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Do You Care if Kentucky Wins Bowl Games?


Jordan Jones at the 2017 Music City Bowl

Kentucky has won seven regular season games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2006-07.  To find another streak of seven-plus regular season wins, you’d have to go all the way back to 1976-77.  Despite Kentucky’s regular season success under Mark Stoops, there is still an underlying feeling of discontent, but why?

Many will say, ‘Stoops can’t win the big ones,’ while completely overlooking a rivalry victory on the road over a Heisman Trophy winner as 27-point underdogs.  If you’re still mad about last year’s Florida game, I get it, but does that mean you’re still mad about the losses to Florida in 2014, Tennessee in 2009, Miss. State in 2007 and Florida in 2002?  At this point, every UK football fan should know how to endure and move on from a bad loss.

Maybe the disgruntled portion of the fan base agrees with one KSR commenter’s “unpopular” opinion: Kentucky has been good, but they can’t win a bowl game.  It begs the question, does winning bowl games matter?

We all can agree that playing postseason football is important.  Bowls provide a month of practice for developing underclassmen, they put the program on a national stage and they reward fans and players for an exceptional regular season.  Outside of that, winning an exhibition game should not matter.

Obviously, Kentucky fans want their team to win every time they play.  If the Cats return to the Outback or Peach Bowls, a win could catapult the program to new heights, but does anyone care that Kentucky’s trophy case does not boast a BBVA Compass Bowl trophy?

The biggest differences between the beloved Rich Brooks and Mark Stoops are bowl victories.  It matters to fans that Kentucky beat programs like Clemson and Florida State, even though the Bowdens were on their last leg for each team and Florida State suspended half their players prior to the game.  Stoops’ team faced a triple option offense and a nine-win Northwestern team without his All-SEC running back.

I was bummed Kentucky could not keep the momentum rolling from the Louisville victory into the TaxSlayer Bowl.  I wanted Stephen Johnson to win his last game as a Kentucky Wildcat.  Still, I don’t care that Kentucky lost back-to-back bowl games.  It’s an exhibition game.  It doesn’t matter.  But does it matter to you?

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

76 responses to “Do You Care if Kentucky Wins Bowl Games?”

  1. Rod Crandler

    Do I care if UK wins? Uh…yes

    1. gobble gobble

      Ha seriously, Nick?! That is just dumb

    2. FlySoup

      When I saw the headline I thought it was BTI

    3. Realme

      Same, fly soup.

  2. jrk

    It absolutely matters. You should play to win or not play. It really is that simple

  3. Wade

    That’s a dumb question

    1. mashburnfan1

      Agree, even by KSR standards this is stupid and the last article by this clown I will be reading. Hey Dick Douche, only reason to play any game is to win it. I buy season tickets to watch the team win, hell in the grand scheme of life all sports games are just exhibition games to entertain us. There is no real value to any of the games except winning them.

  4. Tony9h

    Yup

  5. BluKudzu

    Some serious effort went into scraping the bottom of this barrel.

    Of course it matters. How could it not? It has an effect on everything, especially recruiting.

    I think we better be hopeful we are bowl eligible this coming season, first, than trying to rationalize poor performance in post season, or any of the dunderheaded efforts in past games.

    There is nothing we as fans can do about the past, or any of the decisions made going forward. We got, what we got, and we may as well support the efforts of the young folks on the field, versus botching about the coaches and our AD’s decisions.

    Get 6 this year. It will be tough. This will be the year that shows, whether or not, we are heading in the right direction. Go Cats.

  6. ukkatzfan

    It is not that big a deal whether they win the bowl game. But if it matters to recruits and players, then it matters to me

  7. The Professor

    In watching Stoop’s teams play one can see a tremendous increase in athleticism and talent than in previous years. However, sideline ineptness has also been on display too often as well. The record has improved in part because of the demise of the SEC East yet we are still 1-9 against TN and FL during his tenure. Because teams have a month or so of practice you would think we would see improvement yet our 2 bowl performances were underwhelming. Good coaches also win their bowl games more often than not which is why Brooks did well.

    1. JTHinton

      Stoops’ ?

    2. Soylentbeans

      Brooks was also a known good head coach. Was known for turnning programs around. with years of head coaching under his belt. Stoops is still in the process of learning.

  8. UKinIN

    It’s easy to say that bowl games don’t matter when Stoops is 0-2 and UK has lost at least three bowl games in a row. When Brooks was winning bowl games the fanbase sure acted like it mattered.

  9. ukjaybrat

    Winning = Great
    Losing = Whatever

  10. JTHinton

    If we’re on the field and we’re not playing to win there’s a huge issue.

    If we’re fans of a team and our team is playing and we don’t care if we win or not, there’s a huge issue.

    The fact that we’re being asked this question means…

    1. JTHinton

      …there’s a huge issue.

    2. cats646

      Agree

  11. cats646

    It matters

  12. chardun20

    Yes, that’s a stupid question.

  13. Kindergarten Cop

    I don’t think losing the bowl games is the reason for the discontent among the fan base. I think it has to do with the way that Kentucky has lost the big games (including the bowl games) the last few years. Many times we had the momentum and the talent for the first time in a long time and most of the time it was coaching errors that would cost us a game. We can’t seem to ever get a big win at home. There seems to be confusion on the sidelines at times and in year 5… That shouldn’t be a problem….They obviously recruit better than anyone we have had and probably better than anyone we ever will have. But when questioned about their mistakes we get the same coach talk after the games and defensiveness with no changes in coaching style. So as a fan that has been to every home game and last years bowl game…I can say that personally I am happy with Stoops but I get the feeling that people believe that a lot of times Kentucky leaves opportunity on the table…and a lot of times it could be solved by good coaching.

    Don’t get me wrong… I love coach Stoops and I believe he is the right guy for the job here at KY. But it seems like KSR is on a mission to find out why some fans aren’t happy after two good seasons. I believe that is the reason.

    1. JPGott2

      Op left on table: Florida game where UK left a man completely unmarked not once, but twice. One never sees such blunders from another coaching staff……but at UK it is all fine.

    2. Soylentbeans

      These type of problems have been there before stoops. How many times did Brooks almost beat Florida and Tennessee? Let’s just say that stoops has the same amount of wins aginst both those teams as Brooks did.

    3. cats646

      Agree completely kindergarten cop. Well stated.

  14. Chad

    Someone may have already written this but: I think we could have easier post season wins by going to lesser bowls. I’m in favor of going to a better bowl and “punching up” rather than “punching down”. That being said I am very limited on football knowledge and I’m sure someone can enlighten me on why I’m wrong.

    1. JTHinton

      No, I agree 100%. When we played GT, we played up and went to a much better bowl b/c the entire conference except us had played in it before and we just beat UL on the road.

      Last year, Northwestern went 9-3 in the Big10 and was sent to a bowl that they were better than.

  15. BluemanGreen

    What toilet did this post overflow out of?

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      The toilet store

  16. Cincy Cayt

    Yes. I can always sugarcoat it if we lose, but I 100% care to win

  17. My Dixie Wrecked

    Bowl games are a measuring stick on good a team is really. UK doesn’t play quality out of conference teams and being in the back to middle of the SEC doesn’t tell you how good the team is. The bowl game against a quality, out of conference opponent, bringing their “A” game, is the only true way to see how good the team is. 0-2 speaks volumes.

    1. cats646

      Yea, Louisville did amazing in there bowl game last year didn’t they, limp dick.

    2. My Dixie Wrecked

      I don’t know, did they? Also, you want the word “their”, not “there”.

    3. cats646

      But you do know. They did not. And don’t point out grammar on a message board. That’s just too petty.

  18. Craig

    There’s discontent because:

    1) Yes we won 7 games in back to back seasons, but it’s largely because the SEC East is the weakest it’s ever been, the weakest division in all the power conferences. We’re a mediocre team winning (and losing) ugly games against other mediocre teams. Compared to the Brooks era we get Missouri instead of another West team, Tennessee blows now, and while we are STILL losing to them, Florida has been bad.

    2) We are getting absolutely blown out multiple times a year. That leaves a bad taste in the mouth and makes one doubt how good our team really is.

    3) Similarly, we are struggling to beat bad teams. The EKUs of the world play us competitive late in the game.

    4) Bowl game losses, which end the season on a down note. This is, to me, the LEAST important of the four.

