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Is it time we move the Governor’s Cup back to the first week on a yearly basis?

Stevie got loose, but it was only shown live on ESPN Classic.

Stevie got loose, but it was only shown live on ESPN Classic.

 

This summer, there’s been a lot of talk about the UK-UL football game. There’d still be a lot of talk about it if it was the third game of the season, but when it’s the opener, there’s a buzz all summer long about the season opening game between the Cats and the Cards on Labor Day Weekend. Since there aren’t other games to play before the in-state contest this year, players haven’t been afraid to start trash talking and getting excited about the game well before fall camp even opens up, which has been fun for fans of both programs. I understand that UK originally wanted to move the game back in years that the game is in Lexington so that the team can have more time to prepare for a crucial game. In terms of becoming bowl eligible, there isn’t a game on the schedule more important on a yearly basis that is consistently tough, yet realistically winnable.

I would argue, however, that both teams will be better prepared for the game this year than they were last. Instead of watching film and preparing for WKU or Central Michigan, and then having only a week to prepare for Louisville, UK can now spend much of this summer focusing on film and tendencies of Louisville. Last season, both UK and UofL started out flat, perhaps because there wasn’t a sense of urgency around either program until it was the week of the Governor’s Cup. UK barely beat WKU, and Louisville didn’t beat Murray State convincingly before losing to Florida International in week two. Both teams seemingly went through the motions until it was the week of the Governor’s Cup, but both teams eventually finished the regular season on a good note. Not only could this be a good idea from a football perspective to keep the game on the first week, but playing on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend is also usually a sure-bet to get on national TV.

There will be an ESPN national broadcast of this year’s UK-UL game on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, just before the NFL season gets going. If the UK-UL game happened to be in Lexington this year on the third week of the season, it’s possible that the Cats wouldn’t have a single game on national TV. When UK first made this change in the schedule every other year starting in 2007, they still had their share of SEC games that were getting on national TV (2007 vs LSU, Florida, and Tennessee were all CBS games), but now Kentucky is not getting many games televised outside of ESPNU or the SEC regional viewing area. In order to recruit even close to the level of other SEC programs, Kentucky needs to ensure that they have at least one nationally televised game each year. In 2010 the Governor’s Cup was played on the first week and was on ABC, in 2011 it was played on the third week and was on ESPNU, and in 2012 it’s going to be played on the first week and it will be on ESPN. As you can see above, even that thrilling 2007 game was only seen on ESPN Classic, because there were too many good games to compete with in the third week of the season.

Sound off in the comment section with opinions below, but I can’t seem to think of any reason why this game shouldn’t always be played on the first week of the season every single year.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on blogredmachine.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

25 Comments for Is it time we move the Governor’s Cup back to the first week on a yearly basis?



  1. BPsycho
    7:19 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    **** Louisville



  2. Spurious
    7:20 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    As a sixty year fan, I not only do not care when UK and UL play, I prefer they not play at all. On the weekend UK and UL play football I find a place to spend those two days where people have never heard of Direct-TV and think of soccer as football.

    Play IU again in both football and basketball.



  3. me
    7:24 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    who cares – talk about bball…



  4. big tim
    7:34 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    i like it better the first game imo



  5. jay
    7:37 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    what #1 said



  6. gog8ors
    7:47 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Who gives two hoots about UK football? Everybody knows that UK is a one trick pony.



  7. blueaville
    7:48 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    first week



  8. ebell55
    7:57 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    I see why Brooks moved it but its time to go back to the 1st game!!



  9. gr8ness
    7:59 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    GOGAYTORS, please use the “8” in the appropriate manner.

    National Championships.



  10. That Guy
    7:59 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    This was about football? Yeah. Who cares?

    Any word on Patterson/Lucas?



  11. Capital One Cup
    8:02 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Hey, GoGayters… Where’d ya’ll finish? The Wildcats did pretty well!



  12. huck
    8:10 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Yes, the first game is the way to go.



  13. Wild Blue
    8:11 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Hasn’t this dead horse been beaten enough already? Let the coaches make the schedule. When was the last time you were concerned about the gymnastics team’s schedule and their TV appearances



  14. huck
    8:13 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Yes, the first game is the way to go, so that it is a “big” game. With expectations high, instead of hiding it with all the other losses.



  15. Hartline
    8:30 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    We shouldn’t play them at all in football. It defines the season. Whoever loses has a terrible year.



  16. MtnCat
    8:42 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Drop Louisville from the schedule.

    Let’s go with Cal’s idea and play a basketball/football double header and get some exposure in a match made for TV!

    Turn the heat up on the administration to get football right!



  17. UKBlue
    9:27 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    If the latest Yahoo article has any truth to it, Bridgewater & i.e. UL might have a problem with all the illegal Miami contact with Bridgewater, making Bridgewater ineligible. I see the future in which UL having to forfeit all the games Bridgewater has played in. Not that UL is guilty of anything, they may just become collateral damage.



  18. Chickamauga
    9:56 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Wait, I thought that Rich Brooks/Joker’s “bowl streak” (Music City 3X, Liberty and something called the BBVA Compass Bowl)was better than the Sugar, Orange and Cotton Bowls (and something called the “Great Lakes Bowl”) in the 50’s that I’ve read about in the media guide. You mean that UK has to play a couple of subpar teams to prepare for Louisville? No wonder UK hasn’t had a record above .500 in the SEC in almost 40 years.



  19. big tim
    10:01 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink


  20. jaxcats8503
    10:02 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Best part about that picture? Those EMTs going bananas. Haha.



  21. Randal
    10:20 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    There is no advantage for Kentucky to play UL so they should play the game whenever UK wants to if they play at all.



  22. ZZz
    10:56 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Oh uk footbalzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    2-10

    Joker fired
    Mitch hires a hazbeen. Nothin changed
    Mitch fired
    New coach fired
    Fans still buy tickets like lymings n jump off the cliff

    Zzzzzzzzzzz

    Don’t believe me look at last 50 yrs



  23. 9 Game SEC Schedule
    6:27 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    As soon as SEC Football goes to nine games by by Chickenheads!



  24. ribin
    7:27 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Prefer opening game — gives an added attraction to Labor Day weekend —



  25. Caleb Stinson
    4:35 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Here’s the bad thing. Everyone of the people on here running there mouths about how bad kentucky football is , will be the same people that is a huge fan when Kentucky has some good years. I guarantee they all were “fans” back during the bowl streak.