I'll start this off with the easiest prediction: at some point on Saturday, Scott Long will be overthrown and thisclosejustbarelyalmost catch it. Also, I will be strangely nervous and hopeful from about 11 AM until about 5 minutes into the game, at which point I will either turn into the 2006 game watching CardsFan922 (every play matters!) or the 2007-2008 game watching CardsFan922 (gallows humor and self-protecting indifference). I know that much is true.
On an intellectual level, I don't see how we can pull this one out. UK's defense, while not as good as last year, is still the better of their two units. Their defensive line is solid and our offensive line wasn't exactly blowing ISU's doors off last week to open holes for Vic and Powell. Burke made some nice passes in the 2nd half, but if he was a little too hyped up to hit wide-open guys in the first quarter at home against a high school team, something tells me starting on the road, in his hometown, on national television....let's just say the kid has a right to be nervous. And who will stop Randall Cobb and/or Chris Matthews?
There's not much I have to say about this game that Mike won't cover or hasn't covered all week. For us to win, the following things have to happen:
1) Vic Anderson rushes for more than 85 yards and Vic/Powell/Ashley combine for at least 100 yards total.
2) We have a +3 or better turnover margin, including a TAINT or other defensive / special teams points.
3) We have a +3 or sack margin.
4) Somehow stop Cobb and Matthews from going off - combination of defensive pressure + the dozens of new players in the secondary holding their own + stopping the run game with just the D-line + pressure on Hartline (see above).
Of the four, I think stopping Cobb and Matthews will be the hardest, if not most impossible, task. I think we'll score an offensive touchdown in this year's game (I just threw up in my mouth) and I think Burke/Froman and Long will hook up for some big gains. But I just don't see us winning a shoot-out or a 10-7 defensive struggle.
Official predictions....after the jump....
Final Score: Kentucky 38 - 21 Louisville
Anderson / Total Rush Yards: 54 / 95
Kentucky Rushing Yards: 127
Scott Long: 1 TD
Best UofL Defensive Game: Johnny Patrick
Biggest Hit: Brandon Heath
Biggest Boneheaded Krag Call: Fake punt or going for it on 4th down and medium, up 3-0, midway through first quarter, on our own 24 yard line. Resulting in turnover on downs, UK 1-play, 22 yard scoring drive for a touchdown.
First Appearance By Adam Froman: First offensive possession of 2nd quarter (and no more Burke after that).
Rock Keys: Sadly, no.
Glimmer of Hope On Which To Hang Hat: Preston Pace plays reasonably well.
Most Run Commercial: Gold into Cash, and/or 5 awkward Billy Mays commercials (we are on ESPNU, remember).
Everyone feel free to make their own predictions according to these categories, or come up with your own. The CardChronicle staff will assign points/weights to each category, judge the winner on Sunday, and then come over to the winner's house to fully cater a 3-course dinner for a party of 6-10, pants optional. CardChronicle staff reserves the right to not actually do this.