Contrary to what I might have thought before I came, there are a lot of advantages to living in Louisville over Lexington. Even though this will burn every person who calls the great city of Lex-town home, there is more to do here in Louisville, it does have a greater feel of a city and for me, I like the diversity of the place. Having said all of that, there is one thing that is growing intolerable about being in the Ville…..the hype over the Football Cards and their upcoming game against West Virginia.
Now dont get me wrong, I think this version of the Louisville Cardinals football team is very good. Whereas many thought coming into the season that the Ville was simply Brian Brohm and Michael Bush and a bunch of other supporting castmates, this team has shown itself to be much more balanced and deep. There is NO DOUBT, no matter what the most loyal Kentucky fan may say, that Louisville is establishing a Top 20, Top 15 and maybe even (although not yet) a consistent Top 10 program here. The Cards will see a drop when Bush and Brohm are gone, but so long as Bobby P is in the Ville (which could be any amount of time, including just a few more months), things will be good for the Football Cards.
Having said all of that, the hype for this Louisville-West Virginia game in this city is truly out of control. This week I have heard alternatively that this game is (a) the best in the history of the Big East; (b) the best college football game ever played in the middle of the week; (c) the best game ever played in the state of Kentucky; and (amazingly)(d) the biggest sporting event in the history of college athletics in Kentucky (I am not kidding). Now all of these claims suffer from hyperbole and while (b) is likely true, we are comparing this game basically with MAC contests. (c) may or may not be true as I dont know a great deal about football prior to 1980, but it is at least a reasonable claim. (A) forgets about Va Tech-Miami the year that Michael Vick took the Hokies to the national championship and (d) is just silly.
Folks, the Louisville-West Virginia game is an important contest, but I hate to break to you Cards fans, but nationally this game is still only peripherally on everyone’s radar screen. Most college football fans are waiting for Ohio St.-Michigan and are honestly hoping that both Big East teams lose once so they can see Texas, Florida or Auburn in the national championship game. Thats just a fact. This game will be watched on Thursday night, but the world aint waiting for this one….no matter how many times Lachlan, the Courier Journal and WHAS wish otherwise. The winner of this game is set up well to be in the national championship game….that is true. But that does not mean that either of these teams is the second best team in the country. Rather it means that Louisville (or West Virginia) was smart to put itself in the weakest (although much improved) conference in the BCS and has gone through that schedule without any roadbumps.
Look I will be watching this game on Thursday night, no doubt. But then again I watched Tulsa play UTEP the other night, so I am not a good judge. And I expect this game to get a pretty good rating, maybe one of the best ever on Thursday night. But as SOON as the game is over, it will be forgotten nationally. The media will crown the winner a favorite to make the BCS championship game and then, as sure as the sun rises, the talk will be about how the winner does not “deserve” to make the game over “better” teams like Auburn and Texas. What both of these programs crave (national respect) is simply not going to come about. West Virginia has one important win on the national stage in the last ten years (over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl)….you can make the argument that Louisville has none (Florida St in the rain is the closest). Both teams hope the win on Thursday will be the one that makes them legitimate to the rest of the country….unfortunately both will be severely disappointed.