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Barnhart says ‘offense sells tickets’. Will he be proven correct?

Attendance wasn’t quite this bad last night, but will it improve?


Well hello Big Blue Nation. I’m baaack. As some of you may know, I’ve spent the past month relocating to Bristol, CT to start a new job at ESPN. After taking some time off from KSR, moving 760 miles away from my Fort Mitchell, KY home, and settling in at ESPN, I started to get the urge to write for KSR again…especially during Louisville Hate Day. After getting the urge to post again, and being granted the permission from the powers above me at ESPN, I’m excited to say that I’m back. I’ll continue to stop by on Sundays and occasionally during the week when I can. Also, let me take this time to make a shameless plug for the ESPN College Football app, which I have been working on as a content editor. I promise you won’t be disappointed, and like KSR, it’s free.

Speaking of not being disappointed, the 48,356 fans that did show up at Commonwealth Stadium last night did not go home disappointed. The defense is still suspect, but the offense is really, really fun to watch. The Cats have a talented group of receivers and Max Smith is putting up numbers we haven’t seen since Andre Woodson. The running game has also been solid, and will only get better when Josh Clemons is in the mix. The Louisville game was kind of a disaster, but let’s face it, Louisville is very good this year. Would you rather give up 466 yards to Louisville, or 550 yards to Louisiana Monroe (ahem, Arkansas)? Yes, the defense isn’t great, but we’re not the only SEC team with problems after two weeks. Offensively, in two games, Max Smith has already completed 65 passes on the year. In 2011, Morgan Newton didn’t reach the 65 completion mark until October 1st, the fifth game of the season (h/t @KernalPorter). The point is, an exciting brand of football is back at Commonwealth Stadium.

Will the new-found offense translate into wins in the SEC? Will it get us to a bowl game? Will it put fans in the seats? I’m not sure, but I do know that the offense will put us in a much better position to win SEC games, and to possibly make a bowl. The bottom line is that this season is going to be more fun than it was a year ago. It’s nobody’s responsibility to go to a football game, but if you do, you’ll probably have a lot more fun than you did in 2011 when the team averaged 12 points a game in SEC play (unless maybe if you only went to the Tennessee game). I know Kent State is far from an SEC team, but Kentucky scored only 14 points in its 2011 opener against Western Kentucky and 27 points against Central Michigan in week two. 47 against Kent State is a significant improvement.



Kentucky is without a doubt, leaps and bounds, better offensively and more entertaining to watch as a whole than a year ago. It’s hard to say whether the improvement will translate into SEC wins or not, but you’d think it would translate into more fans coming out to watch them, right? Mitch Barnhart at least thinks and hopes so. Last week, Barnhart told the Herald Leader that “offense sells tickets”.

“When offense is struggling a little bit, people get disenchanted real quick,” said Barnhart.

Is Barnhart correct? Kentucky football has had a lot of high scoring teams in the past, with poor defenses. Many of these UK teams in the past didn’t win a whole lot of games, especially in the SEC, but they put fans in the seats because they were exciting to watch. Will Barnhart be proven correct? Now that the team has given us a little bit of excitement on the offensive side of the ball, will more fans start to show up, or will it take a big SEC win? Can the team do anything this year to get much of the fan base back, or will it take sustained success?

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

17 Comments for Barnhart says ‘offense sells tickets’. Will he be proven correct?

  1. nathan
    9:36 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink


  2. Greg Alan Edwards
    9:36 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    It should read ” a winning offense sells tickets”. I can appreciate Mitch trying to build things up and work off of the Kent St. game, but the truth is that there needs to be a LOT more of what we saw Saturday night before folks are going to get back on the bandwagon. Beat a couple SEC teams with that offense and things should start looking up.

  3. nathan
    9:37 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    That’s right….. I’m the best!

  4. Tired of losing
    9:55 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    show me some w’s

    I’ve heard all the excuses

    time to win

  5. UKBlue1!
    9:56 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Kent State was a built in win. UK is going to have to play a whole lot better to beat a SEC school. I just dont see more than 3-4 wins on this schedule. The defense looks like they dont know what they are doing. The offense seemed like they got it together in the second half. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

  6. Joe
    10:16 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Offense does sell tickets, but defense wins. Wait until UK plays the tought SEC defenses. We won’t score. I know Missouri lost to Georgia last night, but even Missouri will beat UK in football, and Mississippi State beat Auburn. Enjoy it while it lasts, because Florida went into Tex AM and won, and Tex AM is tough at home. Come September 22 at the swamp, Florida will put a beating on UK. Then South Carolina will thump UK at Lexington, as Marcus Lattimore will run for over 200 yards. Keep talking Barnhart…meanwhile give away more free tickets to make it look like fans are showing up. The football program is in dire straits.

  7. WERUK
    10:21 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    A Top 25 team in UofL had a smaller crowd yesterday along with USC and Syracuse being smaller.

  8. Big J
    10:42 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    I’m sorry but joker is not the man. Never was the right choice. I for one will not attend another football game until we get a real coach. Beating a lower level MAC team is no big accomplishment. As an alum and a longtime BigBlue fan, I’ve been there through the highs and lows, but this is train wreck and I’m done. The Louisville massacre was a total embarrassment.

  9. woody's barber
    11:30 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    If offense sells tickets, hire Petrino and we will sell out every game. Guy is an offensive guru.

  10. jill's a dumbazz
    11:56 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Mitch is full of it…wins sell tickets. Mitch needs to leave and take Joker with him.

  11. Jared1985
    1:28 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    While our offense did look good tonight it was against a MAC team, and not even one of the better ones. Our rushing defense has looked awful and against Florida and SC espscially that is going to get us killed. I have wanted a big offensive coach for years but in all honesty I think hiring a big name defensive assistant who is also a good recruiter might be the direction the programs needs to head in.

  12. carnifex
    2:13 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    Barney is a shill. Offenses are entertaining, but wins put asses in the seats. And the only reason we are entertaining is because Joker is coaching out of his comfort zone. He knows his ass is at stake. He knows he can’t continue punting on fourth and 2. But as soon as the whip comes off the horse, he’s back to plodding along. I don’t trust either man to make the right choice.

    Barney! Hey Barney! Call me when we win more than 2 in the SEC.

  13. Yabba Do
    6:41 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    Simply put, if you can’t play defense in the SEC, you lose a lot.

  14. BBN
    8:11 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    Hey mitch – put your money where your mouth is! Give joker an extention (and raise) and let’s see if any level of offense puts butts in the seats. Showing offense against Kent St is one thing – let’s see what we do against the SEC (I’m guessing not much). We could put 500+ yards on every team the rest of the way – but if our D gives up 1000+ (it could happen) what does it matter.

    Our HC and AD need to be sent packing.

    Love how the spin machine went crazy after the BIG W against Kent St. Hell, we even got heart warming stories outta this game…

  15. rnewton22
    8:11 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky football needs for Joker to be successful. If we fire him and start over it will be years before we have a good program.

  16. MattJonesisTheEricDanielsofUKMedia
    8:26 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    Who told Minter that a 3 man front, with no one else blitzing, can ever beat a 5 or 6 man front? You can not stop a run, and you give the QB so much time he will pick you apart. (check UL tape)

  17. bbmike
    9:44 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    #15-I’m with you. We need Joker to be successful. For the folks complaining-you missed a heck of a good time last Saturday.