A series that had been anticipated since Bobby Petrino departed Western Kentucky for his return to Louisville has become a reality.
The two schools announced on Thursday that they have agreed to a three-game series that is slated to begin in 2018.
"“It’s great for both schools that we were able to resume this series against an in-state school of Western Kentucky’s caliber,” Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich said in a released statement. “Because of the proximity of both schools, I think it’s a tremendous win for the state of Kentucky and each fan base. I’m thrilled we were able to lock down a three-game series versus WKU."
Louisville will welcome the Hilltoppers to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 2018 and 2020, with WKU hosting the 2019 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
The Cardinals had a large contingent of fans follow them to Nashville for the last season's Music City Bowl and also played Middle Tennessee State at Nissan Stadium during the 2005 season.
“If I ever was going to schedule a non-conference game at a neutral site, Nashville is the perfect location because it’s such a great city and they do a tremendous job as hosts,” Jurich said. “Over the years, our fans have enjoyed making the short trip to Nashville. It’s a tremendous city, and they do an unbelievable job of putting on events, as was evident last season with our first experience at the fantastic Music City Bowl.”
WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart echoed the excitement for the series.
“We are excited to begin a football series with the University of Louisville,” said Stewart. “These three games will be exciting for both fan bases and good for college football in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We continually try to develop strong non-conference schedules each year while also focusing on regional match ups that enable our fans to attend games outside of Bowling Green. A series with Louisville checks all of those boxes, and we appreciate Louisville’s administration and football program for their efforts and cooperation.”
The two programs first played in 1922 and have met 31 prior times with U of L holding a 19-12 series advantage. They have not met since WKU rose to the FBS level, meeting last in 1998, a 63-34 Louisville win. WKU’s last victory in the series came in 1975, a 21-17 victory in Louisville.
Louisville's 2018 home non-conference schedule now includes Indiana State, Kentucky and WKU. It's currently the only non-conference home game slated for 2020.