football Edit

Way too early schedule preview: Louisville

Kentucky has won the Governor's Cup trophy two years in a row with lopsided victories against intrastate rival Louisville.

Scott Satterfield followed last year's loss to Kentucky with a win against Mississippi State in a bowl game, however, and the Cardinals have quite a bit of hype going into the 2020 season.

Cats Illustrated's way too early preview series on Kentucky's opponents concludes here with Louisville.

Recent Series History: Kentucky's last two teams have dominated the Cardinals in the season-ending Governor's Cup matchup. Two years ago in Louisville the Wildcats won 56-10 and in poor conditions the 'Cats won the 2019 game in Lexington by a score of 45-13.

Apparent Strengths: When assessing a team you almost always start with the quarterback and there's reason for optimism with Micale Cunningham coming off a mostly successful 2019 season. He should be better in his second year with Satterfield. Having Tutu Atwell at his disposal doesn't hurt.

But perhaps the biggest reason for excitement next year is Javian Hawkins. He's on track to rewrite a lot of records following a 1,500-yard freshman season. And that was with an offensive line that had its issues. The Cunningham, Atwell, Hawkins trio is one that a lot of teams would love to have and Satterfield obviously knows how to get a lot of mileage out of his best players. There are other impressive skill position players too between tight end Marshon Ford and receiver Dez Fitzpatrick.

Defensively there aren't a lot of "strengths" going into the season but the linebackers could develop into one of the ACC's better groups thanks especially to Dorian Etheridge and CJ Avery.

Apparent Weaknesses: Louisville's lines were no match for Kentucky's the last couple of years and that will be a question in this year's game again. In spite of having one of the nation's top offensive linemen in Mekhi Becton the Cardinal line was simply not good enough. The Louisville offense made huge improvements last season so it's a good sign for the program that Satterfield was able to bring that kind of production even with so many protection issues up front. But to take things to the next level against the better defenses it will face, such as at Notre Dame, Clemson, and Kentucky, the Cardinals have work to do there.

Just as Louisville's offensive line struggled to protect against the best teams it saw, the defense had a hard time against many of those same teams.

The Cardinals have to get a lot better against the run defensively.

Matchup Outlook: Last year Kentucky was simply much better and bigger than Louisville at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The fact that the weather was so bad played to Kentucky's strength in the game as well. Unless Satterfield orchestrates a roster miracles, UK will again have the advantage in the trenches. Anyone who has followed this series closely knows that the team that has the rushing advantage normally wins the game.

Louisville takes on Notre Dame in South Bend the week before this game so the Cardinals will have their hands full in terms of preparation.

A glass half full approach to Louisville this year would be saying they were a solid team last year and they can't get much worse in protection and on defense. So things are likely to improve. The question is whether they match up well with Kentucky's strengths. They have something to prove there.