    None of this inspires confidence that we are a good football team that is going to win games against good football teams, and that is going to put away lesser opponents. Just based on our schedule this year, I’m expecting 6-6. Which is better than awful but not where the hype of the past several years would lead you to expect our program has been headed.

    1. JTHinton

      It can’t be weaker than the big ten (non Ohio st, penn st, mich), or the PAC12 north. Georgia went to the title game!!!

  19. Halfway 2 BioHazard

    Would I like to play motorboat with Kate Upton? You bet your ass.

  20. nickwheatley23

    100% matters. You wouldn’t play the game if it didn’t matter

  21. UKFootballYall

    Was this article born from a recent conversation with our disconnected AD, Mitch? I bet he can effectively rationalize that these bowl games don’t matter, but they sure matter to fans and players.

    It gets tiring how low expectations are for this program. After 5 years of building a program with a coach we are talking about hoping to get to 6 wins? Instead of working on Stoops’ next unnecessary contract extension maybe Mitch should start thinking about bringing in a proven, top tier coach with all the necessary skills instead. To achieve more there must be higher goals and expectations first. I put it to you Mitch!!

  22. TJY

    Yes.

  23. Cmstew502

    If winning doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t be playing or watching sports…. unless it’s soccer

  24. jos_ros_

    it matters to me because sometimes a bowl game is the one game i might go to all year so of course i want them to win

  25. Lip Man 1

    Nick: There in lies the rub as was once written. The ONLY bowl games UK gets into are the third tier or worse ones…and they can’t even win those.

    And you can make the case that the only reason they even qualify for those type bowl games is because they have three or so small conference gimme wins on the schedule every single year.

    This program still has a long way to go in my opinion.

  26. Wade

    Would you rather beat Florida and miss the bowl game ,or lose to Florida and beat northwestern in a bowl game.

  27. kjd

    Yes, it matters. It’s about momentum, recruiting, finishing with a positive.
    If it doesn’t matter then why play the hobbled, limping Stephen Johnson? Give your experienceless QB some actual game reps. Play the younger guys. It’s all about that extra practice, AND some game reps.

  28. JPGott2

    So if UK ever made it to a BCS bowl I guess that wouldn’t matter, right? With the rationality, what is the point to the entire season then??

    Trying to rationalize our poor bowl performances is terrible.

    Trying to get click bate from this fan base is worse.

  29. LexWildcatFan15

    It’s not the trophy itself that matters in the bowl game, but about what that win represents: beating another quality opponent, one that is relatively close to our team in ability and talent. Our 7 win seasons consist of 3 teams that aren’t Power-5 conference teams, and one of them is typically an FCS opponent: so really we have 4 decent wins each year.

    That being said, I think the next step is to start winning these bowl games, not for the trophy, but for the pride and validation for the fans, and the players themselves that we can consistently beat opponents at/above our level.

  30. kybirdieman

    Stupid question. He’ll yes!

  31. davisfeathers

    Yes it matters. That’s the whole problem with UK football. They aren’t good at winning.

  32. CombatMedic_98

    The goal is to win them all…not just a Bowl Game!

  33. Mark D

    Of course I want Kentucky to “win” a bowl game. With that being said…I do believe Bowl Games are becoming more and more irrelevent since the playoffs began in college football. It’s as if all other bowl games have become the NIT of football. Star players are sitting out and there are a lot of empty seats.

    1. Bluebloodtoo

      While i agree with you, that general opinion will not be good for college football. For the conferences, bowl games are about revenue. When fan interest wanes, revenue will wane. And that will be a big argument against a football playoff system.

  34. Bluebloodtoo

    Do i care? I’m guessing every fan wants to win every game. But… How important is it? Those are different questions…

  35. sprtphan

    Participation trophy? He’ll no. Games are played on this level to determine a winner.

  36. UoKFB PHAN

    Mr. Roush, Due to the extreme foolish nature of your question I simply refuse to give an answer. In its place, I offer something better; an assignment for you. Here’s the assignment; The next time you see Mark Stoops face-to-face you ask him if winning a bowl game matters. If you don’t have access to Coach Stoops, then ask Vince Marrow or one of the other coaches. If you don’t have access to the coaching staff, then ask one of the players that are busting their tail in the weight room, film room and classroom if winning every game, bowl or not, matters.

