The football rivalry between the universities of Louisville and Kentucky will continue if Mark Stoops has any say on the series.
The UK football coach was in Louisville Friday for the Wildcats’ annual football luncheon, declaring the rivalry to be “very important” to him and the program, telling the Courier-Journal:
“Any time you’re an in-state rivalry, it’s important. I think both groups, both institutions, have such strong fans and fan bases, it’s important to them; it’s important to our players, it’s important to us. There’s no denying that,” Stoops said.
“If you ask me, and certainly Charlie (Strong) and I have had discussions — I don’t know Coach (Bobby Petrino) as well — but sometimes people don’t realize there’s 11 other games that we’ve gotta get to. But it is important, and we embrace that challenge.”
Stoops is also in favor of preserving the rivalry for the long haul, assuming the Southeastern Conference keeps its current eight-game league schedule.
“Oh, yeah, I do,” Stoops said. “As you know, that’s probably above my pay grade, but I do anticipate that staying.”
Quite a turnabout in his public positioning from three days ago when it was announced he was skipping the Governor’s Cup luncheon. Stoops obviously had plenty of feedback from the UK administration and fan base during that time.
Having UK on the schedule every year should please Bobby Petrino.
The end is near, with the silos on land recently acquired by the University of Louisville starting to come down on Monday.
Specialized equipment will arrive in town by Friday, getting into position over the weekend for the demolition project. It’s probably going to take a week or two because there are 22 of those concrete monsters.
Spectators will not be allowed on the 15-acre site, but should be able to see the work from Floyd Street.
And the transformation of Belknap Campus continues.
Courier-Journal columnist Tim Sullivan writes in his latest column that a noisy segment of the University of Kentucky fan base would prefer that UK stop playing Louisville in football altogether. I’m inclined to agree with them but for different reasons.
They’re tired of losing to Louisville and want to get out while UK still owns an edge in the all-time series. The Wildcats have a tough enough schedule with Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia and other SEC teams every year without playing a strong in-state rival.
There’s talk that UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart has been discussing a future series with Cincinnati, which would give Kentucky more exposure in talent-rich Ohio. If they think UC is going to be a pushover, they haven’t paying attention to the Bearcats’ program in recent years. For the sake of Cincinnati, stuck outside the Big Five conferences, I hope the series is finalized.
As for UofL, the time for the Cardinals needing to play Kentucky has long since passed. Entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference guarantees that UofL will have a respectable schedule every year on out, with teams like Florida State, Clemson and the occasional game against Notre Dame.
A UofL win over Kentucky has never meant much to the outside world. Having Wildcats on the docket does not enhance the Cardinals’ strength of schedule. A loss to the Wildcats in a rivalry game, where emotion often prevails, could be devastating, especially if the game is the last one in the season.
For some reason Tom Jurich still insists that he wants to keep playing Kentucky every season. Could it be that Tom takes some satisfaction in continuing the series in part because UK wants out of it? He knows the game will always be the game of the season for many Wildcat fans, the opponent they hate the most, the team they most would like to beat. That makes it difficult for Barnhart to escape the series gracefully.
I’ve personally never enjoyed sitting a couple seats away from UK fans on the same row at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium or, heaven forbid, having them seated in the row behind me. While we may have good relationships with them on other days, that all changes on game day. At best, relationships between serious UofL and UK fan are strained when it comes to sports.
If Kentucky doesn’t want to play Louisville, and UofL doesn’t need UK any more, let them go their way, and we’ll go ours.
He’s rolling out the welcome mat, inviting fans to attend as many practice sessions as they can stand during the first five days of fall camp, August 5 through 9th on the UofL practice fields. There will be two practices the first four days, with newcomers and some returnees practicing at 8:50 a.m. and the veterans taking the field at 4:20 p.m. One practice is set for the fifth day, a Saturday, at 3 p.m.
Fan Day is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 16, which will include a scrimmage kicking off at 9 a.m. and fan-player interaction activities at 3 p.m. The fan event has almost resembled a carnival in recent years with numerous rides and attractions for youngsters.
Tom Jurich couldn’t be there, he’s attending the ACC Kickoff gathering in Greensboro, N.C. But the latest Maker’s Mark label was unveiled in his honor Tuesday on the University of Louisville campus.
Not surprising that Jurich would be at an ACC meeting, having engineered UofL entry into that prestigious conference. Nor that he would not be on hand for the unveiling of a special product honoring him for everything his athletic program has accomplished since 1997.
As Rick Pitino said during the press conference, “Tom once told me, ‘It’s all about the University, it’s not about me.’”
The label is the fourth in a series designed to help raise fund for the UofL Academic of Excellence, a $14 million center that will be built adjacent to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Maker’s Mark bottles have generated $2.8 million toward the project.
Mark Jurich, who is in charge of fundraising for the academic facility project, said the University has raised a total of $8.2 million for the building and expects to reach the $14 million goal by the end of the year, presumably breaking ground in 2015.
The bottles. 8,500 of them, have a suggested retail price of $50 each, according to Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels, and will go on sale at local retail outlets this Friday.
A signing event will be held August 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center where 700 bottles will be signed. Tickets for the signing event will go on sale for $1 each on July 30, starting at 10 a.m. at http://tinyurl.com/pshteqv.
Your dog will always have a seat on the 50-yard line in this NCAA Stadium Pet Bed from Stadium Cribs. The stadium shell is made of heavily durable 100% polyester duck fabric for a long lasting comfortable pet bed experience. The bed is machine washable. Available in three sizes for pooch comfort — small, medium and large — for $59, $69 and $79, respectively.
The site also features a UofL football video and some of the program’s milestones. A real tail-wagger.
Backup quarterback Kyle Bolin injured a knee during the off-season and could take a while to fully recover, according to a Courier-Journal report.
Bolin’s status comes as a surprise, made public by Coach Bobby Petrino during the Atlantic Coast Conference meetings in Greensboro, N.C. He’s already had surgery, according to the coach, and his workouts have been limited this summer, meaning Bolin will have to work himself back into playing condition.
Petrino has indicated Will Gardner will be the likely starter so the battle for backup will intensify when fall practice begins during the first week of August.
The UofL roster lists five other quarterbacks. They include Reggie Bonnafon, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound freshman from Trinity, Brett Nelson, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound redshirt junior transfer from Southwestern Community College in California, Ethan Horton, a 6-foot, 205-pound redshirt freshman from Leslie County, Ky., Pat Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 201-pound junior transfer from Georgia Military, and Reggie Green, a 6-foot-1, 201-pound junior transfer, also from Georgia Military.
While Bonnafon would be the popular choice because of his local ties, Petrino isn’t about to declare anything just yet, saying that he hopes the Trinity product “competes for the job.”