With the recent schedule change of the Governorâ€™s Cup to the end of the 2014 football season, all eyes are on the Cards and Cats as we revel one last time in the early-season kick-off on Sept. 14.
But whatâ€™s a longstanding rivalry without accompanying rival radio talk shows? Tony Vanetti (of Afternoon Underdogs on Talk 790 WKRD) and Matt Jones (of Kentucky Sports Radio on Talk 1080 WKSR) take time away from their on-air antics to let us have a moment.
Donâ€™t be fooled, the two hostsâ€™ witty banter and flame throwing isnâ€™t a side show to their knowledge of sports, it simply helps highlight their ability to appeal to their eclectic fan bases.
Our inaugural topic for â€œVerbal Scrimmageâ€ is the new date for the Governorâ€™s Cup.
Let the games begin.
MATT JONES: I think itâ€™s great for the rivalry. Honestly, there are only two times in football where people care about rivalry games – the first and the last game. And as it has developed over the years the biggest rivalries are all on the last game; Auburn – Alabama; Ohio State â€“ Michigan; Clemson – South Carolina. If Kentucky and Louisville hopes to be that, then it needs to be the last game as well. I think it will be good for both programs – especially if both are having a bad year – it helps them to finish with a bang if they can win their last game. Bottom line â€“ I think itâ€™s good.
TONY VANETTI: It is a good thing and the more you look into it the better it looks. Before Mitch Barnhart and Kentucky can cancel the game this really kind of solidifies it for the next couple of years. It doesnâ€™t guarantee that theyâ€™re going to play the game but – it certainly looked like in the next few years the SEC was going to go to 9 games, which could have killed it. At least this gives a new look and certainly I think itâ€™s great for everybody.
JONES: I agree with that. Also fans like it because itâ€™s Tom Jurich not getting what he wants which, I think, makes it a bigger win as well. Iâ€™ve heard a lot of Kentucky fans say, â€œAs long as Tom Jurich doesnâ€™t want it – we want it.â€ Eventually when Louisville gets in the ACC and is playing that schedule, it will be a good way to finish the year. And also, in the first game of the season – and weâ€™ve seen this over the years – it can be flukey who wins that game. Oftentimes the better team has not won. At the end of the year it will be a truer test of the two teams – the better team will usually win by the end of the season.
VANETTI: The only thing that canâ€™t be certain, unless the basketball game and the football game are so close together that somehow people check out of the interest. I donâ€™t know if thatâ€™s more of a UK issue than it is a Louisville issue, but I think obviously the rivalry matchup still will garner a lot of attention, but when basketball season starts â€“ Matt – you know as well as anybody that when roundball starts a lot of times thatâ€™s it for a good portion of the fan base.
JONES: Well thatâ€™s true and a good point, except theyâ€™ll care about this game. The key thing is that this is the one game at the end of the year you can play that both teamâ€™s fans will care. Kentucky can be 2 and 9 and will still want to beat Louisville. Louisville can be 2 and 9 and still want to beat Kentucky. So, I donâ€™t think that you have to worry about that. I think itâ€™s the right decision. Now, the bigger issue is about whether or not the teams will play the game is still not decided, but for now I think itâ€™s solid. I like it being the final game and I almost wish it was like that this year. I think weâ€™d have a better shot at the end of this week than theyâ€™re going to have in a few weeks.
VANETTI: It could really mean so much more at the end. With Mattâ€™s point that Louisville is now going to the ACC and their player attrition will be so much different itâ€™s anyoneâ€™s game. At the end of the year Kentucky is always so beaten up because theyâ€™ve gone through this SEC schedule and now Louisville is going to have to do the same when they go through the ACC and play teams like Miami, Florida State and Clemson and not Cincinnati and Connecticut. Now youâ€™ve got players that are a little more dinged up – everybodyâ€™s a little dinged up by game three – thatâ€™s just the reality of college football. With the scheduling change of the Governorâ€™s Cup now youâ€™re looking at the end of the season where both these teams – if they keep going in the direction theyâ€™re going – and if Stoops is the Charlie Strong letâ€™s say of Kentucky and turns them around quickly – youâ€™re possibly facing both teams looking for bowl eligibility on the same weekend.Â If it all comes together in that one weekend where both teams need that win – then even basketball could take a backseat at that point.
JONES: The other thing is it can give you positive momentum. A Kentucky team that wins three or four games will have a better off season. I think itâ€™s great. This year they could have used it but starting next year I think it will be good.
VANETTI: Itâ€™s just another step for the progression of Louisville winning another national title in football and adding to basketball.
Tune into KSR with Matt Jones on Talk 1080 from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Tune into the Afternoon Underdogs with Tony Vanetti on Talk 790 from 3:00 to 5.30 p.m. Monday through Friday.