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Cats and Cards Kick Off The Hype

SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. (AP) - This year's Governor's Cup between
Louisville and Kentucky won't open the season - it's been pushed
back to the third game - but it hasn't lost any shine.
That's what the coaches say anyway.
Steve Kragthorpe, in his first year at Louisville's helm, has
been a fan of the annual game for 10 years, he said before a
charity golf tournament Thursday.
Kragthorpe compared it to better known college football feuds
like Texas-Texas A&M and Oregon-Oregon State, though nationally,
the Cardinals' big state rivalry is still a "well-kept secret, but
I think it's becoming more and more known to everyone."
Kentucky, playing host in this year's installment to be played
Sept. 15, bucked tradition, moving the game to the third of the
season from its customary first-game spot.
The move cost the game some viewers on the national scene. It
will be broadcast on ESPN Classic, which reaches about 65 million
homes. Louisville's WHAS and Lexington's WKYT will also show the
game live.
As the first game of the season, the Cardinals and Wildcats were
often the only game on or one of a few. ESPN, which reaches around
90 million homes, or ESPN2 carried the broadcast the past five
years.
Doesn't matter, Brooks said. He'll take a possible 60
million-plus viewers.
"It doesn't make any difference if it's first, third, fifth,
eighth, 12th in your schedule, it doesn't lose importance," he
said. "And I understand how important this game is in this
state."
The Cardinals are on a four-game win streak against the
Wildcats, but Brooks thinks he'll have some advantages this time.
He'll have Louisville's first two games of the season to review,
rather than guessing based on last season's action. Then again,
Kragthorpe will have examined the Wildcats' first two games too.
Brooks also believes the talent gap between the two teams has
shrunk.
"There's no question in my mind that we have better talent now
than we did when we played Louisville two years ago, or three years
ago, or four years ago," he said. "It's night and day."
Kentucky returns preseason All-SEC first-teamers AndrDe Woodson
at quarterback and Jacob Tamme at tight end. Wide receiver Keenan
Burton and running back Rafael Little also received preseason
honors in the conference and have had big games against Louisville
in the past.
Brooks is happy to have to worry about spreading the ball
around.
"That's a good problem," he said, "and I'm finally glad I
have it."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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