow Miami to control the clock late. In addition, this is the schedule's only Thursday night game, and it will be on ESPN. The Hurricanes play their best in the national spotlight, and they shouldn't get caught overlooking Louisville.
Complete game breakdown

Saturday, Oct. 16
No. 19 ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS  at
No. 1 USC TROJANS
Los Angeles
3:30 p.m. ET - ABC
This game has the word trap written all over it for USC. The Trojans are coming off an emotional win last week and for the second time in eight days will be playing a highly-ranked conference opponent that matches up well with USC's weaknesses at corner and wide receiver. With WR Steve Smith out, the Trojan passing game won't be nearly as effective, as QB Matt Leinart will have to rely on a freshman to step into the top receiving spot. Nevertheless, coach Pete Carroll has done a great job of keeping his players focused in the past, and until the Trojans falter they remain the team to beat. USC boasts one of the best running games in the country and should have enough success on the ground to dictate the pace. Arizona State will keep things close with the arm of QB Andrew Walter, but the Trojans have the playmakers on the both sides of the ball to eventually pull away.
Complete game breakdown

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