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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 5 years later, revisiting the scheduling of Louisville

In 2006, Kentucky took its worst ever loss in the UK-UL football rivalry, a 59-28 drubbing that left many wondering whether Rich Brooks would survive and if Andre Woodsonwas the right QB.  Of course, UK was able to turn that season around, make and win a bowl game, and the rest is history.  Woodson and teammates mentioned often the affect that loss had on the team to work even harder to redeem themselves.  Another change occurred in the UK administration when AD Mitch Barnhart decided to push the UL game out of the first game of the year and move it to either the 2nd or 3rd game when the game was played in Lexington.  The hope was getting UK more experience before the UL game would be beneficial against a program on the rise like Louisville was then.  And let’s be honest, in 2006, Kentucky was 2-6 against Louisville in games played in Lexington, all taking place the first week of the season.  In theory, it seemed like a good move.

And in 2007, it appeared that move payed off when Stevie Got Loose and the Cats pulled the big upset in the 3rd week of the season.  In 2009, Kentucky played Louisville in the 2nd week of the season, and pulled out a 4-point win in Lexington.  Which means, so far UK is 2-0 with this scheduling strategy.  But what needs to be discussed is whether this scheduling strategy is even needed anymore.  Here is why:

Games in Lexington
2007: UK 40, UL 34
2009: UK 31, UL 27

Games in Louisville
2008: UK 27, UL 2
2010: UK 23, UL 16

In the games played in LOUISVILLE, played in the 1st week of the season, Kentucky has had more success, in margin of victory, than the 2 games played in Lexington later in the season.  And frankly, Barnhart and Brooks could not have envisioned what Steve Kragthorpe was going to do to the UL program.  So again, when this scheduling plan was created, it was completely understandable.  It was a very good plan.  And you could argue in 2007, it may have been beneficial to the win.  But I wonder whether it is time to switch back to the old scheduling method, now that Kentucky is a better program than Louisville. 

First, I think both sides would admit that the game gets more publicity, and more fan excitement, when it is played in Week 1.  When UL is the first opponent, fans have something to look forward to in the summer.  When that opponent is Miami (OH) or Western Kentucky, as is being shown this summer, that excitement is flat.  Even in years when Kentucky came into the season with a less than great team, fans were excited by the chance to play Louisville right off the bat.  And the game is more attractive to television, when most BCS teams play a patsy in Week 1. 

Secondly, you could argue that this season, the game being the 3rd week of the season in helping UL more than UK.  UL currently has 22 freshman in its 2-deep depth chart.  Don’t you think it would be more beneficial to have played the game in a packed Commonwealth in Week 1?  Barnhart and Co. could not have seen that coming, so I don’t blame them.  But now that UK has positioned itself as a solid program year in and year out, and UL is still trying to sort through the mess that was Kragthorpe, UK should take advanatge of that rebuilding and move the game back up.  As long as UL does not hold a huge advantage in the series like they did in the early 2000’s, there is no reason to not get as much publicity as possible for the rivalry.  And also for the team, which doesn’t exactly draw a lot of eyes to the screen during the season.

This would not take affect until 2013, but I can’t imagine UL being a Top 10 program again and UK falling off the map by then.  Joker and Brooks built a solid foundation in their recruiting efforts, and should always be above or equal with UL.  The gap between the 2 schools should never get like it was under Petrino again.  So I wonder what is the real risk in playing the game in Week 1 every year again?  As fans, do you care which week the UL game is played in, and should it be mandatory to be a Week 1 game?       

Article written by Bryan the Intern

22 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 5 years later, revisiting the scheduling of Louisville

  1. Keith
    9:10 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Good question. After reading the article, I’m certainly in favor for moving it back to week one. I know I’m having trouble getting excited about the late Thursday night opener against WKU. If we were about to play Louisville, I’d be buying tailgaiting supplies today and reading every article about the team that I could find.

  2. Andy P.
    9:14 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    The game needs to fall on the schedule where the head coach and athletic director feels it’s most to our advantage. If that’s week one, great. If that’s week three, great. To hell with a mandatory slot.

  3. john
    9:20 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Put it at then end of the year

  4. Mike
    9:25 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    No way! I like playing it the 3rd game just because it pisses the ul fans/media off!

  5. Ghostofbearbryant
    9:25 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Need to quit playing them altogether. They gain far more benefit form it than us. As long as UL is a measuring stick rather than SEC opponents, our FB program will always languish.

  6. Mike Martin
    9:26 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I’m more concerned about the first game of the year being played on Thursday night than who we play! As a second shifter this sucks the big one. We are the SEC, we don’t play on Thursday night.

  7. Ken in Middletown
    9:27 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    All things considered, I’d prefer the game to be either the 1st or 2nd game of the season. GO CATS!!!

  8. bung
    9:30 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I prefer not to even schedule looavul in fb or bb.

