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Time to talk about the BIG GAME!

Yep, it's nearly here -- the big game.  The one we have all been waiting for.  Fans of Louisville and fans of Kentucky are sharpening their barbs, preparing their colors, and dreaming about heaping abuse on the other after the game. This is what college athletics is all about.  Bitter rivalries make for the very best games, and its time to examine this one a bit from both sides.

I think it's a lot of fun to examine what both UK and UL fans are saying about the game.  Are the teams talking smack?  Will there be significant billboard material for either team, or are the coaches heading that stuff off at the pass?  What are the media saying, and who is getting it right?

First stop:  Sports illustrated.  Mark Beech has this article looking at the rivalry, and brings up once again the dispute between the Cats and the Cards as to when the game will be played.  All I can say is that if Kentucky wins, Brooks and Barnhart will get the last laugh.  If Kentucky loses, well, they just lose.  It's a win-win for the Cats, and irritating the Cardinals is surely a bonus.  I guess that's just part of the small price the Cards play for the success they have had recently in the series.

Next, we head over to our SB Nation brother, Mike at the Card Chronicle.  He notes that some UK players have been talking a bit of smack, and even Coach Brooks' daughter has apparently gotten into the act:

While the barbs being hurled from about 70 miles to the East are nowhere near as intense as some of the things we heard in the days leading up to last season's third game, there have been some fairly aggressive statements made by some guys who have never tasted victory in this rivalry.

"Are they really like this? Are they really getting all the hype they're getting with a defense like this? They got exposed."---Maurice Grinter

"I had to adapt to the rivalry, rather than being a part of it from day one. Now I accept it as a rivalry, and every time we play them I feel just as much hate for them."---Braxton Kelly

"I'm tired of it. I'm tired of hearing about how great Louisville is. I'm going to come out with fire in my heart for this game."---Alfonso Smith

"It's something we've all been looking forward to. To go out and beat them is going to feel great."---Garry Williams

Even Rich Brooks' daughter Kerri has gotten into the fun, taking time out of a recent story she wrote for the Kentucky Sports Report website about the start of the football season to take a few shots at new Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe.

This seems like pretty weak beer to me, and Mike apparently agrees.  Still, you can't blame him for pointing out UK's careless banter, even the tiny ones.  This is the Big Game, and even the little things  get magnified a lot.

Brian Bennett at the CJ thinks Louisville has earned the right to talk smack.  Right.  Well, he is a Louisville Courier-Journal writer, so who can really blame him.  Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN tells the Kentucky Kernel that the Louisville-Kentucky game is "off the national radar" in terms of a rivalry as far as football is concerned.  That's probably true, and he cites the same reason I would reckon -- both programs need to be ranked before the rivalry truly means something in a national sense.  Then again, Joey Johnston writes for MSNBC that the Louisville-Kentucky game definitely deserves national attention, if for no other reason than their respective quarterbacks, Brohm and Woodson.

But it definitely means something to the fans of both schools.  For example, a diarist on Mike's site writes this:

But I digress. Why do I hate UK?  I almost don't know where to start...

but I'm sure everyone can help out.

How about starting at the beginning, with the bleeping arrogance of Rupp and Cliff Hagan not scheduling us in BBall?

Please...take it from there

Mmmkay.  "Hate," the man says.  Well, I for one can't bring myself to hate the Cardinal fans, or its players and coaches (except Petrino, who was a loathsome troll without any sort of moral compass, and he is thankfully elsewhere).  Maybe it's just that by not hating them, its easier to condescend to them.  Who can say?  But I must say without any equivocation that I absolutely HATE losing to them.

But the Cats are not without their passion, too.  I think, as a general proposition, we have a lower percentage of actual "haters" than the Cards do, perhaps because (justifiably) of the whole "Little brother" thing.  But we at ASoB intend to be as fair and unbiased as possible, so I bring you part of the rant of Intern over at KSR today:

See, I never really detested the Cards until the inception of their fan base eight years ago. Growing up they were always just that team down the road devoid of conference affiliation, home game seat occupation, and a unified campus. Now, all of a sudden it's "blackouts" and trash-talking like your fan base comprises 2% of the state or something. It's the same phenomenon with Johnny Cash. Try and play Cash in front of some girls a few years ago, and you probably got a lot of "turn it, I wanna dance," or, "who is this, your grandfather?" Then, Joaquin Phoenix (Petrino) learns his songs and marries Reese Witherspoon (Brohm), and "we've loved Johnny Cash since we were little." Puh-lease. Dare I ask Card fan, if you were in full support of this same Louisville program when Ron Cooper steered them to a 1-10 season in the mid-90's? For that matter, do you even know who Ron Cooper is?

Well, OK,  maybe that doesn't quite qualify as "hate", but at least he uses strong words like "detested".  I'd say that's close enough, n'est-ce pas?  Unfortunately though, I'm having trouble finding more Kentucky venom toward Louisville than that out in cyberspace.  I'm sure there is some on the message boards somewhere, though, although The Cats Pause is positively benign.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow there will be a bit more Card hatred to report.

Update [2007-9-13 7:51:24 by Truzenzuzex]:  Chris Diggs has a couple of articles here and here about the supposed UK "trash talk."  As I said above, this is pretty weak beer.

Matt Jones posts a "Night Before Christmas" take off written by one of his co-bloggers.  Very funny stuff -- definitely some Card loathing there.

Henry Douglas, Cardinal wide receiver, thinks the "Believe in Blue" billboards are "Ridiculous".  Bulletin board material for the Cats?  Weak, weak beer.