Friday, August 29, 2008

Unscientific Preview: Kentucky vs. Louisville

vs.

Sunday evening the lights will be aligned on Louisville, KY as the Governor's Cup renews its rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky. Last year's thrilling game was loaded with star power, excitement, and celebration. None of that is the case this year, as both teams enter sort of a rebuilding stage when compared to years past.

Gone are Brian Brohm and Andre Woodson. Taking snaps now are two fellas named Hartline and Cantwell. Both programs have been far worse in recent memory, but both are probably looking at baby steps backwards. For Brooks and Kentucky, it's seeing if sustaining the success of the last two years can be built upon, most notably in terms of offensive prowess and defensive stoutness, two things that usually do not go hand in hand with "Kentucky" and "Football". For Kragthorpe and the Cards, the offseason was far from kind, as players were embroiled in offseason turmoil, team injuries, and just a rather bucket of yuck type year. Coming off the heels of Kragthorpe's mediocre season, Cards fans are worried. And rightly so.

So OverThePylon presents to you our first installment of Unscientific Preview 2008.

The Basics:
University of Kentucky Wildcats
Location: Lexington, KY
Record: 0-0 (0-0)
Conference: SEC
University of Louisville Cardinals
Location: Louisville, KY
Record: 0-0 (0-0)
Conference: Big East

Offense: To call either of these teams offensive juggernauts would be a misnomer. This game may very well come down to which offense sucks the least. Yes, Louisville has experience, but Hunter Cantwell's experience is a moot point. Playing in games with Michael Bush and Harry Douglas takes some of the pressure off the job. Cantwell will be playing a challenging fast defense with receivers less than exceptional, assuming his line holds up well enough to even allow him to throw the ball.

On the UK side of things, we have an even greater unknown than Cantwell. Mike Hartline, who fell ass backwards into the Kentucky job thanks to Curtis Pulley's inability to be a law abiding citizen suits up for game 1 of the Hartline experience. What will help him is a stable of running backs that are quick, tough, and experienced. When he throws the ball it's anyone's guess, as no one really knows what he's capable of. Advantage: Based solely on the defense they're playing against....

Defense: Kentucky's unit is strong. Louisville's unit isn't. The defense got shredded by the offense in the scrimmage a few weeks ago for Louisville, which isn't a huge shock since pretty much every team they played last year did as well. Kentucky's unit looked staunch in their scrimmage, telling us either the defense is tremendous and the offense isn't that bad, or the unit isn't that good and the offense is just ghastly shit-tacular. I'll go with the former. Advantage:

Coaching: Rich Brooks. Steve Kragthorpe. One was nearly burned out of town by an angry mob last year. One was nearly burned out of town by an angry mob several years ago. Records are inconsequential because Kragthorpe is relatively new to the game as well as big time football, and Brooks spent his younger days coaching Lazarus at Bethlehem Prep. Based solely on the sheer love affair this blog has for him, this is an easy choice. Advantage:

Intangibles: It's a rivalry game. It's a home game for Louisville, though there will be plenty of blue in the stands. It's being billed as a redemption game for the Cardinals. Questions swirl around the program like Rick Bozich on a free lunch. It's big for Louisville... yes... we get it.

For Kentucky it very well could be the start of a season which will go a long way in determining how the Brooks era is remembered. Whether the two year stretch we're in was the fluke or the norm. A win means UK will most likely win all their non-conference games and get them 67% of the way to a .500 season at least. That's big as well.
Advantage: Push

Random Page 1 Google Image Search Result for Louisville Cardinals:







Random Page 1 Google Image Search Result for Kentucky Wildcats:







Advantage:
Slutty cheerleaders make me smile.


Overall: Expect an ugly ugly game. Last year's game, punctuated by dramatics, fireworks, and star power will be the Cinderella to this year's ugly stepsister. Kentucky plays a grind it out, run first offense over Louisville's porous defense with the score appropriately reflecting the change in style. If the Kentucky defense gets to Cantwell and forces any sort of turnovers it will be a long day for the Cards in the pizza pit.
Prediction: Kentucky 28 Louisville 17

1 comment:

DarylGrossIsSuperman said...

I swear I just got a picture message of that cheerleader. Funny...