"A lot of good things have happened since I first went to Louisville," said Nord. "When I first took the job, I almost felt like a traitor going there from Kentucky. Louisville was not anywhere near where that program was. Then we got (athletics director) Tom (Jurich) in there and he gave us the facilities we needed. Then we got (coach) John L. (Smith) and he got the players and coaches we needed. Things have really got to a good place for us."
So good that Louisville has replaced Kentucky as the state's best football program. Yet Nord says anyone who thinks the Kentucky-Louisville game is still not one of the nation's best rivalries is wrong. He also says there's no logical place to play the game other than the first week of the season like it has been in recent years.
"Why would you not send that game across the country (on national TV) and showcase the rivalry that it is? That is a great game that we need to be proud of and play it when we do to get the maximum exposure for the game," Nord said.
ESPN will again televise the game Sept. 4. However, UK officials have made it known that they would prefer not to play Louisville in the season's first game and the dates of future games are in limbo.
"It's a great game and should start the season for both teams. We get to spend all summer prepare for each other. Then we play the game, get it done and move on to conference play. It's the only logical place to play the game," Nord said.
So is Louisville already planning some tricks for this game?
"We will always have something ready, as I am sure they will," Nord said. "You better make sure you cover all your bases in this game and I expect Kentucky to be an improved team.
"We have recruited a lot of the guys they have playing. They did the same with a lot of our players. You have to have an idea how you think they may utilize those players. There are guys you may want to attack as well as guys you may want to stay away from. But that's what is great about this being the first game. Coaches, as well as fans, can spend all summer talking about the game, too."