The always entertaining Oscar Combs posed the hypothetical question on Twitter earlier in the week: What Kentucky fans would most want in 2012 with one Christmas wish.
I think that’s a little too obvious (we take banner No. 8, right?), so I’ll up the ante. This time, you have to give something to get something. Understand what you get would be a guarantee, and what you lose is also guaranteed. Would you be willing to sacrifice for a major accomplishment in 2012?
— National Championship in basketball… in exchange for a winless football season and losses to rivals in basketball.
Hanging banner No. 8 sacrifices a lot. This means you have to endure taunting in basketball for the short term, with guaranteed losses coming to Louisville, Tennessee, North Carolina, etc. and a train wreck of a football season. Not only do you lose recruits in football — making the progress Rich Brooks built seem like a lifetime ago — but the divide between Joker and the fans grows wider. Take a title for a god awful football season and loss of bragging rights?
— SEC East championship in football… in exchange for a struggling season in basketball.
A huge season for the Cats sends them to a BCS bowl. Confidence in Joker and the team is restored and a new winning tradition in Kentucky football begins. But the basketball program takes a hit. A struggling season — think Billy Clyde, but worse — puts Kentucky near the bottom of the SEC, which results in a bubble team… For the NIT. Calipari’s top recruits become disinterested, meaning there are more significant long-term effects on the basketball program. Take a revitalized football program for a fading basketball season?
— Beat Louisville in football and basketball… in exchange for limping into March Madness as a 7-seed.
You have guaranteed bragging rights in the state. How about that feeling of total dominance again? Consider the current state of the football teams in Louisville and Lexington; it seems Charlie Strong has the Cardinals on the rebound, while plenty of question marks surround Joker and his staff. Do you want to risk another loss on the gridiron? With this wish, the basketball team has no trouble making the tournament, but late-season struggles have the team reeling. Talent level is still there, but a long, hard road to the Final Four lies ahead. Take dominance over little brother for a possible early exit in March?
— Starting a new winning streak against Tennessee and Florida in football… in exchange for losses in basketball.
One streak already ended, now we can end another in 2012 and begin a streak of our own. Tennessee and Florida both fall to the Cats en route to a surprisingly good season, given the results a season ago. Kentucky’s football program is on the rise while Tennessee and Florida seem to be sinking. But it’s a different story on the hardwood. Kentucky fans hang their hat on success on the court, but four losses are notched up to the Vols and Gators. And say bye-bye to that Rupp Arena winning streak. Take wins against Tennessee and Florida for losses in basketball?
So let’s see where your priorities lie? Is it still solely on basketball like me? If I had one Christmas wish for the Cats in 2012 it’s bringing home the title in New Orleans. I can’t imagine the feeling. I was only nine years old when the Cats won in ’98, and while I remember, I wasn’t emotionally attached like I am now. I would give almost anything to see the Cats win it all while I’m a student.
Merry Christmas. Go Cats.