Let us count the reasons for the Cardinals: They are favored to win the championship of the Big East Conference and any victory over any team from the mighty Southeastern Conference would be a tremendous leap forward for Charlie Strong’s Cardinals.
UofL will be favored and could run the table with an impressive victory over their in-state rival.
The game could be even more important for the Wildcats and especially for their embattled coach, Joker Phillips, whose job could be on the line. For the first time, the section reserved for UK fans at Papa John’s could be more Red than Blue. That’s because UK fans chose not to buy about half of the tickets allotted to the visitors.
The unclaimed tickets were happily gobbled up by Cardinal fans.
Adding to Joker’s perilous position is the unusual way that he was chosen to be moved up from an assistant’s position, despite the urging of UK booster Seth Hancock of the Claiborne Farm Hancocks. The Thoroughbred breeder had become close to Charlie Strong in Florida and recommended him strongly for the UK head coaching job.
If Joker can guide the Wildcats over the Cardinals, fine and dandy. If not, and especially if he doesn’t use freshman quarterback sensation Patrick Towles, it could be goodbye, Joker. Maxwell Smith will start as quarterback for the Cats.
UofL is armed and ready to fire because of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and his favorite target, high leaping DeVante Parker.
In the meantime, it’s just a few more days.
And if the Cardinals can win, they could move up a notch or two into the Top 25 in the nation. Strong’s team was ranked 27th in USA Today’s first college poll of coaches.
Robinson No. 1
Earl Browning roused me early one Sunday morning to hear Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson speak to about 100 college and high school football coaches at Browning’s NIKE coaching clinic in Louisville.
I can’t say that the coaches were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed but they were paying attention! Little did they know that now the much-respected coach of a black university in Louisiana would be the winningest coach of all in Division I.
Yes, it took the disgraceful Penn State situation to erase 111 of Joe Paterno’s wins at Penn State and he is now seventh, just two more than Eastern Kentucky’s Roy Kidd.
Here are the leaders:
408: Robinson, Grambling.
377: Bobby Bowden, Samford, West Virginia, Florida State
323: Bear Bryant, Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Alabama
319: Pop Warner, Georgia, Cornell, Carlisle, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Temple.
314: Roy Kidd, EKU.
300: Tubby Raymond, Delaware.
298: Joe Paterno, Penn State.
257: LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young.
255: Tom Osborne, Nebraska.
251: Frank Beamer, Murray State, Virginia Tech.
Kidd has to have some satisfaction for being ahead of Raymond. Let’s just say that Kidd, a Corbin native, didn’t think much of Raymond when their teams clashed in the playoffs.
And another Ohio Valley Conference product, Beamer, got his start at Murray, giving the OVC two coaches among the leaders.