  9. BigBlueStreeb
    9:35 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Screw Louisville. We don’t need their stinking game. How many times do we have to beat them, finish with a better record, go to more bowl games, go farther in the NCAA tourney, win national titles, go to Final Fours, etc… until they realize we are the better all around program? The answer is never. Louisville fans will NEVER admit that UK is better no matter how many times we beat them at any sport. The are dumb, blind and have a chip on their shoulder the size of Canada because nobody but their own stupid fans and local media care about them.

    Louisville fans have a sense of entitlement that is beyond anything in sports; they own that entitlement for absolutely no reason. Let’s stop scheduling them altogether and make them completely irrelevant.

  10. 13th. Grade
    9:46 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    First or last, when it means more. Outside of the state of Kentucky, this game means little. Even more so when it’s buried in the season.

  11. Le Doc
    9:56 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    If U of L is game 1 in Lexington and game 2 is Central Michigan? The attendance at Central Michigan game blows. If Central Michigan is game 1, attendance is great and then attendance is great in game 2, against Louisville. Whenever you find yourself asking “why do they do that?” the answer is usually “money, dude.”

  12. bung
    9:59 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Could we go an entire week without mentioning looavul?

  13. Poco Chang
    10:00 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Yeah, because nobody is talking about. Really? Have you looked at any message boards?

    You cannot tell from the discussion level if the game is week 1 or week 3, so that whole argument is in the toilet.

    Uh gee, we can’t talk about the UL game in July because it’s not the first game?

  14. MtnCat
    10:13 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve had enough of Louisville period.
    I would just as soon drop them from the schedule and the Commonwealth.

  15. Kyle
    10:25 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I am Card fan, but frankly I think both programs suck at this point!!! As for U Of K being a better program, At least U of L had a winning season last year. U of K 6 wins, 7 LOSSES!!!! U of L 7 Wins, 6 losses!!!!
    With Coach Strong U of L is a Program on the rise!!!!! U of K has Joker Phillips!!!! That says it all!!!!HA HA HA!!!!

  16. Sylvar
    11:13 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    First game of the season makes no sense for a rivalry game. I’d rather see it pushed back even further.

  17. Lincoln
    11:40 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Kyle, you’re in the Big East.

  18. Kanter Banter
    11:58 am August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I’d like to drop Louisville and add a Big 10 (like Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State)

  19. Coach Kragthorpe
    12:04 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    First quit blaming me for UL’s woes. Bobby left me a bunch of overhyped thugs in the cupboard and I did the best I could. Second where was all this stockpile of 5 Star talent that was winning all these games and thumping UK. Oh that’s right UL had overrated talent and played an incredibly week schedule and lastly, UK was on probation when Petrino was winning all those games. The Big East had two competitive teams and our best win was in the Orange Bowl against Wake Forest, the worst BCS Team in history. I digress….

    Don’t care when the game is played but all I know is we need to win it every year. Contrary to what everyone says, it benefits UK to get a couple of games under our belt because 100% of the pressure to win is on us. It is a loose/loose for Kentucky to play this game.

  20. NostraDanis
    4:07 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t care about when we play City College. BEAT TENNESSEE!

  21. CatFanForLife
    6:48 pm August 29, 2011 Permalink

    Let me say that I disagree with those would want to move the game to Week 1 every year. Sure the publicity would be nice, but I am willing to sacrifice that publicity to continue to dominate lil brother like we have since we started playing the game on the 3rd week. I am glad Mitch Barnhart and Coach Brooks had the cajones to force UL to allow each school to schedule it when they wanted. UL tried to dictate the terms of the contract, but were rebuffed by MB and CRB. If anyone wants to end the series, let UL be the one, when they realize their place in pecking order within the state. As for this week, I am a WKU grad, but a lifelong UK fan who will also be a huge Murray State fan this week. My wife is a MSU Alum and I hope the Hatch Attack pulls off a win vs. UL later this week.

  22. uoflcard
    3:28 pm August 30, 2011 Permalink

    My first time to this site… So this is what a UK echo chamber looks like after years of fermentation? “We are the SEC” lol. You are SEC basketball; in football you are an SEC check-casher. And besides, in case you haven’t noticed, Thursday Night Football is now the Monday Night Football of college. It used to just be us in C-USA in that slot. Everyone called us 2nd rate, but all it was for us was free exposure. Now the SEC is putting some of it’s best games in that slot throughout the year.

    UofL fans of course recognize that you have more history in basketball, and football is a wash. But who cares? The point of the game is to play it, to enjoy the build up, to enjoy the game and then have bragging rights for a year. Ah, but the real point is that you want to trade UofL for a 4th cupcake, so when we fully recover from Krag1N1, you can still go to the 8th or 9th SEC bowl. Tell me, what happens after the SEC exands to 14 and you have 9 conference games plus Louisville? You never go to a bowl again, that’s what. They will have to play basketball highlights on the Commonwealth Stadium TVs to keep everyone in