Let’s face it, rarely has Kentucky faced a less-exciting-yet-still-surprisingly-integral-to-the-season type game than they will this weekend. Both fan bases are uniquely under-selling their team, attempting to gain spin control if they do happen to lose. And it’s not just the fans, even the coaches have gotten in on it. But just because the excitement of the 2007 Louisville game isn’t surrounding the match up doesn’t mean Kentucky can’t hugely benefit from a win.
When Kentucky wins this weekend, there are four key things that will happen.
1.) With a loss to rival Kentucky, Louisville’s football season will nearly be over before it even started. Sure there will be some die hard fans that stick around, but starting your season with a mediocre win over Murray State, a loss to FIU and a loss to Kentucky is a recipe for apathy – and if you’re not careful, anger. A number of Louisville fans who were gleeful over Charlie Strong will start to sour on the head coach, not exactly calling for his job (after all, you can still blame Kragthorpe for the players,) but the honeymoon will certainly be over. Louisville STRONG will be replaced with Louisville First (to give up on football and look towards basketball season.)
2.) With a win, Kentucky will add some much needed credibility to their team. Sure, beating the only BCS team to ever lose to FIU won’t be super impressive, and yeah, nobody is going to be writing home about beating a Big East team, but 3-0 is 3-0. Joker will keep the edge over Strong in local recruiting battles, we might escape from a few articles like this saying Kentucky’s stock is falling, and the Florida game next weekend might even get a little hype. The more convincing a win over the Cards the better, of course.
3.) A win keeps Kentucky in the hunt for a bowl bid. A loss doesn’t necessarily keep them out, but it makes the trip a lot tougher. With 3 early wins, Kentucky only has to find three more over the course of the final 9 games, with a gimmie game against Jacksonville State still in the mix. At that point, UK will only need a win over Vandy plus one against a Mississippi School, Tennessee or possibly Georgia.
4.) We can continue our lengthy reprieve from annoying Louisville fans. Enough said?
So that’s that. This years edition of Cats/Cards may not be as sexy as some in the past, but it’s still just as important for the boys in blue.