NASHVILLE — It took Kentucky and Western Kentucky nearly a century to meet on the football field.
The schools won’t have to wait quite that long for the rematch.
The Wildcats and the Hilltoppers announced a four-game series beginning in 2010 that includes a pair of games at LP Field in Nashville.
Kentucky will host WKU at Commonwealth Stadium in 2010 and 2012 while the Hilltoppers will serve as host for the Wildcats when the teams meet in the season-opener in Nashville in 2011 and 2013.
Kentucky won the only game between the two schools 41-3 last year in Lexington.
The Hilltoppers begin 2009 as a full-fledged member of the Sun Belt Conference after moving up from the Football Championship Subdivision.
WKU athletic director Wood Selig said playing in Nashville gives fans of both teams a unique opportunity. The Hilltoppers will be designated the home team for both games.
“Opening the 2011 and 2013 seasons in Nashville is a creative and unique way to grow our program’s visibility,” Selig said. “It will also be great for football fans and youth players throughout the region.”
The Wildcats have had plenty of success at LP Field in recent years, winning the Music City Bowl there in 2006 and 2007. Kentucky’s ability to draw large crowds to the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans made them an attractive pick for the bowl and the stadium was an obvious choice for the meeting.
Though Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium has undergone a major renovation that’s coincided with WKU’s move to the Football Bowl Subdivision, the new 25,000-seat capacity was far too small to accommodate the fans of both teams.
“It wouldn’t make sense, financially, for either team when you have the opportunity to draw a large number of fans to an area that’s beneficial for both sides,” Selig said.
Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said the combination of venue, location and opponent is a perfect fit.
“It makes sense for our fans, it makes sense for our players, who enjoy the experience of playing in an NFL stadium,” he said.