- Pivotal for both teams: For U of L, an indication of whether Louisville is on the way back from obscurity, a wasted three seasons under former coach Steve Kragthorpe. For Cincinnati, whether the program continues to have the superior program as under previous coach Brian Kelly.
- Both programs have had their ups and downs over the years, sometimes struggling for program survival. They compete with nearby universities for the best talent in their states, relying heavily on outstanding talent in their communities and what they can steal from other states.
- Usually coached by individuals who are seeking to advance their career paths, using the program to prove themselves. The fans always hoping men like Charlie Strong and Butch Jones will have success, appreciate what the current job provides, and use the opportunity to turn their current program into perennial power houses.
- They compete fiercely with other state universities for media attention within their own communities, the scribes and broadcast analysts often disrespecting the local markets for larger statewide audiences.
- Beyond the core base, fan loyalty is fickle at best, largely depending on how the teams have performed lately. Many arrive late, wander about during games, and leave early. Their teams have rarely enjoyed prolonged success, so, rightly or wrongly, the interest of many fans rise and fall in the direction of the program’s recent fortunes.
Forward or backward? Much more than a Keg of Nails is at stake.