Looking to the past to better predict Saturday's game:
1997--First year head coach Hal Mumme brings "Air Raid" offense to Lexington
Previous offensive regime (1996)--Crappy, because Bill Curry ran the triple option with Tim freakin Couch
First game (back to 1997)--UK defeats Louisville 38-24
How good was UK's QB?--Tim Couch, future NFL # 1 draft pick
How good was UL's defense--That team would finish 1-10 that year, and fire Ron Cooper, so I'm going to go with "not very good"
2013--Offensive coordinator Neal Brown brings "Air Raid" offense back to Lexington
Previous offensive regime (2012)--Crappy, due to QB injuries, poor motivation, and youth (alongside giving up on the season)
How good are UK's QB's?--Not Tim Couch
How good will WKU's defense be?--A weak D-Line, but a stout back 7 including potential league players of the year. I would guess at least a notch above that UL defense in 1997, if not 2 or 3 notches above. This WKU defense was tops in their league last year.
If UK scored 38 in game one of Air Raid with Tim Couch and a poor Louisville defense, can we expect this UK team to put up 38? My head says no, and puts it more like 30ish, tops. Pretty much like last year.
2003--First year head coach Bobby Dickwango brings his uptempo offense to Louisville. Inherits winning program (John L Smith), not-so-proven-who-is-this-guy QB (Stefon LeFors), and damn fine runningbacks (Eric Shelton, Michael Bush).
First game--Louisville beats Kentucky 40-24.
How good was UL's QB--Meh...Stefon Lefors.
How good was UK's defense?--Need to point out that Petrino went up against first year, defensive minded head coach Rich Brooks in 2003, and he won 40-24. Petrino will again be a first year head coach going up against a defensive minded first year coach in Mark Stoops. Is this Kentucky defense better than the 2003 defense? I think it's safe to presume it is experienced (aside from secondary) and pretty talented, so give 2013 Cats a few notches above 2003 (those were probation Cats, pretty thin roster).
Petrino finds himself inheriting a similar offensive lineup (Meh QB, for now, and very good RB) but it would also seem asking his team to put up 40 against a better defensive lineup than 2003 Kentucky fielded, is too much. So about 30 for WKU? Is that giving them too much? Can this UK D hold WKU to 20? Is that fair to expect?
To me this smells more and more like a close one. The Vegas boys aren't dumb...usually.
I'm rambling, but just itching to talk football, but I'll leave by saying that I hope UK's offensive game plan is not to get too caught up in the Air Raid passing game, and spend a little more time taking Sanders, George and JoJo Kemp and pounding the ground on that questionable WKU D-Line. Let's keep it real boys and beat them where they're weak.
Formerly known as JokerCouch