It’s no secret the Kentucky Wildcats have had a disappointing season thus far. Entering the year with hopes of nine or even 10 wins, Kentucky enters the regular season finale with six wins.
However, they could salvage some positivity for the fanbase if they can retain the Governor’s Cup against Louisville.
As disappointing as things have been in Lexington this season, it has been quite the opposite for Louisville. Hiring former Cardinal quarterback Jeff Brohm to lead the program, the Cardinals have won ten games for the first time since 2013 in his first season.
While they have taken nearly full advantage with an easy schedule, not playing a top-three ACC team in the regular season, the turnaround has been impressive.
That said, 10 wins or a New Year’s Bowl is not their goal right now. It is to beat Kentucky, something they haven’t done since 2017.
In preparation for the game, Brohm has called the Kentucky game the “most important” game of the season.
#Louisville Football HC Jeff Brohm reemphasizes that this #Kentucky game is the most important game of the season. Coach standing on business in every way .— Jeff Lightsy Jr. (@jlightsy7) November 21, 2023
: @ZachGelb x @CBSSportsRadio pic.twitter.com/vIymPMv2OR
With Louisville having more to lose, let’s look at what Kentucky needs to do to play spoiler
The Louisville defense’s strength is stopping in the run, ranking top 10 in the country in doing so, but it also has one of the better pass rushes in the country. Meaning, that for Kentucky to have any offensive success the offensive line will have to provide good protection.
The Cardinals are more vulnerable against the pass, but Kentucky has failed to be consistent in the passing game this season. That said, the Wildcats are 13th in the country in rushing yards per attempt at 5.1 yards but 129th in rush attempts per game.
A winning combination will be a mix of both, but as said, any offensive success will start in the trenches.
Will Kentucky come prepared?
At the end of a disappointing season, following a loss to a sub .500 South Carolina team, will Kentucky come out prepared? That is the worry. Kentucky has the talent to put up a fight, but they have the talent to win more than six or seven games this season, yet
If you are hopeful, star defensive lineman Deon Walker went on a Louisville rant earlier this week. “I never liked Louisville, even when I was getting recruited,” Walker said. “I just don’t like the Cardinals. Their fans are kind of snobbish, and their players act entitled.”
If you are looking for reasons for skepticism, look no further than Ray Davis’ and Dane Key’s Twitter after the South Carolina loss. That was just a week ago. Can Mark Stoops and Co. regain the trust of the players in that span? Saturday will tell.
SEC vs. ACC
The SEC is the best conference in football, as shown by the 16 championships since 2000. However, many just believe the conference is just top-heavy and carried by the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and LSU.
This is a contest against the top of the ACC and the middle of the SEC and should provide an example of the gap between the two conferences.
How sweet would it be if Kentucky could beat the Cards before they win the ACC Championship next week vs. Florida State?
Kentucky Wildcats (6-5) vs. #10 Louisville Cardinals (10-1)
Time: 12:00 pm ET on November 26th.
Location: L&N Federal Credit Union Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, KY
TV Channel: ABC
Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Jesse Palmer, and Katie George will call the action.
Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro have the UK radio network call on the UK Sports Radio Network.
Satellite Radio: XM Channel 203, Sirius Channel 98, Internet Channel 966
Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
Predictions: TeamRankings and DRatings.com have Louisville winning and retaking the Governor’s Cup with a 28-21 win. After losing to South Carolina and in the fashion in which they did, I just don’t see Kentucky beating a top-10 Louisville team. For that reason, I picked Louisville to win 31-21.
How do you see the game playing out? Let us know in the comments section!
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.