The Governor's Cup between Louisville and Kentucky on Saturday is being overshadowed by reports of Wildcats coach Mark Stoops being a candidate for the LSU and Florida coaching vacancies.
"I have no control over that," Stoops said Monday of the rumors. "I don't want that out there. I don't want that distraction. I don't ask for that. As I mentioned jokingly weeks ago when somebody mentioned that, I'd rather it be that than you guys all talk about when they're going to fire me."
Louisville (6-5) opened as a two-point favorite against Kentucky (8-3) because the Wildcats have gone 2-3 after starting 6-0 and reaching a No. 11 ranking.
The Cardinals are coming off a 62-22 rout at Duke in which quarterback Malik Cunningham accounted for seven touchdowns -- five TD tosses to different receivers and two rushing scores.
He totaled 303 passing yards and 224 rushing yards, becoming only the second Football Bowl Subdivision player with at least 300 passing and 200 rushing yards in a game.
Cunningham could have produced even more considering he sat out the final 12 minutes after 11 carries and 18-for-25 passing.
He has totaled 2,589 passing yards and 933 rushing yards with 18 passing touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns, and is just two touchdowns from being the eighth 20-20 player in FBS history.
"To me he's the best dual-threat player in the country," Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said.
The Cardinals were dominant against Duke despite six players affected by flu, including Cunningham.
Satterfield said a few more players weren't feeling well earlier in the week.
"You kind of have your fingers crossed because you have this sickness and I don't think it's going away," Satterfield said. "It's a matter of can we keep our guys healthy before we go out there and play on Saturday."
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is also coming off an impressive performance.
In a 56-16 win over New Mexico State last week, Levis passed for 419 yards and four touchdowns, the most in a game for a Kentucky quarterback since Andre Woodson against Tennessee in 2007.
"What I love about him, he's going to get pissed, but nothing is going to rattle him. He's going to get right back in there and not flinch," Stoops said.
Kentucky has won consecutive games against Louisville, and three of the last four, and leads the rivalry 17-15.
--Field Level Media