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Kentucky vs. Louisville: How Important Is This Game?

ust how important is Saturday's Governor's Cup matchup between Louisville and Kentucky? In my humble opinion, it is critical.  Let me explain.

First, it's critical because Kentucky fans have suffered at the hands of Cardinal fans for years, up until the last couple.  Bobby Petrino had Louisville built into national notoriety, and for four straight years, the Cardinals crushed us into a fine powder, rolled us up, and smoked us. I have not forgotten those years.

I have not forgotten those years.  Since the renewal of the rivalry game in 1994, Louisville owns streaks of two, three and four games.  They have taken nine of the fifteen games that the teams have played since the rivalry was renewed, and have reveled in schadenfreude until we finally broke the four-game streak in 2007 when Stevie got loose.

Let's take a look at the series:

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

Date Site Winning team Losing team Series
1912-10-28  Lexington  Kentucky 41 Louisville 0 UK 1-0
1913-11-22 Louisville Kentucky 20 Louisville 0 UK 2-0
1914-11-14 Lexington Kentucky 42 Louisville 0 UK 3-0
1915-11-06 Louisville Kentucky 15 Louisville 0 UK 4-0
1922-10-14 Lexington Kentucky 63 Louisville 0 UK 5-0
1924-10-04 Lexington Kentucky 29 Louisville 0 UK 6-0
1994-09-03 Lexington Kentucky 20 Louisville 14 UK 7-0
1995-09-02 Lexington Louisville    13 Kentucky 10 UK 7-1
1996-08-31 Lexington Louisville 38 Kentucky     14 UK 7-2
1997-08-30 Lexington Kentucky 38 Louisville 24 UK 8-2
1998-09-05 Louisville Kentucky 68 Louisville 34 UK 9-2
1999-09-04 Lexington Louisville 56 Kentucky 28 UK 9-3
2000-09-02 Louisville Louisville 40 Kentucky 34 UK 9-4
2001-09-01 Lexington Louisville 36 Kentucky 10 UK 9-5
2002-09-01 Louisville Kentucky 22 Louisville (17) 17   UK 10-5  
2003-08-31 Lexington Louisville 40 Kentucky 24 UK 10-6
2004-09-04 Louisville Louisville 28 Kentucky 0 UK 10-7
2005-09-04 Lexington Louisville (12) 31 Kentucky 24 UK 10-8
2006-09-03 Louisville Louisville (13) 59 Kentucky 28 UK 10-9
 2007-09-15  Lexington Kentucky 40 Louisville (9) 34 UK 11-9
2008-08-31 Louisville Kentucky 27 Louisville 2 UK 12-9

UK desperately needs to at least equal the 1999-2001 winning streak of Louisville, if for no other reason than to say we did.  It is really frustrating to see those long Cardinal streaks and that 12 year period where Louisville took nine of the games away.

Also, consider the schedule this year.  The path to a bowl requires at least one major upset if Kentucky loses this game, and even though that is always possible, it is also possible that UK will lose a game in which they are favored, as they have almost every year.  If that happens, the path to a bowl becomes much iffier, and even though I think this team can do it, meeting Florida 2-0 is infinitely preferable to meeting them 1-1 with a loss to a bitter rival the game before.

I am really pumped about this contest, and I want to see Kentucky prevail in the worst way.  I really want this bowl streak to continue, and even get to bigger, better bowls.  But losing to Louisville makes all that much tougher.

I hope I have made my point.  Kentucky needs this game, bad.  It is a big one.