The football game that I look forward to the most every season is the Kentucky vs. Louisv..."/> The football game that I look forward to the most every season is the Kentucky vs. Louisv..."/>

Kentucky Wildcat Football: Is the Louisville Game a Must Win?


The football game that I look forward to the most every season is the Kentucky vs. Louisville game. To me, it embodies everything that a rivalry should; the trash talking, the close proximity of the foes, inner state kids on both teams, and a deep dislike on both sides. Rivalry games are fun to be a part of and even more fun to enjoy in person. But is this particular rivalry game a little more important this year than in recent memory?

We all know how important wins and losses are in college football. One loss can spell doom and gloom for post season aspirations. One loss against an out of conference foe is no big deal when it comes to basketball; the season is long and the post season is much easier to reach. Beating Louisville in basketball is just as fun as beating them in football, but it is far less important. All that is at stake is bragging rights in hoops.

Kentucky has defeated Louisville a dominating four years in a row in football. The first win of the series was without question the most impressive and the most unexpected. We can all recall that the Cards were ranked in the top 10 that year and we can also recall that the Cards were in the midst of their own four game winning streak against the Cats when the upset occurred. Louisville has been down the past three seasons and UK was expected to win all three games, which they did.

This year a victory also seems to be in the cards (haha, pun) for the Wildcats. Louisville has lost almost all of their starters on offense, their team is extremely young, they have no offensive line to speak of, no quarterback to speak of, 4 out of 5 corner backs are freshmen and they weren’t all that good to begin with last year. This year does not look promising for the Boys from the Ville.

Kentucky, on the other hand, is returning a great offensive line, has a a quarterback that has started and won big time games in college football, and has almost every single player returning on defense. There are some unproven positions, especially at wide receiver and running back. The loss of Derrick Locke, Chris Matthews and, of course Randall Cobb, could be the downfall of this team.

The game on September 17th should showcase two 2-0 teams. Louisville will be coming off of patty-cake games against Murray State and FIU. UK will becoming off of cream puff games against WKU and Central Michigan. Each team should be finely tuned by this point but they may not be ready for the jump in athletic ability that they will face.

Why would this be a must win game for the Cats? First and foremost, if UK does not win this game you can almost certainly kiss a bowl game goodbye. With only two more for sure wins during their season, one against Vanderbilt and one against Jacksonville State, they will need every easy one they can get. Games against LSU, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi State are no easy task.

If the Cats go 3-1 in their out of conference schedule, then earning a winning season will be a hard task to come by. That’s one reason why I think this is a must win game for them.

Confidence is another reason. A win against a hated rival can never be underestimated. Beating the Cards at home would do wonders for the Cats heading into a game against Florida the following week. 3-0 is much better than 2-1 when you are looking to face a traditional powerhouse.

The devastating effect a loss to a seemingly inferior team can be monumental. Just take Louisville as an example of that statement. The year Andre Woodson and Stevie Johnson hooked up to get the win, the Cards did not make a bowl game despite being BCS Orange Bowl defending champs. Of course Louisville fans will tell you that is was the “Kragthorpe Effect” but you can’t tell me that a loss against a team that they had destroyed four years straight did not contribute to their demise.

In conclusion, I am calling this a must win. For pride, for confidence, for success during the rest of the season, the Cats must come away from Commonwealth that night with a big time W. Or else, the bragging rights belong to the Cardinal faithful and the following weeks will be full of uncertainty for the Cats. Losing to a team you are supposed to beat is never fun. Losing to a team you are supposed to beat at home can be brutal.

I will be at that game in person. Expect an over the top reaction the next day no matter the outcome.

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