Off The Record: Why UK will upset arch-rival Louisville on Sunday

August 30, 2004|HERB BROCK

According to most pigskin pundits, there really is no reason why the University of Kentucky Wildcats should don their pads and helmets for this Sunday's football game against the arch-rival University of Louisville Cardinals. These so-called experts believe the game will be over about a minute after the coin toss.

Sure, the game doesn't look like much of a contest on paper. The Cards have a multidimensional offense that can score in many different ways from any place on the field. The Cats have a one dimensional offense: Shane Boyd left, Shane Boyd right, Shane Boyd up the middle and, more often than not, Shane Boyd on his back.

Call me a homer blinded by my love of the Big Blue, but I really don't think it will be U of L 136, UK 21. In fact, I not only think it will be a close game but also believe the Cats will prevail.


Here are just a few reasons why I think UK will beat U of L 24-20:

* U of L's team will be distracted by the fact that there are more than 10,000 people in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Ever talked to Card football fans? They talk like U of L invented college football and Amos Alonzo Schnellenberger was the best coach ever. They behave like they're fans of Notre Dame or Tennessee or Michigan or some other school that actually has a long tradition dating back before the 1990s, plays bowl games in places other than Memphis and, oh yes, is supported by a loyal fan base that regularly fills up more than a fourth of their home stadium.

Oh, yeah, The Slice will be filled to the brim this Sunday, thanks to the Big Blue fans who'll buy tickets and the fair-weather Card fans who show up to the UK game only, every other year. Most Card home games, though, you could detonate an atom bomb in the middle of the stands and not hurt anyone.

* The Cards will be looking ahead to next year when they join the Big East.

If you think Card fans think their program is hot stuff now, just wait till next year when U of L joins the Big East. Perhaps attempting to plug gaping holes would be a better way of describing U of L's invitation to join the conference as the Big East desperately turned to the Cards when its only real powerhouses - Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College - bailed. Card fans may strut around in their gear with Big East logos on them but we all know the name of the revamped conference should be the Big Least.

Wildcat players and fans are willing to wait till next year for the puffed-up chests of Card players and fans boasting about being in a real conference as opposed to that fake confederation of real conference rejects called Conference USA. But the U of L team and fans won't. They will be dreaming of playing the likes of such football factories as Temple, Rutgers and UConn and, thus, will be ripe for being ripped by the Cats.

* The Wildcats will be looking backward to a time when they could beat Vanderbilt.

While the Cards dwell in their dream world, the Cats will be dealing with their nightmare - getting clobbered last season by Vanderbilt and being predicted to finish behind Vandy this season.

While the Vandy game is more than two months away, it and what happened last year should serve as motivation for the Cats. They need to remember a time when UK could at least beat Vandy in the annual SEC Doormat Bowl every November. And beating U of L should be no harder than beating Vandy since if it weren't for that high school schedule of Conference USA, the Card team essentially is a doormat team as well.

* The Cards will be without their head coach.

Bobby Petrino, aka Mr. Loyalty, will be missing from the sideline and also from the press box on Sunday. But he will have the best view of anyone - at least for the few seconds he will be in the air flying over the stadium.

Petrino will be in a private jet on his way to a secret meeting with brass from a real football school in a real football conference. Yeah, his act of disloyalty will be discovered like it was last year when he flirted with the head coaching job at Auburn. And U of L athletic director Tom Jurich, desperate to keep an up-and-comer, will punish Petrino like he did last year - with a salary increase.

If Petrino makes his disloyal flirtations an annual event, he could be a billionaire in 10 years.

* The Cats will be without their head coach.

Rich Brooks, aka Methusalah, also will be missing from the stadium this Sunday. He also will be in the air - on his way to check out a retirement community in Florida. You have to take advantage of those AARP discount fares when you can.

But Brooks being AWOL because of the AARP won't be so B-A-D. After all, he was on the sidelines of last year's UK-U of L game when the Cats were favored but stunk it up under his leadership, which featured an offense more conservative than anything Rush Limbaugh could have designed.

* Half the Cards will be too tired to play well after spending the week working on Ron Hudson's house.

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