The ACC is home to several marquee rivalries, both in and out of conference. N Carolina & Duke, Fla State & Florida, Clemson & S Carolina and now Louisville & Kentucky. This Saturday the Battle for the Governors Cup resumes in Lexington, Ky. The Cards are currently a 14.5 point favorite but the underdogs have faired well recently.
This is a big game for U of L as they need to finish 12-0 to have a chance at a national championship. The final score will be used for or against them as it will be compared to UK future SEC opponents final margin.
It is a big game for UK as new head coach Mark Stoops looks to make an impact and to erase their humilating season opening loss to Western Ky. UK has historically struggled against SEC competition so it is dire that they win their OOC games. Should they pull off the upset I could see their AD waiving a lifetime contract at Stoops during his post game interview.
The Cards will look to continue Teddy Bridgewaters Heisman campaign and to look for one of their three runningbacks to step forward and finally take control of the #1 spot. Max Smith will make his second start and look to deliver the “air raid” offense their fans were promised in the preseason.
U of L and UK first met 1912 in football and 1913 in basketball. UK leads the overall football series 14-11 after winning the first seven meetings (1912-15, 22, 24 and 1994). After UK dominated the first six games, holding U of L scoreless, they stopped playing. In 1994, after 70 years, they began the modern era of the series with U of L holding an 11-8 advantage. The Cards has won the last two meetings, includung 32-14 last year.
Louisvilles move to the ACC has already effected this rivalry. It was recently announced that starting next season this game will be moved to the last game of the year as part of the ACC/SEC challenge. Tradionally this has been the opening game of the year to help build the local hype during the offseason which has helped to improve the quality of football in the state. UK later moved it to the third game when in Lexington. I loved this as the opening game but this should help preserve the game when/if the SEC goes to nine games.
Finally my game prediction. Stoops has the Cats on the right path as reflected by his recruiting but he will need a couple of more years. Teddy and the AFROS should easily be able to pick apart the Cats thin secondary. The Cards has the advantage at nearly every position. If the Cards can jump out to an early lead and silence the Commonwealth Stadium crowd it will be a blow out, if not the Cards still win. The Cards win 38-14.