When you think of classic rivals for the University of Louisville, most people would leave out Central Florida, and for good reason. Any time the Cards have played the Golden Knights in the past, the one and only time these teams have played it was a non-conference game.
This will be the first and possibly only year the two Universities will share a conference and are forced to play each other as members of that conference. While traditionally the two teams haven’t matched up on the gridiron or hardwood enough for Louisville fans to grow a disdain for UCF there is still plenty of bad blood between the two schools.
Almost four years ago ex-cardinal (and now ex-Louisvillian) Judas Iscariot himself, Brandon Bender, became quite a nuisance for his former school. Bender got in the ear of many Louisville football and basketball recruits and tried to convince them to de-commit or not commit at all to the university. Bender was doing all of this in the name of UCF. Current WKU quarterback DaMarcus Smith was one of the casualties of Benders game. Smith was verbally committed to UofL and could be seen around Seneca High School decked out in Louisville gear until Benedict Arnold came around in his black and gold. We also almost missed out on Kevin Ware thanks to Bender and the Knights, and it even led to Kevin being ineligible for the first semester of play his freshman year.
Ultimately because of Benders shadiness, UCF was popped by the NCAA. Many recruits de-committed from UCF, including Smith who landed at Western Kentucky with Bobby Petrino. All of the vitriol from Louisville fan was directed at Brandon Bender during this ordeal while no one really focused on the puppet master.
UCF complied with all of Benders shenanigans and even encouraged them to a point knowing full well he wasn’t employed by athletic department. UCF paid for what they did and ultimately cheaters didn’t prosper, but the bitter taste should still be left in Louisville fans mouth especially if this is our one chance to play them at home and as a conference foe.
If you needed any more motivation to make PJCS loud during its 100th game, here it is.