Too many unknowns to make an intelligent pick for the Louisville-Kentucky football game on Sunday. Not that this observer would make a pick; too big a fan to be objective and don’t make predictions when the Cards are involved. The upcoming game is no exception. Here are some things to ponder as kickoff time  nears:
dd After two consecutive winning seasons, although only 7-5 in each and two Holiday Bowl wins, the Cats may be full of themselves, patting themselves on their collective back, over confident despite being an inexplicable underdog.
dd Returns 24 experienced players on defense. They’ve been around. over and through the blocks a few times against some great teams.
dd Wesley Woodyard, the player who anchored the UK defense for what seemed like seven years, is gone, finally. He was the heart and soul, the brute behind the defense.
dd Sophomore QB Mike Hartline has played briefly in four games, completing four of six pass attempts for 67 yards. Unknown, untested and under exposed to game action.
dd Four elusive running backs in Tony Dixon, Derrick Locke, Alfonso Smith and Moncell Allen. Speed, elusive, proven.
dd Dicky Lyons, Jr. is the household name at UK like Brohm and Nord at UofL; there always seems to be one around and they’re good at what they do.
dd Rich Brooks, the coach, has been around long enough to know how to take advantage of inexperienced defensive teams. Behind that Botox facade is a steel trap of a brain.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 Returns a total of seven starters on offense and defense. The newbies could be in for more than a few surprises. The jucos need to raise the much-needed level of respect for juco transfers.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 QB Hunter Cantwell has the arm, the grit and the ability to take a beating but whether he has the receivers is the gut-wrenching question.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 Four gifted running backs in Bilal Powell, Brock Bolen, Victor Anderson and Darius Ashley. Unproven. They had better be exceptional with so much inexperience around them.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 Kickoffs should be less tense with candidates Tim Dougherty and Chris Philpott who have booted more than 90% of their kicks in the end zone up to now.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 A “coach on the field” in center Eric Wood, who provides the leadership one usually expects from a quarterback. Calming influence, leads by example, inspiring his fellow offensive lineman.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 James Bryant, the transfer from Miami, as a reserve linebacker, a huge 6-foot-3, 235-pounder who needs defensive coordinator Ron English to be a master motivator to be a threat to opposing offenses. If that ever happens …
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 Jeff Brohm, an offensive coordinator eager to prove himself and absolutely abhors anything remotely representing Kentucky.
ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 Steve Kragthorpe, the coach, will advance from a blank stare to a genius if he wins this game.

ul-cardinal-head-logo2-thumb1 The game will be ugly, no matter who wins.

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Pre-Game Action – Don’t forget the Kickoff Bash sponsored by the Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) today at 5 p.m. at Theatre Square (Fourth & Broadway). Card Game will be there, along with Hell In The Hall, DitchBall, and Cardinal Empire blog/web sites and, of course, the UofL Cheerleaders. Card Game will be giving away an NCAA football to some lucky fan. Hope to see you there!

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

2 thoughts on “Bluegrass Boil”
  1. With the first loss to yUK last year in what, 4 games? I find it hard to accept that their program is on the same level as U of L’s. They have been to a couple of pitiful bowls and yes, we stayed home last year (I would rather stay home than go to a pitiful bowl….) however, the U of L program has way outperformed the yUK program to date with the exception of last year and then all we had to do was hold onto the ball for….28 seconds !!! Give them credit that they took advantage of our poor performance, new coach, yadda yadda, yadda and eked out the win. A win is a win is a win. I am not foolish enough to say that I am predicting U of L will win tomorrow because our coach is still unproven at U of L. I am saying that our past 10+ years are far above anything yUK was able to attain in terms of wins, caliber of bowls, national rankings, etc. etc. I have faith in TJ and know that we WILL be back – if for some reason, K isn’t the guy – TJ will fix it.

  2. Sounds like tossup to me, with UK holding a slight edge — at least that’s all I hope they hold.

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