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At some point this season, UK football is going to make you happy


“Stay with us.” That is the message to Big Blue Nation from UK senior defensive lineman Collins UkwuWhen asked what he would want to tell UK fans during SEC Media Days, Ukwu continued: “At some point this season, we’re going to make you happy. And it all starts with the Louisville game. We feel like that’s a tempo-setter for us this season.”

At some point this season (hopefully more than one or two times), Collins Ukwu promises that UK football is going to make you very happy. Maybe it will make you happy because you’ll realize that basketball is just around the corner, or maybe the tailgating at Commonwealth Stadium will make you happy. Despite the disappointing overall outcome of last season, you’re lying to yourself if you weren’t very happy after that Tennessee win Remember when UK football used to make everyone happy Seriously, even before Coach Brooks started the bowl streak, we enjoyed football season much more than we do now, even when three or four wins were the norm. The taste of success we enjoyed from 2006-2010 has now raised our expectations for the football team by quite a bit. Raising expectations is a good thing, but let’s remember where we’ve come from and try to enjoy this upcoming season.

I do think that Ukwu is right. There are good moments awaiting us this football season, but the question is when will they come? Here are some of my picks:

Sept 2nd at Louisville: After an entire off-season of L-raising by Card fans, guaranteeing undefeated seasons by Card players, and premature creations of Charlie Strong Maker’s Mark bottles, could you imagine how sweet this win could be? I cannot remember any off-season where there has been more trash talk around this game and it being so one sided, especially when it is so
unwarranted (yes Louisville, we know you beat us by 7 points last year for the first time since 2006). The Cards have a lot coming back from a bowl team a year ago, but let’s not get carried away about a 7-6 Big East team from a year ago. Kentucky can win this game, and after all of the talk we’ve listened to this summer, it would rank up there among some of the most enjoyable UK football wins ever against Louisville.

Sept 22nd at Florida: The Gators are the only major losing streak remaining that the Cats haven’t taken care of, and it’s absolutely not an impossible game to win for Kentucky. UF is coming off of a 7-6 (3-5 SEC) season and Kentucky-killer Chris Rainey is gone. It will be tough to go and win down in Gainesville, even if talent is down at Florida, but expect the Cats to at least come close enough to give us hope at several moments throughout the game. If the Cats make a game of it, you’ll smile a few times and be glad that you watched.

October 27th at Missouri: If you make the trip, you’ll be happy you did just because it’s a new and fun place to visit. Columbia,  MO is home to great barbecue and St. Louis can be a fun pit-stop on your way there. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, a downtown Columbia party zone named “Tiger Town” will open up this football season:

The latest Tiger Town ideas include beer tents on streets closed to the public, parties on the top floors of parking garages and open alcohol containers allowed downtown. The environment aims to better align with traditions found in the Southeastern Conference, the conference MU will call home next fall.

Need I say more?? Whatever the outcome of the game on the field, the Missouri game will likely make you happy if you decide to make the trip.

November 24th at Tennessee: However ugly the season may turn out, UK fans can walk into Neyland Stadium with their chests out and heads up high for the first time in over 26 years with a chance to make it two wins in a row over the Vols. Now that the streak is finally over, hopefully players will go into the game with a new-found confidence and limit the silly mistakes that have plagued the Cats for so many years in losses to Tennessee. Like Florida, UT is not the same UT anymore, and Kentucky can beat the Volunteers again this year. Given all the circumstances of last year’s improbable win with a wide receiver playing quarterback, you have to feel good about UK’s chances while playing an actual quarterback this season. A second win in a row over the Vols, this time in Neyland Stadium, would certainly be something to be happy about.

In addition to these four road games, the home games against Kent State, Western Kentucky, and Samford should bring us W’s to Commonwealth Stadium this fall. A good showing by the Cats in these games resulting in wins, and combined with a fun day of tailgating, should provide at least three more happy days for UK fans this football season. Also, there’s at least one game each season where they introduce the basketball team on the field during a time-out or in-between quarters. That will definitely make you happy. The new three and four game ticket packages are affordable, football season is fun, and in all seriousness, these players deserve your support. Some of the most happy moments in sports come when triumph is least expected, like last year’s win over Tennessee. I’m not asking you to think that everything is well and dandy with the football program, but the season can still give us moments to enjoy. Support these guys and they will give you more than a few things to be happy about, or you can just be grumpy until basketball season starts.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

35 Comments for At some point this season, UK football is going to make you happy

  1. SteveM
    10:37 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    That point will be when the season ends and Joker is fired.

  2. jryan
    10:39 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Id be happy if joker would get us some players so we can compete. Theres a whole team available instate college right now

  3. Bro
    10:40 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Yo Wilmhoff, take the blue blinders off…I love the Cats but this team isn’t winning any of those games. Your lack of football knowledge is astonishing….you make no legitimate case to win any of those games.

