Who wants to play a game? Last year I wrote a similar post, based off an Oscar Combs tweet, which asked Kentucky fans what they would rather have as their one holiday wish: A National Championship in basketball, an SEC East title in football, wins over Louisville in football and basketball, or a win over Florida in football.
I thought the question was a little too obvious, so I upped the ante. It’s a give and take to find out where your priorities lie. What you get and what you lose is a guarantee, whatever path you take to get there is up to you to decide. Would you be willing to sacrifice for a major athletic accomplishment in 2013? Or would you rather void your holiday wish and keep on the current track?
— Hang banner No. 9 in 2013… in exchange for three more losing seasons in football as fans call for Mark Stoops firing and Mitch Barnhart’s head.
Back-to-back national championships for Kentucky sacrifices a lot. Fans have regained an incredible amount of passion for the UK football brand, and there is huge excitement surrounding the program. Would you be willing to lose it all for a second banner right now? This wish doesn’t say Kentucky can’t win No. 9 (or No. 10 if you take this option) in 2014, or any time after that. But you can guarantee back-to-back championships at the expense of Mark Stoops and the football program.
— Add Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle to the monster 2013 recruiting class… in exchange for the 2012 team collapsing and having one of the worst teams John Calipari has ever coached.
The 2012 season isn’t a lost cause by any means, but if you want to put all your eggs in one basket, would you do it? This holiday wish guarantees Wiggins and Randle pick Kentucky, and join the Harrison twins, Marcus Lee, James Young and Derek Willis, along with anyone you want to speculate will return. It would be the greatest recruiting class of all time, and make the Cats the overwhelming favorite to win the National Title. But to have this, the 2012 team will struggle through the remainder of this season, and become a bubble team by March. Critics jump down Calipari’s throat about his one-and-done system and rival fans are relentless in their mocking. Do you suffer through that to guarantee what lies ahead?
— A National Championship in football as gridiron prominence builds… in exchange for no longer being a “basketball school” — giving way to Duke, UNC, IU or UofL as top dog in college hoops, losing games more often, and generally being an average team.
It would be one of the most shocking turnarounds ever. Mark Stoops is Kentucky’s savior and he builds a losing team into the No. 1 team in the country. As farfetched as it sounds, this holiday wish can guarantee it. But you give up all the basketball fame. The hoops program doesn’t turn into a loser, but it is nothing like it was. UK is now a middle-of-the-road SEC team with its ups and downs. But football takes over as king in the bluegrass. Recruiting four- and five-stars in football becomes the norm. Would you flip the scripts on Kentucky athletics if you could?
— Football team winning the SEC East and a berth to the SEC Championship game… in exchange for a losing season of basketball.
If going all-in on Kentucky as football school, in exchange for losing the basketball doesn’t suit your fancy, would you take the basketball wins and give them to football? This holiday wish guarantees an SEC East title and a trip to the SEC Championship game and the possibility of a BCS Bowl. But the basketball team will suffer greatly. Do you give the football team an opportunity to build something big, as the basketball team takes a huge step back?
— Football program blossoming under Mark Stoops over next two seasons; growing into a contender in the SEC East… in exchange for basketball program regressing over next two seasons; limping into March and busting out early.
Finally, a third option for the football team’s advancement is a subtle climb to the top. With this wish, you can guarantee the next two seasons sees dramatic improvement on the gridiron and recruits take notice. Stoops builds a winning tradition and the SEC is on high alert of a new conference foe. But basketball slides and John Calipari is beside himself. It appears talent doesn’t solve all the problems, as attitudes and will to win fail to take hold with his youngsters. Would you give up a dominating run in basketball for a new found sense of dominance in football?
So where do your priorities lie? Are you only focused on basketball and would be willing to sacrifice anything football-related to see Calipari’s Cats win? Or have you taken notice of what Mark Stoops has, and can do, and are willing to see it grow at the expense of basketball? Does coming off a championship season in basketball change your mind at all?
What is your one Christmas wish?