We have arrived at rivalry week, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. This Saturday in Commonwealth Stadium, the Louisville Cardinals will pollute the pristine Bluegrass with their red and black, and the Kentucky Wildcats will once again try to send them back to Louisville with a frown. As ever at this time of year, there should be a loud, rowdy and thoroughly engaged crowd to cheer on the boys in Blue and White.
In preparation for Saturday's contest, I'd just like to recall one of the great memories of this rivalry right off the bat:
No matter how many times I see that play, I get the same thrill as when it happened. Happy, happy memory.
But this year, Kentucky and Louisville have very different teams than in 2007. Back then, the Cardinals were ranked #9, and Kentucky was a dangerous team. Fast forward to 2011, and I'm not sure anyone would hang the "dangerous" moniker on either Louisville or Kentucky, unless you meant "dangerous to themselves." Neither the 'Cats nor the Cards have impressed at all in their first two outings.
As we all know, though, that doesn't matter a bit when it comes to this game. Both teams could be 0-2 with losses to FCS schools and this game would still be a big deal. Fortunately, neither team has undergone that kind of total collapse, but both offenses have struggled to score. Kentucky's defense has been solid, and so has Louisville's, but I'm not sure either team could offend if they showed up buck naked in the middle of a Baptist revival.
So am I saying we are in for a defensive struggle? Probably, but judging from the drive chart from the Central Michigan Chippewas game, Kentucky's defense didn't show up in the first half. Allowing mid-majors like CMU to put together 3 scoring drives of 80, 81 and 67 yards isn't going to impress anybody in the SEC, or for that matter, the Big East.
It's nice to see Josh Clemons perform as well as he did. All he has done in the first two games is score two touchdowns as a freshman, which is plenty impressive. Once again, from the stats, it looks to me like Morgan Newton can throw the ball down the field and run, but little else. It's pretty rare (and in fact, I've never seen it before) to have a quarterback that can throw long passes, but not short ones.
But whatever the case, this is the beginning of Rivalry Week. The Cats and the Birds will be going at each other this Saturday, and it should be a competitive game, even if it doesn't exactly promise to be memorable football. All I want to remember from this game is a Big Blue victory, and how that is achieved is pretty much irrelevant. Five straight Kentucky victories over the Redbirds from River City would put a big smile on my face, and a frown on the fans of a bitter foe.