  4. Bob Sugar
    10:41 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    “Remember when UK football used to make everyone happy? I believe UK fans took their level of “happiness” to the next level during the Air Raid era and continued through the Rich Brooks era, rather than just starting in 2006. Other than that, the real moment of enjoyment will come at the end of the season when other teams are talking real bowl games and UK is announcing Joker Phillips’ replacement.

  5. Coach Durbin
    10:48 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    For the life of me I don’t understand the overwhelming anger towards anything positive written about the upcoming football season. No one is saying you have to “drink the koolaid” or “put on blue blinders” but there is no reason to assissinate someone every time they try to say they are exicted about the football season. Are we where we want to be? No, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have hope for the future. It must be a miserable existence to be such a negative troll all the time. Why don’t we wait until at least fall practice (or *gasp* maybe wait ’til the season starts) before we start chalking the season up as a loss. Just a thought, GBB!

  6. barn
    10:48 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    ukwu is right about one thing the duhvill game will probably be the tempo setter for the season, unfortunately

  7. Durrrr
    10:52 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    If you fade them every game they will more than likely make you very happy. $$$$

  8. Kentucky Gentleman
    10:57 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think he is saying UK is going to win all of these games, he is just saying there are some things to look forward to, and I agree. I don’t know how a Louisville win would be bittersweet though.

  9. schwing
    11:02 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    two wins over tennessee and dooley is 100% fired.

  10. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    11:08 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Can’t we just give Penn State our football team?

  11. Juan4UK
    11:10 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    My guilt has gotten the better of me and I am absolutely resolved to support this team, and even the staff during the season. It’s the right thing to do. I may [email protected]& about the outcome of a game, but am resolved not to rail against the team or staff during the season, no matter what. I did the same during the last bad year of Brooks tenure (and things changed for the good). Things ended up working out. And I resolved to do the same for Tubby during his last two seasons, and things worked out as they should then. So here I am again, I have reached that point. I am not going to take it out on these kids anymore.

  12. BBN
    11:11 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Absolutely right #1, that happiness will come when the season has concluded and Joker Philips is fired. Then we have a chance to hire a competent football coach.

  13. ThankfulCat
    11:14 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    We will all go to the games and pull for them like always but the results will be horrible. That is why there is no excitement.

    Joker is not a head coach

    He sure is not a SEC head coach.

    Even if he beats UL, there are still 7 losses on the schedule.

    I want a coach here who brings a niche, an edge to UK football. Run the triple option, run the run and shoot. Do something other than be predictable on offense and rely on a defense that is not as talented as last year’s.

  14. ThankfulCat
    11:16 am July 23, 2012 Permalink


    Absolutely agree. The head coach is supposed to teach the game of football, motivate the players and run asystem that gives UK a competitive advantage while recruiting to that system.

    Do you see Joker doing any of that?

    It is absolutely not the kids fault

  15. Crime Dog
    11:23 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    How would beating Louisville be bittersweet? I see nothing bitter about beating them.

  16. Rolo
    11:25 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    It would be nice to at least have a head coach speak clearly and professionally. I’ve never heard Joker actually speak correctly in a public forum, rather sad that his pronunciation is so terrible in many public forums, but yet we expect recruits to want to play for him, or the media to give a damn about the program.

  17. zzzz
    11:27 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    oh sorry you were talking about UK football.

    Joker Fired = Happy

    Mitch Fired = Happy

    UK winning under 10 games in three years….= Not happy

    UK football Talent level = Not happy

    Fans Finally not buying ticket in protest = HAPPY

    UK footbalzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  18. B;uey
    11:37 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    5 – It’s mostly UL trolls.

  19. Big Blue B-Rad
    11:46 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Florida has been down the last couple years. However, the game is typically a blowout because of uk’s mentality. For whatever reason, they play like they already lost the game before it even started. Any hope of a win is typically dashed the first couple minutes when ‘they can’t get out of their way’. In high school, I played for a football team that had a lousy tradition. So I know how hard it is to change that culture that’s used to losing. They were able to finally beat Tennessee, so there is hope. I’m just not counting on a win against Florida.

  20. Dave in Bangkok
    12:12 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Expectations for UK Football are at their lowest point since Bill Curry.

    Where has this child been?

  21. CatGrad7072
    12:19 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    UK fans going to the UT game in Knoxville on Nov. 24th. YEAH RIGHT! Not even if Joker had the team bus stop by my condo and pick me up……

  22. jryan
    12:56 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    How about going after barry switzer? Hes sitting around doing. Hes legendary but im sure he wouldbt wanna destroy his legacy by coming here.

