Comes now discussion that the Louisville move to the ACC might end the now 20-year old Governor's Cup game between the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats. Johnathan Lintner reports for the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Three games remain on the current University of Louisville-University of Kentucky football contract that runs through the 2016 season. And the closer the end of that deal comes, the louder rumblings will grow that the two schools might not renew the Battle for the Governor’s Cup rivalry.
A scheduling agreement under discussion by the Atlantic Coast Conference would alleviate concerns about the series’ end if U of L’s new league can convince the Southeastern Conference to annually match up its teams with the ACC.
The article mentions the elephant in the room, which is the Auburn-Alabama game which traditionally takes place on the last weekend of the season, and which is certainly not going to be supplanted or moved by an ACC stand-in, no matter who or what it is.
Still, I would like to see an 8+1 agreement between the leagues if that little detail can be circumvented. Already, 4 teams in the SEC play traditional rivals in the ACC, which is a surprisingly large inter-conference rivalry number: Kentucky (Louisville), Georgia (Georgia Tech), Florida (Florida St.), and South Carolina (Clemson).
But we still have to worry about the SEC going to a nine-game schedule, which could derail the rivalry for revenue reasons. I think that those fretting about the difficulty an extra SEC team would add to the schedule, including me, are just going to have to buy in to the "Stoops will get us competitive" idea. But the revenue problem is a significant one, and giving up a home game for another home-and-away is not going to make any of the schools happy, not to mention adding another quality opponent to an already stacked slate.
Still, the "buy" games, while useful to teams like Kentucky when it comes to getting a shot at a minor bowl, are kind of self-admitted embarrassments to the fans, particularly when UK schedules an FCS team. The SEC isn't going to mind demanding an upgrade, but they are no doubt receiving some push back from most mid to lower-tier SEC programs. I don't think the Alabamas and LSU's mind, given their already daunting schedules and formidable teams.
This will be worth watching, I'd say. I really want the Governor's Cup to continue, so I could bite the bullet and deal with the tougher schedule even if it means fewer bowls in the near term. But will Mitch Barnhart be willing to part with the revenue? I'm not sure.