Fans from other schools can say whatever they want about the University of Kentucky football program. They can call it a perennial loser in the SEC. They can say our players don’t stack up with others from the SEC. They can say our primary rival has beaten us 25 straight times. But, the one thing that can not tell us without bold faced lying is that UK HAS ONE OF THE 10 BEST FOOTBALL FANBASES IN THE COUNTRY, when taken into perspective. When you have an Ohio State or USC caliber program, it’s easy to rationalize going to the games. But last season, USC’s worst season in 7 years, they averaged 85% capacity in their stadium. Kentucky averaged 103% capacity for their team.
When you are putting a 6, 7, or 8 win team on the field, most programs would not be selling out those games (cough cough Louisville). Instead, Kentucky ranked 22nd in national attendance last season, while having the 32nd largest stadium. And if you didn’t think the SEC is the premeire conference in America, the conference had 9 of the top 24 average attendances last season:
Average Attendance Nationally
18. South Carolina
Of all the facts and figures I found, the one that was most striking to me, and certainly professes to the amazing fanhood for UK was this: Take a look at the schools who averaged OVER CAPACITY for the 2009 season. A total of 8 schools nationally averaged over 1,000 fans over capacity last season. 6 of them finished in the Top 25 at the end of last season. Another one is Michigan, which obviously has a tradition-rich program. And the 8th is KENTUCKY.
Schools that Averaged Over Capacity
Ohio State (+2,952)
So, despite having the worst program traditionally, and last year having the 2nd worst team on this list, Kentucky still averaged OVER capacity in home attendance. Something only 12 teams total did, or 10% of college football. Miami averaged 60% capacity last season, and finished 17th in the polls.
Look, is Kentucky one of the most PASSIONATE fanbases in the country? No, and there is no argument otherwise you can make. But, it is incredibly impressive, and should be a badge of honor for UK fans, that this fanbase continues to show up game after game, despite having a losing conference record every season since Moses it seems. This fanbase can be seen as the most resilient in the country, that is for sure.