Add another season-ending intrastate rivalry game to the ACC docket beginning in 2014.
The annual game between Louisville and Kentucky will move to the final game of the regular season beginning with 2014, the first year the Cardinals will play in the ACC. Though Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich prefers the teams to continue to play at the start of the season, the decision was made at the request of both the SEC and ACC.
That does not come as a huge shock. The ACC has been discussing the possibility of turning the final week of the regular season into rivalry weekend. The late-season Kentucky-Louisville shift now increases the number of ACC vs. SEC intrastate rivalry matchups on the final weekend of the regular season to four:
Also in 2015, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt will play to end the regular season, in the final scheduled game between the programs.
“There’s great excitement surrounding Louisville’s move into the ACC, and we look forward to when they are able to compete as conference members,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “The storied rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky is an important part of the tradition and history of both institutions, and we appreciate being able to showcase that game on the final weekend of the season along with the other inter-conference rivalries between the ACC and SEC.”
When the series between Louisville and Kentucky was renewed in 1994 after a 70-year break, the game was played to open the season in 12 of the next 13 years. This year, the two teams meet Sept. 14 in Lexington, Ky.
Next year, they will play Nov. 29, 2014.
Though the game is moving, Jurich is most pleased that the teams will continue their rivalry. Louisville certainly does not want to see it end despite moving to a new league. Kentucky holds a 14-11 advantage in the series, but the Cardinals have an 11-8 edge since the series renewal in 1994.
Louisville goes into its final year in the American Athletic Conference with a preseason No. 9 ranking, and will likely be the overwhelming favorite to beat Kentucky for the third straight year.