I have had the countdown to 3:30 pm on September 2nd in my phone for months now. There is excitement on so many levels. UofL football is starting, we play UK first, and I am finally back in Louisville full-time after being in Auburn for the last 4 years (which when it comes to football season, I can’t complain about being down there!).
I bought season tickets in the upper level when they built the expansion for the 2010 season. I was still in Auburn for another couple of years, and I only made it to about 4 games in the past 2 years, but I knew I was purchasing them for when I got back because we would be back to being good again and I didn’t want to be on a wait list. That time has come, and it worked out perfectly.
Now, about this game…
I honestly don’t think the game should be that close. On paper, we are dominant in every aspect of the game, except maybe special teams. UK’s strength is their defensive line. Our offensive line is supposed to be a strength this year after gaining a lot of experience last season. So if they can hold their own and protect Teddy, he can pick apart a depleted UK secondary. One of their top CB is suspended, and I think the guy that will be covering 6’3 DeVante Parker is about 5’10 or something like that. So again, if the offensive line holds up and gives Teddy time, he can have a field day throwing to his receivers.
We have 3 running backs that should all play, and any of them can start. It doesn’t really matter who starts, because they should all contribute and just keep rotating to stay fresh. Dominique Brown came to UofL as a QB, and then transitioned to a running back and had a breakout game at UK last year. Now after a whole off-season of practicing at that position, and gaining major muscle I must say, he should be a beast. Jeremy Wright had a great freshman season 2 years ago and can easily be the go-to guy. Senorise Perry is also in the mix, and with this speed, should provide a nice change of pace from the pounding that Brown will inflict when he carries the ball.
It is hard to pick which group on the defensive side of the ball stands out, but I’d have to go with the defensive line. I think we are very deep at that spot, and when we make substitutions, we won’t miss a beat. If the front 4 can get pressure on Maxwell Smith (playing in his first Governor’s Cup), and we can drop everyone else into coverage, what will he be able to do? His starting RB, Josh Clemons, is injured and won’t play in this game. Does he have receivers he can get the ball to if they are covered by guys like Andrew Johnson, Terrell Floyd, Adrian Bushell, and Hakeem Smith?
So on paper, yes we should win this game easily. However, they play these games on the field, not on paper. And because of that, and because it is a rivalry game, I always say that anything can happen. You just never know. We probably shouldn’t have won last year on the road, but we did. In 2002, we were heavy favorites with Heisman-Candidate Dave Ragone, and we got beat 22-17 at home.
Coach Strong said his biggest concern is our kicking game. What if we drive all the way down field to start the game, then miss a field goal? All of the sudden, UK has momentum in their favor. There could then be a busted coverage and a huge play for the Cats. What if it rains? If it turns into sloppy conditions, who knows what could happen?
With all that being said, I do believe we will take care of business on Sunday. I just think we are too talented and have mismatches all over the field. I am just saying that anything can happen, but of course I am confident in the Cards. I will go with a score of 34-17. If given the chance, Coach Strong will keep it respectable and not run up the score on his friend Joker. I see one of those scores for UK coming late and when the game is out of reach, probably on our backups.