Happy Game Day, everyone. This will be my first trip to the Pizza Palace in Louisville and I'm pretty excited to check out the place and take in what I am told should be a pretty raucous enviornment.
Of course, it won't take much to top the other road trip I took to Fresno. That has become the new bottom rung when people tell me about how terrible some stadium press boxes and facilities are.
The unmarked elevator I thought would either take me to press level or 1985 still haunts my dreams.
But, I hopefully will be in a much more cheerful mood than I was that night tonight when I open up the live chat at 7 p.m.
Tha'ts right, the LIVE CHAT will open at 7 p.m. tonight and run throughout the duration of the game. So, feel free to show up early with any questions, comments, suggestions, favorite Kragethorpe memories you would like to share. I will be there to give you live updates and any insight you are seeking.
And of course, you are more than welcome to come mix it up with me and other commenters as the game goes on.
Hope to see you there, just pop over to this blog and join in as you watch on ESPN2. Your announcers are Joe Tessitore (unfortunately without Teddy Atlas) and Rod Gilmore.
--- For those interested in national perception and NOT FOR GAMBLING PURPOSES, the Bearcats are three-point favorites tonight at Louisville.
Both opened the season with new coaching staffs and both teams find themselves in similar spots tonight, but with different feelings about their path to get there. The Cards overachieved in non-conference by competing against Kentucky and Oregon State, but running up some sluggish wins against Arkansas State and Eastern Kentucky before really putting it together last week against Memphis.
UC turned it on with the well-played loss to Oklahoma and dominance of MIami (Ohio). However, with so much higher expectations here, the road to the Big East was viewed differently among the base.
But, playing at top level, UC owns a talent advantage right now over U of L.
When asked if it was easier to take over a program coming off down years where everybody hated the coach, opposed to great years where everybody loved the coach (on the field, anyway), Jones wouldn't concede either way, but admitted there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
"It's a balancing act," he said. "The advantage of coming into a program that's won is players expect to win. They have that experience. But a lot of times when you look at a program that's won...it's what have the younger players done in your program? Sometimes it's they landed on third base without every getting up to bat and hitting a triple. They just think all this is easy, we just win and forget the hard work and all the effort that goes into it in practice.
"When sometimes you maybe go into a program that doesn't have a lot of expectations, you have a lot of players that are driven because they are hungry because they have never experienced it. They are going to maybe drink the Kool-Aid a little bit faster. Tell me what we need to do to win. I think you see that in Louisville. I think they're hungry."
If Louisville were to find a way to win, there will be a whole lot of Kool-Aid drunk on 6th St.
--- We haven't heard much from Ben Guidugli this season -- partially due to injury and partially due to the lacking offensive line early on -- but this would be a fantastic game to see him break out.
As Bill Koch pointed out in his blog, U of L is a special game for the Highlands product who wasn't offered by the Cards.
--- UC owns a 12-game conference winning streak, and Koch talks about what that means to the team, but they haven't been easy and the last time UC went to Louisville toward the beginning of the streak, it wasn't either.
The Bearcats won 28-20, but trailed in the second half, 20-14, in a heavy downpour before coming back to win. John Goebel scored a TD late to build the lead to eight and a stand on fourth-and-1 ended it. (That said, I would like to request Goebel for tonight's postgame)
Here's the highlights: