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Three Home and Home Football series to see before another MAC team


Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart have done an unbelievable job with the Kentucky football program. From where it was six years ago to where it is today is nothing short of impressive.

If there is one criticism that I can put forth about what Stoops/Barnhart have done, it would be the nonconference football schedule.

This season, the Cats will play Toledo, Eastern Michigan, UT Martin and Louisville in the non-conference. Next year, it will be Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Illinois State, and Louisville. 2021 will have Louisiana Monroe, New Mexico State, Louisville, and a TBA announced slot that will presumably go to an FCS school.

Excuse me while I wake myself up from an abysmal slate of schools. What is the draw to come to Kroger Field to see Kentucky play against Kent State?

Look, I get it. The 8 SEC games are tough. Playing the likes of Florida, Mississippi State, and Georgia every year are tough tasks, but I still feel as if there are Power Five schools that while they would be tougher opponents; they would easily be more entertaining for fans.

To give examples, here are the three schools I would like to see a home and home series with before two MAC teams are scheduled in the same season again.

Purdue

A home and home series with the Boilermakers would make a lot of sense for multiple reasons. One, it is not a far drive for many Kentucky fans. Two, it is a Big 10 opponent that the Cats might be better than most years.

This is all going without mentioning the in-state connections that Purdue has. Most notably, of course, is head coach Jeff Brohm. The former UofL quarterback and WKU head coach has taken multiple recruits from the state that Kentucky wanted. This series could be the opportunity to show who is the premiere College Football team in the area.

Indiana

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If we can’t get the Indiana basketball series restarted than why can’t we have the football one. From 1989 until 2005, the two schools played one another every single year.

In fact, the all-time series is led by Indiana 18-17 so the even competition is proven. This again gives fans an opportunity to travel to the away games and again have a team that would be a whole lot more fun to beat than Louisiana Monroe.

West Virginia

Courtesy: Dub V Sports

This one probably makes the most sense. Neal Brown and West Virginia should come to Kroger Field for a perfect SEC/Big 12 matchup.

For one, it is Brown coming back to Kentucky and two, it is him coaching against the coach that gave him the OC job in Lexington.

While this would be a tougher opponent than the previous two, it would probably be a lot more fun and would easily fill up Kroger Field on a Saturday afternoon.

In addition, this game would easily be picked up by ESPN instead of having a game on SEC Network plus.


Not everyone will agree with me when it comes to this non-conference schedule. There are some that do believe that we should take our three “gimme” wins a year and move on. I disagree. I would much rather take one of those and make it into a fun situation for both schools.

Wouldn’t you as a fan almost rather go 5-7, but play West Virginia than go 6-6 and play in the Birmingham Bowl?

As they always say, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

@GormleyKSR

Article written by Sam Gormley

Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR; "The Whitest Man in the World"-JRock

32 responses to “Three Home and Home Football series to see before another MAC team”

  1. 2andToodleLoo

    Disagree on Purdue and WVU. Going head to head vs them in recruiting- if you lose those games it could hurt. Pick schools outside of typical recruits area and maybe exposure beyond normal territory.

    1. Vyce0789

      Agree. However, if we did win then the effect would be nice. To your point, let’s go beat Northwestern or Georgia Tech and get them back after that Taxslayer Bowl loss, or teams farther out of our region like Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State…all decent teams.

    2. ClutchCargo

      No to Georgia Tech. I like the idea of our defensive players having functioning knees.

  2. jwardrip99

    SEC is tough enough, give me the easiest non conference possible. Let’s pump the breaks on being a powerhouse.

    1. JTHinton

      Agreed

  3. UKnowMe

    If you think the IU basketball fans are bad you should experience the trash that comes to their football games. I was at their place for the 2001 and 2003 UK games. I have yet to find a more classless fan base at any other away game.

    1. UKSupporter76

      I was at the 2001 game (played late because of 9/11) at IU and couldn’t agree more. Playing these games are great for the “journalists” (and I use that term as loosely as possible) covering the team, but not typically for the teams themselves. If we get to the point where our non conference schedule is hurting our playoff chances then we should revisit the topic, Overloading the schedule is a great way to kill a programs momentum.

      How many seasons have we lamented the fact that we had a pretty good team, but we just had too many teams on our schedule that were a little bit better? Too many. Keep the cannon fodder, and if you aren’t enough of a fan to go enjoy a blowout on a beautiful day, then shame on you.

    2. satcheluk

      Love to hear you clarify your journalist statement.

  4. imabucket

    I agree with the articles point of view. Even though we play in the SEC , we need some at very least two good non conference games as well . Preferably one of them being on senior day. After having a record year last year , the attendance for senior day was embarrassing. On one end , yeah we should have supported that group no matter what , but at the same time , you can’t put all the blame on fans for not showing up when we are playing teams that aren’t even going to have a chance of beating us. He’ll even if the fans did show up for it , I’d say half of em woulda been gone at half time with a blowout score

    1. JTHinton

      To be fair, that was b/c senior day fell the year where Louisville was on the road

  5. Smyrna_Cat

    You are correct .. Mark & Mitch have done a great job with football. They should feel free to ignore bad suggestions.

    1. ukkatzfan

      Agree ^

  6. kacat2

    No I wouldn’t rather go 5-7 and it’s idiotic to write and article to suggest anyone would. Heck why not add OSU, OK and Clemson to the schedule. You clearly have zero appreciation for the physical and mental toll it takes on these guys to try and play high leverage games EVERY weekend. Every year it’s the same lame argument about adding these great rivals. Always written by journalist who have never played the game and just have a selfish view of what’s in it for them. What’s ironic, if the the team went 5-7, even against that schedule you would be chirping for a coaching change, calling out players and sitting at home because you sure as hell wouldn’t bother to show up at the games.

  7. Dowser

    Hell no.

  8. Samattox47

    I was with Sam until he said “wouldnt you almost rather go 5-7?” No. No i wouldnt. Give me the birmingham bowl 11 times out of 10 there. Really, really stupid question.

    1. ClutchCargo

      Absolutely agree. If the other option is to schedule harder and go 5-7, then your program isn’t ready for that yet. I say keep doing what we’re doing for a couple more years and then see where we are.

  9. bigblue98

    Disagree completely. Making bowl games are a necessity because of extra practices. Louisville won’t always be down so can’t expect to go 4-0 or even 3-1 out of conference. Also can’t expect to go 4-4 or better every year in conference. Scheduling a tough second out of conference game only comes into play when competing for a national championship, and we’re not there yet.

  10. BallDontLie

    Purdue but only because i live i lafayette and would love to watch the cats in my backyard.

  11. ukcamel

    This is something we should do…but not yet. Right now we need to build the program and that means making bowl games every year. If and when we get to the place where 8+ wins is the constant norm, then I’d love to see some series against tougher P5 schools.

  12. DelrayCat

    The only way something like this works would be to have a situation like the Champions Classic in basketball. Have Louisville, Indiana and maybe Cincinnati all rotate games each year, playing each team every third year. But unless we dump Louisville… your idea ain’t going to happen.

  13. ukkatzfan

    Border state teams. No, i will disagree. Sure one of our non conference teams could beat IU. So much for improving schedule there.

  14. A_Blue_Wildcat

    When was the last time a non mid-major team truly benefited by playing a tougher non-conference in football?

  15. J. Did

    GO CATS!

  16. J. Did

    Just tuning that BIG ASS BASS DRUM will be a full time job.

  17. makeitstop

    First of all, one 10 win season and suddenly the schedule isn’t hard enough? UofL isn’t a patsy, and only last year hurt our SoS. The other 3? We damn near lost one of these other 3 in 2 of the last 3 years and DID lose one 4 years ago!! U need a tune up game early and homecoming breather late, time to get the freshman in a game without burning a redshirt and rest some banged up guys bf UL which is a make or break game for where we go bowling. If we need to drop the other MAC game in a couple years then go where we recruit, but can win: play Maryland, a Big 10 in a big TV market w lots of recruits; Pittsburgh, an ACC team u can beat in western PA/eastern Ohio instead of Akron: or Florida schools like USF, UCF or just start w 2 home/ one away w Florida Atlantic in talent rich south Florida, and play it in the orange bowl.

  18. rockatao

    Alabama tends to be a little better than UK. Last season they played Louisville, Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, and the Citadel. So your argument is that UK should schedule tougher than Alabama does?

    1. J. Did

      You are correct.

      ala bam uh had an EZ schedule last year.

      It hurt them.

      They paid for it.

  19. catfansteve007

    J Did,
    Oh,Bama missed the playoff because of their weak nonconference schedule? You’re a dodo and probably should be heavily medicated to protect yourself and others.

  20. KyZoneBlitz

    I think we could and would beat all 3 teams he suggested. Wvu would be tough, but we could win that, indy and purdue I think we win by multiple scores.. don’t get me wrong, as another guy said, Bama scheduled the citadel, and this year their toughest noncon game is duke…. so, I’m not upset with the current noncon, Toledo is a good program, eastern michigan as well most years. So either way, the current set up, or 2 power 5 and 2 non-power 5 games… and Louisville may not have been a gimme before, but with our current recruiting, staff and talent, I dont see us losing to them for a long, long time… no matter who’s coaching… with Stoops and Marrow, I dont think we lose to them again…. just my opinion….

  21. kvor13

    do you think any of those 3 teams would have an interest. Those schools are trying to build their programs and have zero interest any risk racking up non conference wins.

  22. kvor13

    do you think any of those 3 teams would have an interest. Those schools are trying to build their programs and have zero interest risking racking up non conference wins.

  23. McFarlands Boogers

    Cincinnati