Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals: Round Table Discussion

The Governor's Cup - Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE

The authors at A Sea of Blue discuss two questions about the Kentucky vs. Louisville football game.

Welcome to the Louisville Cardinals version of the A Sea of Blue round table, where ASoB front-page authors answer two questions about the game. Today, we have a wealth of participants (owing to the fact that this is, after all, our #1 rival) as we prepare for what should be a much more interesting game than perhaps most pundits are thinking.

As usual with these, I don't read the comments of the others before doing my own, just to make sure the take is as unbiased as possible, and as usual, my comments will be listed last. I want to thank all our authors once again for taking the time to participate in the round table, and I think you'll find their comments very interesting.

Today's questions are thus:

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

I'm changing up the format a little for the sake of clarity. For each author, we will present the question just before the answer. Answers will be presented in the order they were received.

James Streble

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

I give the Wildcats a "Punchers Chance" in this game. Kentucky has made it a habit of upsetting the Cardinals when they were riding high and when UK was a heavy underdog. In 2002 Dave Ragone was a Heisman hopeful on a top 20 Louisville team. Kentucky went in to Papa Johns and dominated the game by destroying Louisville's offensive line and making Ragone miserable. In 1997 the Cards were riding a two game winning streak and Kentucky's Tim Couch was ready to bust out as a star. The 'Cats won in an upset 38-24. And remember 2007? The #9 ranked Cards returned an Orange Bowl team mostly intact and were shocked in Lexington when Stevie got loose.

Funny things happen in this rivalry and I believe that Kentucky has the offense to keep up with the Cards, but I'm not so sure about the defense stopping Teddy Bridgewater. It's a tall task indeed.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

I love the game being moved at the end of the season. This game has, in the past, has meant a winning season or a bowl game for the winning team. It's obvious that BCS voters weigh late season games more than early season games. If a team loses a game early, the effects of that loss are not as severe. But if the loss is near the end, then that could be devastating.

The SEC and the ACC are making a push to make that last regular season weekend be THE rivalry weekend for the respective conferences. Florida State vs. Florida; Clemson vs. South Carolina; Georgia vs. Georgia Tech; Kentucky vs. Louisville. If the 'Cats and the Cards want to be taken seriously, then it's time to step up and get with the big boys.

Alex Scutchfield

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

This feels like a moment where I want to tell everyone I think the tide has turned, and give UK a 40% chance of winning the game. I just can’t do it. This matchup is just way too similar to last year’s. Teddy Bridgewater figures to have a field day against the Cats’ secondary. He is one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best, in the entire country. Pressure isn’t going to bother him, because the kid is unflappable and tough as nails. Our defense still has a long way to go. The talent disparity is going to be in full display Saturday, as it was last year. I’ll be satisfied if the offense plays well enough to force Louisville to play 60 minutes. I want a show with Kentucky going down swinging.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

I see that this move had to happen, but I’m not thrilled about it. UK is always going to have the tougher schedule, and is typically beat up by the end of its SEC slate. This move also pits the game against some sexier SEC-ACC clashes that will dominate the airwaves and hype. Florida-Florida St., Clemson-USC, even Georgia-Georgia Tech will always draw more interest. That said, I like the timing more than playing the game in the third week of the season, a move I never agreed with. In my mind, playing the game as the opener is ideal. Take this year as a case in point. Commonwealth is not going to sell out this weekend. Does anyone, for one moment, think this game would not have sold out or been darned close had it been played two weeks ago?

Hank Rippetoe

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

I give the Cats a 40% chance of winning. I think we win even by losing if we can keep the score respectable because it will take UL out of the hunt for the BCS title game. The new staff is willing to openly admit that this is a rivalry game which I believe will motivate our players into a good showing, if not a win. This game, in my opinion, is a game that could go either way, but I can't go as far as predicting a Kentucky win because there is no evidence to back up such a claim.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

As for moving the game to the end of the season, my feelings are mixed. On one hand, at the beginning of the season, the game will receive better coverage from ESPN and CBS. On the other hand, most traditional rivalries are at season's end. The question for me is how much longer will the rivalry last? If the SEC and/or the ACC move to a nine game conference schedule, will the game with Louisville be dropped? If so, it just doesn't matter when the game is played. I guess I am 60-40 in favor of the game being held in September because of better coverage by the media.

