With the season-opener against rival Kentucky just days away, many of the national experts are starting to make their lofty predictions on the game. Earlier this week, the guys at collegefootballnews.com chimned in with their 'Fearless Prediction'.
Despite giving Bobby Petrino's Cardinal squad a surprisingly low preseason ranking of 28th, collegefootballnews.com clearly realizes what those within state borders have known for quite some time.
"Louisville has made this a one-sided rivalry, winning five of the last six in the series, and all but one by more than two touchdowns," they wrote. "On the college football pecking order, the Cards have soared past the ‘Cats like Secretariat at Belmont."
While the current spread has the visiting Cardinals a 22-point favorite, the website projects 12th-ranked Louisville to claim a dominating 52-17 victory.
Yes, it is true, the University of Kentucky does own a 10-7 advantage in the series. However, since the series was renewed in 1994, it is the University of Louisville that holds the advantage. Winners of five of the last six meetings, including three straight in Lexington, the Cardinals now hold a 7-4 edge in the modern day series.
Louisville has outscored Kentucky 340 to 268 since 1994. The Cardinals have averaged 31.6 points in the seven previous contests held at Commonwealth Stadium, while the host Wildcats have averaged 20.6 points.
Take A Knee Or Not?
After listening to the fans in blue complaining for an entire year about the late touchdown in 2003, U of L head coach Bobby Petrino entered the 2004 game with a very conservative gameplan. The Cardinals kept the ball on the ground for the majority of the game, utilizing the running game on 61% of their offensive plays. Playing from behind the entire game, UK went to the air on 57% of it's offensive plays. Following the game and in response to a question regarding the decision to take a knee at the goal line as time expired, Petrino simply said, "I just thought I'd give Kentucky what they wanted!"
2005 Team Captains
In a team vote, the Cardinals selected six captains to represent them during the 2005 campaign. Seniors Travis Leffew, Jason Spitz and Joshua Tinch were selected by the offense, while the defense chose Montavious Stanley, Brandon Johnson and Elvis Dumervil.
Should the Petrino's 'Derby City Offense' repeat as the best in the nation this season, it will join a very short list of school's that have accomplished that feat in consecutive years. Oklahoma (55-56), Tulsa (64-65), Houston (66-68, 89-90), Arizona State (72-73), Brigham Young (79-80, 83-85) and Nevada (95-96).
U of L head coach Bobby Petrino is 6-0 during the month of September. With a career record of 20-5 through two seasons, the former Cardinal offensive coordinator recorded the best two-year start in school history.
When senior Travis Leffew opens the Kentucky game at offensive tackle he will be making his 39 straight start. His current streak of 38 set a new school mark, surpassing Houston Texan quarterback Dave Ragone's string of 37 straight.
Placekicker Art Carmody established a new record last fall as well. His current run of 77 consecutive extra points set a new NCAA record, better the previous mark of 71. The sophomore already holds five school records.
In just two seasons and part-time duty, junior running back Michael Bush has already surpassed the 1,000 career rushing yards, becoming just the 23rd player in school history to do so.
Played Well Last Year
Don't forget, sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm saw his first collegiate action last fall when he entered the Kentucky game late in the first quarter. As a true freshman, Brohm directed a 69-yard touchdown scoring drive, completing 4-of-5 pass attempts. He also rushed for seven yards and a first down when head coach Bobby Petrino chose to go for it on fourth-and-3 at the UK 26 yard line.
Preseason Watch Lists
The following Cardinals have been named to preseason watch lists for the annual award indicated.
QB Brian Brohm - Maxwell & Davey O'Brien Awards
LB Abe Brown - Butkus Award
RB Michael Bush - Maxwell Award
PK Art Carmody - Lou Groza Award
LB Brandon Johnson - Butkus Award
OT Travis Leffew - Outland & Rotary Lombardi Awards
C Jason Spitz - Rimington Award
Last time in Lexington...
Senior receiver Broderick Clark tied a career-high with six receptions for 94 yards, including an important 3rd-and-10, over-the-shoulder, sideline catch that would propel the Cardinals to their first score of the game.
Junior cornerback Gavin Smart recorded an interception and returned it 41-yards to set up another Cardinals touchdown.
The Governor's Cup - the trophy awarded to the annual winner of the Battle for the Bluegrass - cost $23,000 to make and was donated by the Kroger Company. The Cup stands 33 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds.