Sports

Mark Story: Numbers show Governor's Cup not clear cut

Louisville's Charlie Strong, left, and UK's Joker Phillips, who are both preparing for their first seasons as head coaches, posed with the Governor's Cup trophy in Louisville in late July.
Louisville's Charlie Strong, left, and UK's Joker Phillips, who are both preparing for their first seasons as head coaches, posed with the Governor's Cup trophy in Louisville in late July.

Fast-break points from the Governor's Cup countdown:

21. Joker Phillips. As a college assistant, the new Wildcats head coach was a part of teams that went 5-7 against Louisville (1-2 under Bill Curry at Kentucky; 1-1 at Cincinnati under Rick Minter; 3-4 under Rich Brooks at Kentucky).

20. Charlie Strong. As a long-time SEC assistant, the new Louisville head coach was a part of teams that went 17-1 against Kentucky (14-0 in three different stints at Florida; 1-0 at Mississippi; 2-1 at South Carolina).

19. UK head coaches in their first game vs. U of L: In the modern history of the Governor's Cup, Kentucky coaches are 2-2 in their first meeting against Louisville (Bill Curry and Hal Mumme won their initial contests; Guy Morriss and Rich Brooks didn't).

18. U of L head coaches in first game vs. UK: In the modern history of the Governor's Cup, Louisville coaches in their first meeting against Kentucky are 2-3 (Ron Cooper and Bobby Petrino won; Howard Schnellenberger, John L. Smith and Steve Kragthorpe didn't).

17. Kentucky player I'm most curious to see Sept. 4: Donte Rumph, the freshman defensive tackle from South Carolina who fought for two long years to get academically eligible.

16. Louisville player I'm most curious to see Sept. 4: If he gains eligibility, its Demar Dorsey, the highly-touted freshman defensive back from Florida who was denied admission to Michigan after signing with the Wolverines.

15. Biggest Kentucky question mark: Defensive line, especially the interior.

14. Biggest Louisville question mark: Defensive line, especially the interior.

13. UK will be the favorite Sept. 4: But does that really matter? In the modern Governor's Cup, favorites are 9-7 straight up.

12. U of L has the home field: But does that really matter? In the modern Governor's Cup, home teams are 7-9.

11. "The Stadium Curse:" U of L will unveil the expanded Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 4. Yet history says that will be bad for the home team.

10. Teams are 0-2 in "stadium games." In 1998, when the Pizza Pit opened, Tim Couch & Co. put a 68-34 smackdown on Louisville. The next year, Kentucky debuted an expanded Commonwealth Stadium and Chris Redman and U of L returned the favor with a 56-28 pasting of the Cats.

9. Mike Hartline. If Kentucky's oft-maligned senior quarterback wins the starting job and leads the Cats past the Cards, he can enter Governor's Cup history: He would become the first QB in the modern history of the rivalry with three wins as a starter.

8. Governor's Cup QB quiz. Can you name the four quarterbacks in the modern history of the UK-Louisville rivalry who are undefeated as starters? Kentucky's Tim Couch and Mike Hartline are both 2-0; Louisville's Stefan Lefors went 2-0 and Jason Payne 1-0.

7. Lamar Dawson. The Boyle County High School star linebacker is coveted by both Joker Phillips and Charlie Strong and figures to be rather interested in the outcome of the first head-to-head meeting between the head coaches.

6. Why Kentucky will win (part I): The Cats have more depth and the advantage of the extra practice that comes from four straight bowl trips. In the second half of a close game, both will be decisive.

5. Why Louisville will win (part I): Coming achingly close to an upset last season in Lexington as a 131/2-point underdog will give the Cards belief that they can turn the tables on the Cats in 2010.

4. Why Kentucky will win (part II): Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke will be the two best players in the game. Remember, in last season's matchup, Locke had a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown and Cobb's fourth-quarter heroics bailed UK out.

3. Why Louisville will win (part II): A veteran offensive line, good running backs, a mobile quarterback (assuming Adam Froman wins the job) and a new spread offense (historically kryptonite to the UK defense) means the Cards can control the game running the ball.

2. The game's winner: Is apt to be the team with the best ground attack. In the Kentucky-Louisville series, the team that has rushed for the most yardage has won the past 10 games.

1. My guess: Kentucky 34, Louisville 26.

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