Big League Clu previews the excellent Keg of Nails rivalry between Cincinnati and Louisville.
After taking a few week hiatus from writing about the RTS, I have come back just in time for week 9 of college football! For this week, I am going to enlighten the not so average sports fan about a matchup between two top ranked big east teams who have been duking it out since their Conference-USA days. Time to check out Louisville, Cincinnati and the Keg of Nails Trophy.
Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1, 1-0 Big East) @ #16 Louisville Cardinals (7-0, 2-0 Big East)
When: Friday at 8 pm @ Papa John’s Stadium
Last Year’s Results: Cincinnati defeated Louisville 25-16. Cincinnati leads all time series 30-20-1
Although this rivalry is better known in college basketball as opposed for football, the Keg of Nails matchup between Louisville & Cinci is one of the more storied rivalries in recent memory. It has spanned 83 years and three conferences. It stemmed from the days when these teams were in the Missouri Valley Conference and followed them to Conference USA and now to the Big East Conference. This is considered the oldest rivalry for Louisville and is the second oldest rivalry for the Bearcats (behind their annual game with Miami of Ohio). This year the Bearcats, who have won the last four Keg of Nails games, look to play the role of spoiler for Louisville’s perfect season. If Louisville can get over this hurdle, it should be smooth sailing for them the rest of the year. The only winning team they will have to face the rest of the season is be Rutgers (also currently 7-0 and ranked 18th in the country) on November 29th.
Now I bet all of you are wondering why this trophy is known as the Keg of Nails. I too was wondered the same thing. Well, after doing some independent research, I found out that this trophy is a replica of old kegs that were used to ship nails. It is believed that this “Keg of Nails” trophy was started as an exchange between fraternity chapters located on both the University of Cincinnati and University of Louisville campuses. The winner of that year’s game would win the trophy and they were signified as being “tough as nails,” or so they seem to think. Funny side note here… The present keg is not actually the original trophy. Somehow, Louisville misplaced the original during some construction of office facilities. Although they say that they “lost it”, in reality I’m sure they used the wood from the keg and nails inside to help build some of the furniture in those offices. Hey, gotta cut costs somehow. Times are tough. The present trophy has the logos of both schools and the scores of all of their games.
Why Louisville Will Win
Let’s take a closer look at this Cardinals team shall we? They boast two running backs who have been at the top of the Big East all season long. Juniors Senorise Perry (588 yards, 10 TDs) and Jeremy Wright (477 yards, 7 TDs) are a big reason for the Cards’ perfect record thus far. Don’t rule out the outstanding performance from their sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater though. Bridgewater has great numbers this season (1694 yards, 11 TDs) and he has been red hot of late. He even leads the big east in QB rating with 165.2. Just last week, he was 21 of 25 passing and even ran for 74 yards against the USF Bulls. Bridgewater is definitely a big threat to a Bearcats D that ranks near the bottom in the conference in passing yards allowed per game.
Why Cincinnati Will Win
On top of the facts that the Bearcats have had the Cardinals number for the past four years and that they are winners of 9 of their last 10 matchups, Cinci also ranks atop the Big East with 1,354 rushing yards (while the Cards are second with 1,130). The main reason for their success on the ground is with the fact that the Bearcats have three rushers who lead the Big East in yards per carry. They are RBs Ralph Abernathy (6.6) and George Winn (6.3) and QB Munchie (Munchieeeee!) Legaux with 6.0. With all of that being said, Cincinnati averages a Big East best 467.5 total yards per game, so they do have a good chance in a shoot out with the Cardinals (or I should say a “run-out”). Maybe the Bearcats can run away with the win? Ah? Ah? Anyone??
Who Wins the Keg of Nails This Year?
While both teams can sure as hell run the ball, it will come down to the team who makes the least amount of mistakes on defense. Also, I grew up a Syracuse fan and I cant stand Louisville, so I am going to stick my neck out and say Cincinnati will upset Louisville, knock out their perfect season and retain the Keg of Nails trophy for a fifth straight year.
Featured image courtesy of: http://magazine.uc.edu/
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