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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: We Have Lots of Rivals, But Do We Have Friends?


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Louisville, Duke, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina.  These are Kentucky’s biggest rivals and that hatred runs deep for many.  They are who we judge ourselves against, and our hate shows no bounds.  And the rivalries are where a lot of fans focus their attention.

But, I was talking to a buddy the other day about the team’s we love to LOVE.  The teams that Kentucky fans have a soft spot in our hearts for, and can bring ourselves to cheer for, assuming they are not playing the Cats.  So based off his comments to me and some theories I have, here are some potential for teams I am calling our “friends”:

1) The In-State Schools Outside of Louisville

-The other 3 major sports schools in the state take a special place in our hearts.  And that’s even considering WKU has a recent win against Kentucky in basketball and 2 in football.  EKU played the Cats pretty tough in the NCAA Tournament in 2005.  But I can tell you that I saw serious support behind Murray State from UK fans in the NCAA tournament, and when WKU made the Sweet 16 in 2008, the UK fanbase got behind them.  When Morehead State beat UL in the NCAA’s, we were all Eagles fans for a day. I think it’s for one simple reason: those schools understand where they are on the hierarchy and don’t attempt to act too big for their britches, as my grandmother would say.  Yes, sometimes those fans think UK dodges them on the schedule but they don’t think they are equal programs.

For me, part of the reason we hate UL so much is they think their program compares to ours, despite EVERY FACT pointing to something different.  If Louisville just settled for the 2nd best program in the state, gave it their best shot against UK every year, maybe just maybe UK fans would soften up on them.  But that will never happen, so the hate just grows.  Thus, we cheer for our in-state brothers, and hate on the Little Brother.

2) Michigan State (Basketball)

-I don’t know if you will find a better liked and respected coach from other fanbases than Tom Izzo.  Michigan State knocked UK out of the tournament in 1999 and 2005, and yet I found myself cheering for them in the Final Four.  You get the sense, whether accurate or not, that Izzo runs a clean program.  His guys always seem to overachieve, and he always seems to have a group of  players who talk very little and play very hard.   Hell, many still argue Izzo was destined to be UK’s next coach if his team hadn’t made the Final Four in 2009.  Izzo is passionate about his team without being arrogant and he is maybe the best game-planner in the game today.  And I think fans can respect that.

3) Vanderbilt (Football)

-Their basketball team is annoying.  Always has been, always will be.  But the football team is kinda endearing, like watching the kid in right field struggle to catch a fly ball in Little League, even if he is on the other team.  I think Kentucky football fans can relate so much to the Vanderbilt football program.  There are just so many obstacles to overcome for both programs, and that common bond makes them easy to cheer for.  Their fans couldn’t care two craps about the team, but I always find the players to be easy to root for.  If they have success, that should tell us that we can have success.  And in the same way, their suckiness has always propped up Kentucky and masked the fact that we suck so many times in football.

So, am I wrong in saying their are teams that we cheer for as a fanbase outside of our own school?  Should we just hate everybody?  And is there somebody I am missing?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

18 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: We Have Lots of Rivals, But Do We Have Friends?”

  1. Smyrna_Cat

    Yes, you are wrong.

  2. ClutchCargo

    There is nothing endearing about the Vandy football team. It’s like they believe the only way to beat us is to try to start a fight in pregame and take cheap shots at every opportunity. If that’s not enough, how about this: Jay Cutler.

  3. RackEmWillie

    I hate Vandy, overall, because of their fans. And I don’t like Michigan State. And I really didn’t like WKU when they were “good” at football.

    Vandy and WKU because they both have a weird sense that they belong in the elite conversations any time they are even remotely good.

    And, I just don’t like Michigan State.

  4. Huntdaddy

    I’ve always considered Georgia a friend. We hate the same folks: Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, etc. when I came down to Athens for football a couple years ago, they were some of the nicest and welcoming folks I have ever encountered.

    If we don’t win the SEC, I’d rather see UGA win it than anyone else.

  5. Bruce Dickinson

    I went to school at Morehead and the majority of students that I hung out with were big UK fans. Typically the ones that weren’t, came from out of state.

  6. 3Goggles

    Tom Izzo is scum and gets a free pass from the media just like Bill Self. Not only that, but Michigan State was responsible for one of the most heartbreaking NCAA tournament losses I have experienced.

    1. Nugget01

      I couldn’t agree more. And there’s the whole alleged gang rape incident by the MSU basketball players that administrators allegedly encouraged the victim to keep quiet and all the other rape stuff that happened there (not just the gymnastics program.) It was less than 2 years ago when most were saying that Izzo couldn’t possibly survive these scandals…how soon we forget.

    2. rickwhitetx

      Don’t know about Izzo, never met him. But, I did sit in the nosebleed section in 2005 with a group of Spartan fans. They were very nice and complimentary about our team. The double overtime didn’t end our way, but we all had a real good time.

  7. StillBP

    I try not to comment on BTI posts but I failed today. You got me with the Vandy football thing. Hell no. I went to a game there when UK played them and the fans were total assholes. It was when they had James Franklin and thought they were actually good at football…right before he dumped them. They ran their mouths at us the whole time and any time we tried to take a picture with our group of friends, they’d photo bomb it and hold up their stupid V fingers. I hate them.

    1. RackEmWillie

      This has been pretty much my same experience with Vandy fans. And if they’re not good, they just don’t go to the games. I remember going to a game in Nashville when Brooks was still the coach, and it was a majority of UK fans in the stands. Vandy fans might be the worst, simply because they either don’t care when they’re bad or treat themselves like a blue blood when they’re above .500

    2. StillBP

      so true, RackEm

    3. ClutchCargo

      I have had similar experiences. This is why I enjoy a good beat down of Vandy more than I probably should.

  8. J-Dub421

    No. We have no friends. All other teams and fan bases hate us. We are on our own. Kentucky against the world.

    1. Smyrna_Cat

      Per the shirts. This.

    2. ClutchCargo

      Kentucky against all y’all!

  9. runningunnin.454

    Mercer and Lehigh are friends. They sent Dook home early, too.

    1. ClutchCargo

      Then that makes them my friends, too!

  10. Rod Crandler

    Izzo is a Ratface wanna be. Bitches at the refs almost as much as K.