BOZICH | Who needs Credibility Bowl more: Kentucky or Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Which football team needs a win more Saturday in the Governor's Cup?

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BOZICH | Who needs Credibility Bowl more: Kentucky or Louisville?

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Both Louisville and Kentucky need wins Saturday for different reasons. Both Louisville and Kentucky need wins Saturday for different reasons.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — I don’t care that Kentucky has failed to handle Louisville in football since Charlie Strong was parked in Aisle One,  cleaning up after Steve Kragthorpe.

The No. 11 Cardinals, not the Wildcats, must win this Credibility Bowl at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Saturday to convince the world (and themselves) they are absolutely Orange Bowl worthy.

Did you notice how many points Memphis put on Houston Friday? Sure you did.

An average of 12 per quarter, while becoming the third American Athletic Conference team to dispatch the mighty Cougars and their genius coach, 48-44.

The Cards need to win so when people think about the number 10 they’re talking about U of L’s season victory total not how many points they scrambled to score against Houston.

You bet it’s a Credibility Bowl for the Cards. They need to show they’re the team they appeared to be in September. To finish 9-3 would feel like finishing 3-9.

Wrong.

The heat is all on Kentucky. Every inch of it.

The Wildcats have not won this rivalry game since people were suggesting Joker Phillips was an offensive guru who was a stronger hire than Strong. (Try 2010.)

Sure, UK finally celebrated its sixth victory last weekend against Austin Peay. But lose to the Cardinals and lose again in December and another losing season is Sharpied into the books.

Kentucky has built surprising early leads against Louisville the last two seasons. It’s time to change the narrative and for coach Mark Stoops to do something he’s failed to do one, two, three times:

Beat the program that has become the measuring stick program in this state, the program that is expanding its stadium, the program selling ACC football.

It’s a Credibility Bowl for the Wildcats. Sure, they’ve won six games. They’ve beaten one team — South Carolina — with a (barely) winning record.

Back to Louisville, now 9-2.

The Cardinals can exhale. It certainly appears their shocking belch in Houston did not cost them a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff. 

Not with Washington delivering a punishing 45-17 victory at Washington State Friday. The Cards were not going to make it past the Huskies or Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson if they won at Houston and against Kentucky.

But they need to win this game for another reason: 

To reassure their fans and convince skeptics that this is the same group that treated Florida State as harshly as they treated North Carolina State and Boston College.

They didn’t look like that team for most of their visit to Virginia. They didn’t look that way for the first 45 minutes against Wake Forest.

I thought I’d said enough about that bizarre performance at Houston until I saw what Memphis did to Tom Herman University Friday, ringing up 21 points in the first quarter before finishing with 588 yards of offense.

It’s time for the Louisville offensive line to put away the 2015 playbook. It’s time to stop fumbling the game’s first possession. It’s time to start taking the football away from the other team more times than the other team takes it away from them.

Louisville can’t finish the season ranked in the top four any more. It can finish ranked in the Top 10, but not if the Cardinals lose to Kentucky.

Saturday’s point spread — Cards by 26 1/2 — screams that the betting public believes this game will be as one-sided as Lamar Jackson racing a defensive lineman.

Hmm. That's a lot of points. Alabama beat Kentucky by 28. Nobody has beaten Mark Stoops’ team by more than 13 since Oct. 1.

Will Louisville actually deliver a win by nearly four touchdowns?

The Cards are 3-0 against Stoops, but have not beaten one of his teams by more than 14. This is Stoops’ best team, one that can run the football, control the clock and establish the tempo.

Will thumping a 6-5 Kentucky team really translate to motivational points to a Louisville team that no longer has a playoff pulse? 

Will a team that starts three Kentucky guys (receivers James Quick and Reggie Bonnafon, plus center Tobijah Hughley) get worked up about beating a team the Cardinals have beaten five straight times?

I don’t know.

I think Louisville wins because the Cardinals have Jackson, more offensive weapons, a defense that will force the Wildcats to throw the football and the home crowd.

But by 26 1/2? 

I don’t know. 

Depends upon which team you believe needs a stronger performance Saturday in This Credibility Bowl — Louisville or Kentucky?

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