Uneasiness lurks as UofL-UK kickoff nears

Feeling it yet? The tenseness, the irritability, annoyance and antagonism that proceeds any University of Louisville game against the University of Kentucky.

For most major football programs, the athletic director schedules an easy opponent in the opening game, a breather that allows a coach to analyze all the new combinations and instill some confidence into his team. Work out some of the kinks, easing into the schedule. But UofL insists on playing UK first when the game is in Louisville.

Opening games are shaky to begin with, especially with mostly sophomores and juniors carrying the load. They will be pitted against a team with players psyched out of their collective minds, pumped up beyond recognition  and propelled by boatloads of extra adrenaline — primed for an all-out battle, acutely alert and intensely focused.

The joy of a new football season is almost overshadowed by the necessity of absolutely having to win against a mediocre football program.  UofL fans have endured much over the last five seasons getting to the point of being a ranked team and a two-touchdown favorite going into this game. Getting knocked off track by Kentucky would be beyond devastating.

But here we are again, opening against the hated arch rival, the team that wants to beat Louisville more than any other team on its schedule. The team with the fans who would be ecstatic, rejoicing for weeks and months about getting UofL off to a disastrous start, sending Cardinals’ fans back to their cars with chants of “SEC, SEC, SEC” ringing in their ears.

Any possibility of that happening, however remote, is enough to make any UofL football fan more than a little edgy as time for the opening kickoff nears. Forgive us if we seem to be a little preoccupied and somewhat irritable.

 

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Charlie Springer

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

7 thoughts on “Uneasiness lurks as UofL-UK kickoff nears

  • August 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm
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    Call me cocky, but this is the first year I haven’t felt uneasy at all about this game since 2006. Not buying into the hype. I just think back to the Belk Bowl. Although Louisville lost, toward the end of that game it felt like this team started blossoming. Making the transition from an upstart team with potential to a machine starting to oil the gears and break ground.

    I’m sure Kentucky will be hyped for this one, as the roles have reversed from the previous 4 years. They’ll be ready to play, no doubt. But, I think the talent on Louisville’s side will be the difference maker.

    Of course if we lose I’ll be eating crow. But, just not worried about it this year.

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:33 am
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      I sure hope your confidence is rewarded. Been through a few of these rivalry games over the years and hate the idea of even being exposed to the possibility of losing to Kentucky.

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:06 am
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    You have captured my feelings exactly.

    • September 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm
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      It is a burden we have to endure I guess. Thanks for the comment WestPointCard. Look forward to your views of other issues as well.

  • September 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm
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    I would disagree that Louisville is the team Kentucky football fans want to beat more than any other. This fan and more than a few others have that target on Tennessee. I’m sorry, but this Kentucky graduate doesn’t “hate” Louisville. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to win this game. It’s “rocky top” I want to hammer.

  • September 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm
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    I agree with you Charlie, and I feel the same. Anything can happen, as we saw last year against Marshall and FIU, and I will not be able to relax until the game is over. Kentucky has plenty of good athletes and, although we are favored, our ranking doesn’t mean anything until we prove on the field that we are the better team. Here’s hoping that Teddy & company come out with a STRONG showing tomorrow.

  • September 2, 2012 at 6:43 am
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    Strangely, I have a utter calmness and I’m full of positive confidence about today’s battle in Papa John’s. Gone are the days of Kragthorpe anxiety and I’ve “gotten on the train” and feel happy to be there. Let the other team worry. Louisville is back to Petrino days strength and Charlie will get it done.

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