Thoughts on Louisville beating Kentucky,
Taking back the Governor’s Cup

Last weekend I watched as Louisville upset Kentucky in the Battle of the Bluegrass and took home the prestigious Governor’s Cup.

I remember last year, just before the rivalry game, during Charlie Strong’s inaugural season and the beginning of the Krag Holocaust cleanup. I made the comment on CardChronicle.com that if “UK gets us one more time while we’re weak, I’ll go ahead and say it’ll be the last time we lose to them for a while.” With Randall Cobb, Kentucky beat the Cards 23-16. No surprise there.

This year, however, I don’t understand why Louisville were the underdogs despite it being a road game. I think people put a little too much stock in the loss to FIU. Keeping in mind that FIU (currently 3-0 at the time of this publication) is a promising program on the rise, and Louisville were completely out of sorts in their first two games, the Cardinals were still able to compete with the Panthers and put themselves in a position to tie the game at the end and send it to OT. Kentucky, on the other hand, looked abysmal in both their first two games against Western KY and C. Michigan. As a fan I felt confident about the Battle of the Bluegrass this year, and the Cards did not disappoint. The tandem of Teddy Bridgewater and Dominique Brown proved to be too much for the Cats as Louisville walked out of Commonwealth Stadium with a 24-17 victory and the Governor’s Cup in hand for the first time since 2006.

Might not sound like too much, especially to anyone outside this state. But, watching a program go from winning the BCS Orange Bowl, with a passionate head coach and a team comprised of hungry, vicious beasts…





…to dwindling down, seemingly in an instant, to what I perceived as a bunch of cute little school boys skipping around with candy bars under the tutelage (using the term very loosely) of one Steve Kragthorpe…





…hasn’t been a joyous thing to live through. Kragthorpe’s teams seemed completely lost the majority of the time and even quit on the coach right in the middle of the field on more than one occasion. It was often times infuriating to watch Kragthorpe not only fail, but FAIL miserably, only to blame everyone but himself, and continue to reference these mysterious problems that were supposedly plaguing the program. Problems that former kicker Art Carmody addressed by stating directly to me:

“During the Petrino era, I thought that Bobby ran a tight ship. One of the things that he did well was he had his assistant coaches take ownership of their players. They were always checking in with us and monitoring our grades, etc. In 2008 after I had left we started hearing that Kragthorpe inherited a mess, he inherited a bunch of hoodlums, etc. I did not like that and neither did a lot of my former teammates.”

“All they could talk about though was how the program was a mess.”

“I was proud to be a member of the football program from 2003-2007 and thought/think that we left it in a better place than we found it.”

Credit

To see Charlie Strong take over this program and have such an immediate impact as to lead the Cardinals to a winning season complete with a bowl game and victory his first year, to seeing him walk into Commonwealth Stadium for the first time and snatch the Governor’s Cup with a team that not only can compete, but has a sheer desire to win, is nothing short of exhilarating and akin to the days of old.





Now, obviously I’m a big Louisville fan. That said, I usually don’t get too involved in the rivalry smack talk or otherwise never-ending jargon between the two sides. Fans of both teams will always run their mouths — whether they’re having respectful debates (HA!), heated arguments, fist fights, or just plain running their mouths. No point in attempting to be the peace maker or the one who finally brings so many irrefutable facts that the arguments are settled. Won’t happen. It’ll go on forever. To the residents of this state — Kentucky/Louisville is every bit like Michigan/Ohio St. & Oklahoma/Texas in football, and exactly like UNC/Duke in hoops. There will be no truce, ever. So, when Kentucky fans talk the talk — I’m just not interested beyond a quick one-liner. Gone are the days where I’d actually let a UK fan bait me into a long, drawn out battle of words and wit (HA!), only to dispatch them, one after another, then start up the same discussion again a few days later with someone new and repeat the whole process over and over again. Boring. So, I don’t spend any time addressing anything a rival fan has to say, unless it is an actual question or comment with merit and legitimacy, or unless I’m just having some laughs with someone I know.

But, when the PLAYERS do the smack talking — that’s a different story. I’ve always said it isn’t Kentucky’s players (basketball, football, or otherwise) that incite my distaste for the university. It’s the fans. I generally respect the athletes and don’t have anything bad to say. However, just before this year’s Battle of the Bluegrass, there were some interesting comments made by a couple of Kentucky’s players:


“We don’t want to be that team that lost to Louisville, and we’re not going to let it happen.” –UK LB Ronnie Sneed

“Yes sir, we are beating Louisville this year. And Tennessee. Those are two guaranteed wins. Guarantee it.” –UK DL Collins Ukwu





I see.


*Chuckle*

At any rate, for me, this victory was the final separation from the Kragthorpe era. Three major fan-expectations have been met in under two seasons:

1. Achieve a winning season.

2. Go to a bowl game (and win).

3. BEAT KENTUCKY!


Proud of my Louisville Cardinals, our coaches, our athletic director, and fans.







Comments

comments

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Louisville beating Kentucky,
Taking back the Governor’s Cup

  1. players always seem to run their mouths and then get their asses kicked…louisville rush game and defense ruled that game…kuddos

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