Louisville Vs. Kentucky: Which Team Has The Advantage In The Rain?

By now you've probably heard that Hurrican Isaac has made dealing with rain the newest intangible worthy of attention before Sunday's game.

The common thinking has always been that rain works in favor of the underdog because it levels the playing field by making things more unpredictable. But with Louisville seeming to have the advantage up front on both sides of the ball, is that really the case here?

Let's examine.

Advantage Louisville

Offensive line already appeared to be an advantage for U of L heading into Sunday, and sloppy conditions would only seem to exacerbate that. Remember that the Cards outrushed the Cats by 146 yards last season, and that was without Rimington Award candidate Mario Benavides snapping the ball.

The bulk of Louisville's rushing damage was done by Dominique Brown, who finished the night with a game-high 91 yards on 14 carries. He's still playing football for the Cardinals. Big backs are the most effective backs when it comes wet conditions, and Brown is the only proven big back either side can lay claim to.

Advantage Kentucky

Any offshoot of the West Coast offense works better when the conditions are dry. With Shawn Watson having all offseason to install his offense, Louisville fans are likely to see far more two-back shotgun sets on Sunday than they've ever seen before. Having to bust that out for the first time in a heavy downpour would certainly be cause for concern.

One of the biggest assets the Cardinals have heading into Sunday is Teddy Bridgewater's arm and the talented receivers that arm will be throwing to. Obviously, the effectiveness of both would be hindered by adverse conditions.

Advantage Louisville

U of L has seven defensive linemen on its depth chart who head into this game having experienced both playing time and individual success. They'll be going up against a Wildcat offensive line which starts a true sophomore and redshirt freshman on its left side.

To make matters worse, likely starting tailback Josh Clemons will not play because of a knee injury. Even with Clemons last year, the Cats managed just 35 yards and 32 carries against Louisville's front seven.

Advantage Kentucky

The buzz around Lexington all summer is that freshmen Justin Taylor and Dyshawn Mobley might be ready for game action right off the bat. Unlike veterans CoShik Williams and Raymond Sanders, both are your typical big-bodied SEC backs.

Rainy conditions could force each into action right away, making them the X-factors necessary for the Wildcats to spring the upset.

Advantage Louisville

Big plays often decide the outcome in rainy games where offenses struggle to move the ball. If both sides are keying on the run and daring the other to take a shot deep, Louisville has the superior playmakers at wide receiver, as well as the superior quarterback, to take advantage.

Advantage Kentucky

Both teams have unproven commodities playing key roles on special teams, but it's been Louisville's kicking game which has reportedly struggled the most this summer. Whether it's John Wallace, Matt Nakatani or Joshua Appleby out there, Charlie Strong is going to be relying on someone making their college debut to perform in a rivalry game where the ball is probably going to be a bit slippery. That's not a comforting thought.

Synopsis

Despite Louisville appearing to have an advantage up front on both sides of the ball (I know, I know, Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph are both HUGE), I don't think there's any question that rainy conditions on Sunday would help the Wildcats. Turnovers would be more likely, special team errors would be more likely, and it would be more difficult for Louisville to execute its offensive gameplan.

Anything that makes the playing field more level will obviously benefit Kentucky, and storms are college football's ultimate equalizer. Still, because of its strength up front on both sides of the ball, even a torrential downpour wouldn't be enough to keep Louisville from entering Sunday as a decided favorite.

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