  23. Billy Bass
    12:59 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    When did KSR get on UK’s payrole? No one is saying that they don’t support the players…what we are not supporting is UK taking advantage of moderate success over the past few years with increased ticket prices, increased minimum donations, and severly increased parking passes. Where is the product to support these price increases? BBN is many things, but not stupid. Mitch will see that when he is seeing more empty seats than fans in the stands! And for Joker to say that decreased season ticket sales is due to finiancial reasons? No, we bought tickets when gas was over $4.00/gallon. Decreased ticket sales is due to the fact that the product on the field (coaching) does not justify the price that UK wants to charge.

  24. Common Sense
    1:15 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    I wish UK football fans would relax and think about what they are saying. “Can’t wait for Joker to be fired after this season”, why should we wish this on a man that hasn’t proven that he’s not the right man for the job? “Hey ‘Common Sense’ did you watch last season?” Well yes I sure did, EVERY SECOND OF IT. I noticed that we lost Cobb before the season and also highly talented WR Darryl Collins. Then we lost another rising star in Josh Clemons, and Newton/Smith/Sanders were DTD for a lot of the season. So I ask what did you really expect from the offense when they suffered major losses? Looking forward, YOU CAN’T EXPECT MUCH FROM THIS YEARS TEAM BECAUSE THEY ARE YOUNG!!! Therefore, Joker DESERVES 4 years, if this team doesn’t go to a bowl game in 4 years, THEN I think Joker is not right for the job. And if you think Mitch is a bad AD, then you have serious problems. UK athletics from top to bottom have greatly improved during his tenure, better than any previous AD.

  25. asdf
    1:25 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Ironic that Bowden is now the winningest FB coach in D-1 history, mainly because his own reputation-destroying, career-ending scandal only cost him two seasons of wins (14)…

  26. downtownlex
    1:31 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Lord help this writer. He not only drank the kool-aid, it is spiked with some serious moonshine. UK *MAYBE* wins two games this year. Here is my prediction: UK loses to Louisville by at least 10, eeks out a close win over Kent State and then gets humiliated at home by WKU by 7 or more points. At that point, Joker should be fired (but probably won’t be). In the end, UK will have a new coach come 2013….I just hope it is not too late.

    1:33 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks for putting up the picture of the UT win from last year. Reminded me that it indeed was special.

    #25. Also Ironic that the last Penn Sate QB to record a win was…..
    Mike (rythmic skin slapping) McQueary

  28. ohhai
    1:37 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    24 if frogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their azz a hoppin. Joker fired a rock solid, well respected O-line coach in favor of a recruiter and as a result an offensive line that was supposed to be the strength of our team last year was absolutely atrocious. Why is this team young? Did joker take a few years off of recruiting? Did he not realize players graduate after 4 years? Honestly it wouldn’t surprise me. And any AD that doesn’t do enough homework to realize he is hiring an abusive / alcoholic / introvert to the biggest stage in college basketball is no daisy if you ask me

  29. Common Sense
    1:38 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    And it’s people like you that can just stay away from the program. Always negative, pesimistis, factless statements that come out of your mouth. Just shut up and leave.

  30. Rockfield, KY
    1:44 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    If fans don’t buy tickets, where is the revenue coming from to afford a good coach, and what coach wants to come to a school that doesn’t support its players?

  31. haha
    1:48 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    #30 – HAHAHHA and if you don’t agree with me you agree with the Terrorist….right?!

  32. Dr. Funke
    1:57 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    26- UK wins maybe 2 games?? Are you serious? UK will win at least 5 next year including UL.

  33. buzzard
    2:47 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink

    #5 & # 11- thank you.
    Bashing the ream right now does no good at all. Joker is our coach and the players we have are all proud to to be Cats.
    Some of these stupid people remind me of when everyone was bashing Tubby Smith and someone said, “It would be just our luck that he (Tubby) wins the National Championship. Then we would be stuck with him.”

    I totally agree Common Sense.

    GO CATS!!! Beat Louisville!!

  34. Beavis
    3:41 pm July 23, 2012 Permalink


  35. Ryan
    2:00 pm July 24, 2012 Permalink

    Just wanted to point something out. The post is great but I’m a student at mizzou now and was born and raised in MO and I hate to be a kill joy but Columbia is not known for its BBQ nor does it really have that many BBQ restaurants (only one that I can think of). It’s Kansas City that is famous for its BBQ. Anyway I just thought I would put that out there for anyone who was looking forward to BBQ while in Columbia. That being said the down town area is a great restaurant and bar scene and I highly recommend eating at Flat Branch Brewing Co. It’s a local micro-brewery and restaurant with great food and drinks (particularly the beer).