JLeverenz

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

I give them a chance, but not much of one - maybe 15-20% or so? I do think the offense has enough strength to keep things interesting but the constant penalties from the first two games leads me to think that they will hurt themselves enough to allow Louisville to get and keep a lead.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

I LOVE the game at the end of the season - it's where a true rivalry game belongs in football. Rather than be overshadowed, I think all the other SEC-ACC games that day are going to elevate the game nationally, especially once Stoops gets the program rolling.

Greg Alan Edwards

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

My thoughts here are varied. I do not hold out hope of making the Cards look bad, no matter the outcome of the game. If the Cats were to pull off an upset, it would most likely be the biggest one since the LSU game, and that would just be awesome. I think Charlie Strong is smart enough not to look past Kentucky, but I am not completely convinced about his players. Could they get a big head and think that Kentucky has no business on the field with them? It is possible.

If Kentucky could get a couple of quick strikes, keep UL down for a quarter, and then just outgun them the rest of the game, then it is definitely doable. No percentages here, but I will go on record as saying that I expect this team to only get better every week, and they played very well last week. Another marked improvement shown this week, and I might just start to get excited about what is possible come November and December.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

This is my biggest point of excitement in all of this. Playing the Cards in an end of season game, where the SEC might already be decided, their bowl chances possibly secured, and be able to go all out without worrying about having to take risks to win a game is some seriously fun football. You give a kid like Max Smith a free hand, a wide open field to throw to and some targets to hit who will catch the ball, and there is no telling what he might accomplish.

We have to be careful playing the game when it is early in the season. A loss to Louisville this early in the year hurts the entire season, especially with the monster of a schedule we face annually in the SEC. So, win or lose, I think this is the single smartest thing the program has done since hiring Stoops. We can get to where we are competitive once again with some smart planning, great recruiting, and momentum, to go along with the steady and firm hand at the stick that Stoops seems to have. I am just overjoyed at the prospects this brings. Big thumbs up!!!!

A2D2

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

According to the 'experts' it appears that Kentucky's chances are slim to none against the Cards, but this is football and why we play the games. Football is a game where often a lopsided score can change quickly, a projected winner can have an off day, or an underdog can have all pieces fall into place and have a near perfect game. Usually the any given Saturday mantra is always a surprise. I love surprises.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

I like the game being moved to the end of the season. I think it will only increase the hype leading up to the game. The trophy for the Governor's Cup seems fitting to be awarded at season's end, right before teams begins to focus on their bowl games. Both teams will have had chances to work out the kinks and improve their games or adjust their games due to unforeseen hurdles. Think of it as the bowl game against our biggest in-state rival. I vote we go ahead and name it the Governor's Bowl.

Glenn Logan

  • What chance do you give Kentucky, and why? It can be positive or negative.

I give UK a rivalry chance. Rivalry games often produce the dynamic where the favored team is slightly overconfident and/or tight about the game, and the underdog takes a "Nothing to lose" approach and plays perhaps a bit above their normal level. This game looks like it is ripe for such an opportunity, because the Cardinals have been hearing for so long how bad Kentucky is, and how great they are compared to Kentucky.

  • How do you feel about the game being moved to the end of the season, and why?

I have always been a proponent of this, and I think it really is good for both teams. Moving the game to the end of the season may produce less national attention, but right now, nobody but UK and U of L fans care about this game anyway. Despite Louisville's recent success, both Louisville and Kentucky are national powers in basketball, not football.

This allows the rivalry game to be on more or less equal footing to those of South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida St., and Georgia-Georgia Tech. I think the new slot will give the game more prestige, because it more closely mirrors other traditional in-state rivalries. It will never be like the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn, but it could be on par with some of the others. I think that's a greater benefit than having it early hoping for more national attention.

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