By ASHLEY SCOBY
By now, you’ve probably heard about some of the events that have escalated the UK-U of L sports rivalry. Not the basketball one, contrary to popular belief, but the football one.
Obviously, with the Final Four match-up between the Cats and the Cards, the bad blood circulating in the commonwealth has been at an all-time high. But the excitement about the two teams’ clash on the football field in the fall has been lackluster, as usual. Sure…when football season starts, everyone will generally care about the game, but not so much during the dreary summer months. In Alabama, maybe, but not in Kentucky.
This season, however, is shaping up to be different already. A couple weeks ago, it was reported that UK logos were now in the bottom of the urinals at the Louisville football facilities. A few UK footballers didn’t take kindly to this and tweeted about how disrespectful it was.
Then we find out that there is a #WeAreUK football billboard right above an administration building on U of L’s campus. Now, Louisville fans are attempting to get their own billboard in Lexington. Big Time Yurts is selling bumper stickers in the hopes of raising enough money to place a “Lexington Is For The Birds” billboard on I-64 right outside of Lexington.
So is all this bad blood between the schools a good thing for the football game this fall? Is it good for the rivalry? On one hand, it makes the players even more angry at each other than usual, which could always lead to on-field problems. Also, it makes the fans dislike each other even more passionately than they already do.
But on the other hand, the bashing, trash talk and billboards makes everyone that much more excited about the football rivalry. While the match-up in the Final Four increased that excitement about basketball, it didn’t mean much for football.
Although Louisville is predicted to be a much-improved team this year, neither they nor UK are exactly national championship-caliber football teams. That makes it hard for fans to get truly amped up about what happens with the pigskin, unless there is something else at stake. Something else such as pride, which is what all of this trash talking has put into jeopardy for both teams. Kentucky has to maintain their pride by winning the game, even if Louisville football players see the Cats’ logo every time they look down into a urinal. The opposite is true for Louisville – they see a UK billboard every single day on their campus, so winning back their pride is important to them too.
So in the end, does all of this preseason hostility help or hurt the rivalry? And what about Kentucky’s chances in the actual game a couple months from now? Will the Cats let their emotions be too involved in the game against the Cards?
I guess we’ll see in September.