Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky have agreed to an unprecedented four-year football series, both universities jointly announced Wednesday. The schools will meet in Lexington in 2010 and 2012 and at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., in 2011 and 2013. The games in the Music City are designated as home games for the Hilltoppers.
While the schools have met five times in basketball (UK leads 3-2), their only meeting on the gridiron was Kentucky’s 41-3 win on September 27, 2008 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington last season. The Hilltopper basketball team picked up a 64-52 win over the Wildcats on Nov. 15, 2001 at Rupp Arena in the school’s last basketball match up.
WKU, the newest of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision Members, is eligible for a post-season bowl berth and the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2009. WKU’s 511-337-30 all-time record in 90 seasons of football equates to a .600 winning percentage, ranking 26th among all 120 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools and tops in the Sun Belt Conference. WKU’s 948 APR in football is also higher than all other Sun Belt Conference programs.
Under head coach Rich Brooks, Kentucky has won postseason games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history with bowl wins over Clemson (2006 Music City Bowl), Florida State (2007 Music City Bowl) and East Carolina (2008 Liberty Bowl). The Wildcats enter the 2009 season with 14 consecutive non-conference wins, the second-longest active streak in the country.
Ticket information will be available in the coming months and tickets will go on-sale in 2010.
NASHVILLE SPORTS COUNCIL PRESIDENT & CEO SCOTT RAMSEY
“We are excited about hosting the Western Kentucky University student-athletes, administrators and fans during this series. We look forward to seeing a lot of Hilltopper fans in Music City to kick off the season in 2011 and 2013.”
WKU DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS DR. CAMDEN WOOD SELIG
“I want to thank Mitch Barnhart, Rich Brooks and the University of Kentucky for agreeing to this historic four-year series. Their leadership team is a class act, and this four-game series is a great way for UK to welcome WKU to the I-A neighborhood. As the newest of the 120 member Football Bowl Subdivision, our team and fans are eagerly anticipating the journey we are beginning and four future meetings with the Wildcats will certainly add to everyone’s level of excitement. Opening the 2011 and 2013 seasons in Nashville is a creative and unique way to grow our program’s visibility, and it will also be great for football fans and youth players throughout the region.”
WKU HEAD FOOTBALL COACH DAVID ELSON
“The University of Kentucky has many scheduling options, and I compliment them for agreeing to this four game series,” Head Coach David Elson said. “These match ups will be exciting for our players, staff and fans and will also result in added exposure to our program. We look forward to returning to Lexington and also playing two home games in the great city of Nashville, where many loyal Topper fans reside. Our transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision has had many firsts, and the first four-year series between these two schools will benefit many. I congratulate all the parties involved in getting this done.”
KENTUCKY DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS MITCH BARNHART
"Congratulations to Western Kentucky on becoming the state's third program in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The game presents an opportunity for people across the Commonwealth to continue watching athletes they saw playing in high school and their progression in the collegiate game. It creates the opportunity to travel to a venue known by many UK fans - the Titan's stadium at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Our fans had a great time with all the hospitality Nashville offered the last two times we visited for the Music City Bowl and I am very much appreciative of all the efforts of Wood Selig and Scott Ramsey to make this series work. We look forward to an exciting series against the Hilltoppers."
KENTUCKY HEAD FOOTBALL COACH RICH BROOKS
“This will be a very good series for both schools and certainly great for our fans in the western part of Kentucky. We really enjoyed our experiences in the back-to-back Music City Bowls in 2006 and 2007 and we look forward to returning to that venue."