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Early Kentucky Football Preview: Louisville

The Governor’s Cup has been in Lexington for almost three years

Louisville v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

At last, we reach the end of the offseason opponent previews with UK’s annual Rivalry Week game for the Governor’s Cup with UofL.

The Louisville Cardinals haven’t defeated the Kentucky Wildcats since 2017, and have lost the past two games 56-10 and 45-13. They didn’t play last year with UK’s all-SEC schedule, but this November the game will be back with a lot of anticipation.

A little series history—UK leads the series 17-15 thanks to back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019. The series has swung a bit, going from 7-0 UK to 7-2, 9-2, 9-5, 10-9, 14-9, 14-14, 15-15, and now sits at its current mark.

If Kentucky is going to beat Louisville and keep the cup, they are going to have to do it in Cardinal Stadium—a place they know how to win at (2016 and 2018). The Cardinals don’t have much momentum going, so the Cats will probably be favored, especially with their recruiting advantage.

Looking at some ACC Atlantic predictions, I’m seeing the Cards sandwiched between Florida State and Wake Forest, so I’m not expecting them to pack much of a punch. Still, it will be a road game against a fierce rival, so hopefully Kentucky comes out ready to play like in 2018 where they took control from the get-go.

I’m curious to see how Louisville’s record shakes out. They start at Ole Miss (loss), will play Clemson (loss), UCF (likely loss), have road games vs. NC State and Florida State (possible losses), and host Virginia (usually tough).

Could Kentucky shut them out of bowl season? That would be fun if the Cards come into this game 5-6.

The ACC is usually quite weak outside of Clemson, but with such difficult non-conference games I think the losses will pile up for Louisville. This game should be another victory for Kentucky, but I don’t think it’ll be easy.

The stakes will be big, and I think both teams will be ready to fight, unless Louisville is like 3-8 and UK is 8-3 or something and ready to start bulldozing. The Governor’s Cup is staying home in Lexington.

Prediction: UK 38, UofL 21