UofL CardBook | Battle of the Bluegrass
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Battle of the Bluegrass

08 Aug Battle of the Bluegrass

A Rivalry Birthed in the Bluegrass

It’s more than the smack talk. It is a way of life. There’s even a movie called “Red V Blue” dedicated to the rivalry between our Cards and the University of Kentucky Wildcats. When the Cards and Wildcats met in the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2012 and Sweet Sixteen in 2014, it seemed like the entire state of Kentucky shut down for the week to prep for the games. Families stopped speaking. Friends alienated one another. The Cards/Cats rivalry extends beyond our schools and into the lifeblood of our state, where it is revered and anticipated year round by people across Kentucky and the nation. Kentucky is our biggest rival, plain and simple, no matter the sport.

Here are some more important things to know about the rivalry.

Men’s Basketball Battle of the Bluegrass

  • Rated by many sports journalists as one of the best rivalries in college sports
  • Game dates back to 1913
  • Did not become an annual game until after the 1983 Elite Eight “Dream Game,” when Coach Denny Crum‘s Cards won 80-68 over Joe B Hall’s Cats in overtime to advance to the Final Four
  • Game typically occurs toward the end of both teams’ nonconference schedules in late December
  • Rivalry has intensified since 2000 when Rick Pitino, the Cats’ former coach, took on the head coaching job at UofL
  • Both UK and UofL have won national championships in recent years, making their rivalry part of the national sports conversation.

Football’s Governor’s Cup

  • Game dates back to 1912
  • Did not become an annual game until 1994
  • Governor’s Cup trophy presented to winner of the football game by the governor of Kentucky
  • The game was at the beginning of the season, but with the move to the ACC, it is now the last game in the Cards’ Football season
  • Since 2011, the Governor’s Cup has been in Louisville