HASKINS: Budding rivalry showcases Cardinals' growth

HASKINS: Budding rivalry showcases Cardinals' growth
Lamar Jackson (Source: UofL Athletics)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As we prepare for another classic matchup between U of L and Clemson, I can't help but to think about many things when it comes to this matchup.

While the rivalry is only going into its fourth year, and Cards head coach, Bobby Petrino contends that it's not a rivalry until U of L beats Clemson, the rest of the country is starting to take notice.

For the second straight year, the matchup is the featured game on ESPN's GameDay.  The last time the game was in Louisville, back in 2015, it was the Thursday night feature game on ESPN.  Although Clemson has won all three games, they've all been close, coming down to the last possession with the Tigers winning those games by a combined 15 points.

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Saturday's game will mark the second time ever, and the second-straight year ESPN's GameDay show has come to town.  Not bad for a football program that used to give tickets away to its games 30 years ago.  Plus, for a school that's known for its basketball, ESPN has chosen to come to town twice for the football team, and has yet to bring the basketball version of Gameday to town since the Cards moved into the KFC Yum! Center - strange.

As a Louisville native, to see the heights the football team has reached in my lifetime is amazing.  I can still remember when Howard Schnellenberger said  "the only variable is time", and to see the Cards inching closer to that national title goal has been a joy to watch.

I've been to all three games between these two.  Both times I've been to Clemson, I was blown away by the hospitality of both the Clemson fans and their media relations department.  I was having major computer problems at the game last year, and the Clemson media relations people found their IT guy who fixed my problem.  Death Valley is every bit as loud as you would expect, and then some.

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At last year's game, you could literally feel the ground shake whenever the Tigers scored a touchdown.  I would imagine the second game here in Louisville between these two new rivals will be extremely loud given the game is another blackout, it's the first home game of the season for the Cards and it's the rare Saturday night game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Even in a loss last year, Lamar Jackson was spectacular against the Tigers and I expect him to be just as amazing on Saturday night.

Clemson at UofL on Saturday night will not only be another chance for the Cards to play on the big stage, but will also serve as a reminder how far U of L football has come.

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