    After reading all the responses to this point, I think we all know what the fans think…. and I feel relatively confident every coach and player on the team would say the same thing. IF you can provide us with a link to Coach Stoops saying a bowl win does not matter, then please share it with all of us. If he, or any of the coaching staff, doesn’t believe all the games matter then I think UK fans know exactly where the main problem with UK football lies. Rant completed…

  37. JD

    Of course it matters. Very gamr matters. That’s a stupid question. If we continue to lose them fans are going to stop going to them. This past year was excusable because we got hosed by the refs but starting this year we need to start winning them or we will either stall or take a step back as a program.

  38. JD

    Since when is a bowl game an exhibition game? I thought it was post season play. I guess the ncaa tournament doesn’t matter either.

  39. JD

    I don’t complain often but this is the stupidest article I’ve ever seen on this site.

  40. Alleykat16

    Yes it matters. This is kind of a stupid ? to ask a fan base really. As a fan you want you team to win as many games as possible so that you can brag but also its important to show recruits that the system you play wins games even if you players aren’t as highly ranked. If you can take 2 and 3 star players and win that shows the coaching staff is getting the most out of them players. And to win those bowl games attracts 4 and 5 star players.

  41. chris43

    Let’s be 100% honest…the football team has been decent and much improved but I’m not sure that I’d call them good as this point.

  42. catsfan1995

    Who cares if they win the bowl game lol just making one is an accomplishment. Y’all act like Kentucky is going to compete for a national championship hahaha. Go cats!

  43. cats646

    I honestly think you should look into a different profession Nick. I can handle the numerous grammatical errors on your every post, that’s not a big deal to me. But the stupidity of this one tells me that you are honestly terrible at your job. Good luck in life pal.

    1. Cincy Cayt

      It’s a legit question – don’t be so harsh. Matt and Ryan talked about how they didn’t think winning was as important as making it on the radio show not long ago. I disagree and think it’s important but it’s still a legit take to say otherwise

  44. Aristocat

    With what we’re paying Stoops relative to other programs that ARE winning bowl games, I’d say that yes, it matters a great deal. If we’re going to pay so well, then we should expect laudible results.

  45. notFromhere

    Fan complains 3 times in one comment section for one article,and yet says they aren’t one to complain often… UK

  46. BPatte

    Of course!

  47. runningunnin.454

    “If it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, then why do they keep score?”
    Vince Lombardi

  48. railcat

    Seriously? Nick, please stop writing for this site. Are you really asking if we care that Kentucky wins or loses a game, regardless if it’s a bowl game? Why would anyone want us to lose a game period? What kind of fan would want to read stories on how much our team sucks and continues to lose games? It would take a special kind of dumbass to desire that, much less want to read about it.

  49. dgtuk

    This notion that a bowl game is an exhibition game is one of many inane “insights” from our boy Nick. If it was an exhibition game it would not count on your record. Seems to me they always add that win or loss on when you play in a bowl game. The outcome of bowl games also helps to determine your final ranking in college football… the final measure of seasonal success compared to others. And yes there is just the basic notion that as a fan, if you are going to watch the game, you want your team to win. The suggestion that goes away in a bowl game is just stupid and the justification of that by calling it an exhibition is just a further example of how clueless Nick is.

    Go Cats!

  50. ScottGreene22

    Yes

  51. Dowser

    Do you care if anyone visits your website?

    1. cats646

      ^^^this guy!! He knows what’s up. Ha

  52. CombatMedic_98

    Where is Freddie Maggard?! Hire him back so KSR doesn’t shut down due to questions like this!

  53. allwayzneedit

    “Do you care if Kentucky wins bowl games?” Congratulations Nick. You have asked the stupidest question in the history of sports. WTH would a fan NOT care? You, Matt, Ryan, Drew…..y’all have lost your damn minds if you honestly believe that “its only an exhibition game, it doesn’t matter”.

  54. blueballs80

    Dumb ass question. Seriously. Don’t be offended if you are getting these kinds of comments.

  55. TBW3011

    Somewhat. Not the end of the world by any means, but you can’t lose all of them.

  56. Miller45

    The difference between 7-5 and 10-3 was a grand total of 5 points. Gotta find a way to pull those ones out to take the program to a new level ..