Cincinnati and Louisville will battle for the Keg of Nails one more time before the Cardinals depart for the ACC. The two teams have met 52 times, including every year since 1996, but conference realignment has the future of this rivalry up in the air.
Both teams are having successful seasons, and both come into Thursday night on extended winning streaks. The Bearcats haven't lost since their baffling defeat at the hands of South Florida on Oct. 5, while the Cardinals have won their last four.
Rankings and records: Cincinnati is 9-2 (6-1) and ranked No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. Louisville is also 6-1 in the AAC, and 10-1 overall. The Cardinals are 16th in the Coaches Poll and 19th in the AP Poll. The Bearcats lead the all-time series with a 30-21-1 record.
Vegas: Louisville opened as a 6.5-point favorite, though that line began to narrow quickly. The Cardinals are about a field goal favorite now.
Weather: The high is expected to hit the upper 40s, and there's a 40 percent chance of rain.
Three names to know
Teddy Bridgewater -- Bridgewater is completing 71 percent of his throws while averaging an impressive 9.5 yards per attempt. He has 25 touchdown passes and just three interceptions, and for the second straight season, he has thrown for well over 3,000 yards.
Brendon Kay -- Considering how good Bridgewater has been, the Bearcats may need a big night from Kay, who is capable of delivering. He has 2,804 yards passing in 2013, with 22 touchdown tosses and nine interceptions.
Anthony McClung -- Kay's favorite target is McClung, who is coming off his most productive game of the season. On the year, he has 811 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Two things at stake
Louisville is out of the running for a conference title thanks to its loss to Central Florida earlier in the year, so the Cards won't have the chance to finish their year in a BCS bowl like they did a season ago. Still, they can surpass their 2012 win total by beating the Bearcats and winning their postseason game. And beating the Bearcats would knock them from AAC title contention, thereby awarding the conference's automatic bid to UCF.
Cincinnati needs help, but earning the AAC's BCS bid remains a possibility. Step one is beating Louisville. Then the Bearcats will have to wait and see what happens in the UCF-SMU game. UCF captures the league crown outright by winning. A UCF loss coupled with a Bearcats win would have the two tied at 7-1 in conference play, and since they did not go head-to-head this year, the team ranked higher in the BCS standings would get the BCS bid.
How to witness
TV: ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET (Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack)