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Trash talk, billboards only add to Kentucky-Louisville football rivalry

Ashley Scoby

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.

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  1. Bill

    Many of the players know each other and some are friends. I expect both teams to play hard but it isn’t the players that concern me. There may be some trash talking on the field but that is part of it. The fans are another question altogether. I just hope the fans can show the same kind of sportsmanship that the players have over the past few years. I’ve seen the pic of the UK logo at the bottom of a urinal. I have no idea where the pic was taken. It wouldn’t surprised me if it was a fan though. I can’t imagine either coach wanting to give the other team something to tape to the locker room wall.

    1. larryvaught

      Can’t imagine Charlie Strong condoning that either

    2. TrueBlueJohn

      There is a pic of the Louisville Cardinal logo in a commode making the rounds also.

  2. Wendy

    Don’t worry, Cat Fans…..the U of L football team will not hit the UK logo in the urinal because they all pee sitting down…GO CATS, GO BIG BLUE!!!

    1. John

      Great comment Wendy!

      1. larryvaught

        Love it when UK-Louisville is first game. Gets the football talk going a lot earlier

  3. Dr. Mark Stephens

    it’s always some and I think a few that carry the rival thing a tag far. But as long as it doesn’t get personal and is in good taste I think it’s fun!

  4. big tim

    i think its great for the rivalry and i think ky got a good shot at beating them got alot of playmaker who didnt play or was injured last season. only thing im worried about is the o line staying healthy

  5. messenger

    I completely understand why people living in the I-64 corridor consider this a “rivalry”. However, most of this bad blood is actually coming from UL fans who have nothing better to do. Before discounting this point, consider the actual facts. UL hasn’t defeated UK in basketball since January 4, 2009. That means UK has won four out of the last five basketball games played between the two schools. Although UL was a Final Four team last year, the Cats took Pitino’s team apart twice. Even though UL purportedly has one of the best teams in the nation returning next season, there is serious doubt in the industry whether the Cards will be able to handle the Cats next December at the Yum Center (assuming it isn’t bankrupt by then).

    Meanwhile, UK has also beaten UL in four of the last five football games played between the two schools. If not for one poor defensive series by the Cats in the fourth quarter last September 17, the Cats might very well be working on a streak of five straight victories now.

    In truth, taken as a whole, this is getting close to domination of one school by the other. And even though a corner of the fan base likes to pretend UL has surpassed UK on the football field, that isn’t what the actual facts of the last five years tell us. I recently spoke with a UK official who told me that “we have been kicking the crap out of those guys for years now”. Within UK’s Athletics Department, there is recognition (correctly so) that the overall athletic relationship between the two schools is lopsided. Yes, UL recently beat UK in baseball. Yes, UK’s football team laid an egg in the fourth quarter last September. But in the overall picture, this UK official is basically right.

    If you ask John Calipari, these games are played to prepare UK’s teams for conference play. I agree with him. UK’s football and basketball teams must visit Louisville next season. Yes, a few UK fans who are scared of Charlie Strong are already conceding next September’s football game. But UL’s returning team is very green, so it is entirely possible that UK may win the football game next September. It’s entirely possible that Calipari’s basketball team, with three freshmen and two sophs in the starting lineup, could lose in six months at the Yum Center. We will see.

    In any case, let’s not kid ourselves or anyone else. Over the last decade, the interest of the national media in UK-UL games has decreased. In the big picture, UK is now in the driver’s seat when it comes time to negotiate new contracts with UL, because UK wins the overwhelming majority of these encounters. And while, no doubt, UL fans are still obsessed with “bad blood” in this “rivalry”, OTOH most UK fans really do have better things to do.

  6. Jim

    The state of Kentucky has some very coveted recruits, this season. UK has one commit. UL has two or maybe three and Notre Dame has one. There is still two that are undecided, who are big impact players. The UK/UL game is huge not only in momentum going into the season, but also in pulling in the very few top level recruits that the state has. Beating UL in their stadium would help tremendously in getting the Louisville high school players to come to Kentucky. Winning four out of five of the last games is not what recruits remember. Who won the last game? UK needs the win over UL, this year.

    By the way, I am very glad that UL has put UK’s logo in their urinals. Anything that will motivate the players in Blue is a good thing in my opinion.

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