Friday, September 18, 2009

Kentucky Sports Hatefest-U of L vs UK

Today the University of Louisville Cardinals hit I-64 east and travel to Lexington to take on the University of Kentucky Wildcats. They are not only fighting for the Governor's Cup, but state bragging rights, football division.

One of the questions I consistently get asked since I moved here is whether I support U of L or UK.

Many Kentucky natives won't accept my answer that I'm neutral and like both teams. They'll spend whatever time I have in their presence extolling the virtues of the Cats or Cards while dissing the other team with the zeal of missionaries.

When U of L and UK get together to play any sport, people are passionate about it. Friends, families, co-workers and sometimes even spouses divide along Cardinal red or Wildcat blue lines.

No matter what the sport, it's a highly competitive rivalry played by two teams separated by 73 miles of interstate highway and no love lost on either side.

It's so competitive that Kentuckians have already circled Jan 2, 2010 on the calendar.

What's happening that day you ask? It's the date of the annual U of L-UK basketball clash at Rupp Arena.

The trash talking this year for this season's football clash has come mostly from the UK fans. U of L has slipped from its 2006 Big East championship and BCS bowl winning heights and Cardinal Nation is anxious about it.

Cards fans are even more anxiety ridden going into this noon showdown at Commonwealth Stadium. U of L is not only coming off a 5-7 season after going 6-6 the previous year, they have a lot of question marks on both sides of the ball.

They also watched the Cats spank Miami of Ohio 42-0 in their season opener in Cincinnati.

Cardinal Nation also knows the Cats had a bye week to rest and retool for this game.

The Cards briefly trailed 7-3 in their season opening game at 'The Pizzeria' with Indiana State. They had to fight tooth and nail with the Sycamores before eventually pulling away for the 30-10 win.

UK is a football team on the rise and coming off a third straight bowl appearance. They not only want to keep their two year winning streak alive against U of L, they see themselves as a Top 25 program that can compete and win in the tough SEC East Division and as BCS bowl material.

No matter who wins, both teams when this game is over will have tough challenges to overcome the next week. UK will take on Number 1 ranked Florida in Lexington while the Cards will travel to Salt Lake City to take on Utah.

But for those of us who are neutral, it sure is a lot of fun to watch, no matter what the sport.

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