January 8th, 2011. Birmingham, Alabama. The BBVA Compass Bowl sponsored by the NAACP, FBI, and DARPA. In this game, the SEC’s 8th or 9th best team will take on the Big East’s 5th best team. If games on the last week of the season fall correctly, this could leave this bowl with the possibility of a Kentucky v. Louisville matchup. Certainly on the surface that matchup would develop some extra interest for a bowl that is, frankly, a lame piece of crap. But here is the question I have for you: Do we really want to play Louisville again?
There are some pros and cons if this matchup does come to fruition:
1) The chance to beat Louisville twice in a season:Cards fans would love to say that Charlie Strong has the program on the way back up and Joker Phillips has had a disappointing season. They would not have that luxury if the Cats win twice against the Cards in 1 season. Cards fans have argued that if the game was played the 3rd week of the year this season, they would have won. Certainly, this would prove them wrong.
2) Cards offense has flatlined:The UL offense has frankly been awful for most of the season, which would be advantageous to a less than stellar UK defense. UL does not have a QB who scrambles well (sorry but Adam Froman is not that great of a scrambler). And the Cardinals have dealt with injuries to both their starting QB and RB for most of the year. Point being, the Cats actually matchup pretty darn well with Louisville
3) Recruiting Momentum: If there was a legit Division 1 prospect in Kentucky that was still undecided in the Class of 2011, a 2nd Kentucky win might be enough to sway them. Charlie Strong has gotten a couple really good players from the state in this class, something UK had really dominated in the last few years. Kentucky could shift the momentum back to them for late signers of 2011 and the Class of 2012.
1) A loss overshadows regular season win: You lose to Louisville, and the win in the regular season become pointless. Cards fans will argue they won the game that mattered. UL will have serious momentum going into 2011. Basically, all bad news for Kentucky.
2) Potential for a losing season: If Kentucky loses to Tennessee and then to Louisville, UK will finish 6-7, which last time a checked was considered a losing season. Not something you want to deal with in your first season if you are Joker Phillips.
3) Charlie Strong v. Joker Phillips:Some argued the 7-point Cats win in September was a direct result of Charlie Strong coaching up his lack of talent. Some argued Strong badly out-coachedJoker in that game. If Strong, with the exact same team, can then beat Phillips, get ready for the Strong is better than Phillips stories. If I am Joker Phillips, this game has the potential for a really bad result.
Frankly, as much as I like the idea of beating Louisville twice in a season, including a bowl win, there is a real risk that UL could beat us. And if that was to happen, it would put such a dark cloud over the program and Joker Phillips’ first year, that it really isn’t worth it. UK has already beaten UL, and that should be enough. Now, it’s not like Kentucky really has a say in who their bowl opponent would be, but if I am a Cat fan, I am cheering for Rutgers to beat UL on Friday, thus keeping them out of any bowl.
What are your thoughts though? Would you like a 2nd shot at Louisville to really drive the knife in their heart?