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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Do we Cheer for Our Rivals to Do Well (Except against UK)

To me, this is one of the hardest things for a fan to decide: would you rather beat your rival when they are good, meaning they are successful outside of playing UK?  Or do we want our rivals to lose every single game, making a UK win less meaningful?  We batted this idea around the workplace last week and got some interesting responses.  The 2 sides of the argument are fairly simple:

1. You NEVER cheer for a rival

-I can understand this thinking.  THEY ARE YOUR RIVAL.  By almost definition, you want to wish them the worst luck possible outside of their players getting hurt.  You can’t call yourself a Big Blue Fan while also hoping Tennessee and Louisville win some games.  It’s part of being of being a fan.  It’s not just having passion for your team, it’s hating the opponent, especially the rivals.  And not only can you not cheer for rival, but anybody you know that cheers for a rival to win games should immediately be banished from your group of friends.

2. Beat your rival at their best

-The other side of the coin says you would rather beat a rival’s good team than some dog awful team.  But to get the best side of your rival, you also have to hope they win a bunch of games.  When you think about memorable wins in the history of the UL basketball rivalry, you remember the win in the Final Four more than the win in 2000.  Why?  Because UL had a good team that year.  But, you had to hope for them to win 4 games to get that chance to crush their hearts.  In football, did it feel better to beat those awful Kragthorpe UL teams, or beating some of the good John L. Smith teams?  So, some would argue they’d rather play a good team than a bad team, just to get a better win.

I think this debate takes an even more interesting tone when talking about the University of Kentucky.  Because what defines the program as much as the success is the passion.  And the rivalries that go with that too.  Games against Tennessee, Louisville, Florida (basketball), North Carolina, Indiana, even Duke every so often are what excites the fans most.  But the only reason those rivalries are as good as they are is because the opponent is generally very good.  We don’t have a rivalry with Auburn in basketball because they suck.  So in a sense, our rivals success is what makes part of who we are.

What do you think?  Do you believe in hoping our rivals are good (thus winning) so our victories over them are sweeter?  Or is part of being a fan hoping for the worst in your rivals successes?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

31 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Do we Cheer for Our Rivals to Do Well (Except against UK)

  1. Dumb
    9:01 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Stupid. You never cheer for a rival… EVER!!!

  2. Option #1
    9:05 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Never, EVER cheer for a rival. If they happen to be doing well when you beat them, it is just a nice coincidence. Hit the nail on the head when wishing everything bad on them outside of player injuries. I want our rivals to know they are inferior and wallow in the filth that they are. It’s not “good for the state” or any of that bs. I hope Louisville loses every game and we beat them by 100. They are the rival, they are hated. Same goes for turdsicle orange volunteers and holier than though pukies

  3. Teachable Mo'
    9:08 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    If sports had no impact on lives after the game was over, sure, don’t cheer for a rival. Since people obviously let sports have an effect, the answer isn’t “don’t cheer for a rival.” The answer is, “Don’t let sports have any effect on your life outside of the game.”

  4. Musehobo
    9:13 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Depends on the Rival.

    UL- NEVER cheer for UL. Never.

    Duke, UNC, Kansas- same

    UT- I’ll root for UT if they’re playing a non-SEC team in the tourney.

    In the event that “never” teams play each other, you don’t root. You “hate watch” and make fun of how white the DUKE players are, how the UNC players don’t go to class, and how Kansas thinks they’re us. I think as a team becomes less of a rival, like UT, it’s easier to root for them in certain circumstances.

    If UL loses all their games for the rest of my life, I will be a happy person. I will make fun of you for wearing a UL jersey, and I will rub it in for all eternity.

  5. Corman
    9:23 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    The only time I cheer for a rival (and cheer really isn’t the best word; it’s more like I don’t actively root against them) is if their win directly helps my team. Like, if Louisville played a highly ranked team the week before they played us, I wouldn’t be upset if UL won, because then our win looks all the better if we beat them.

  6. NotSatire
    9:26 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve noticed that rival hatred ebbs and flows with different situations. We used to hate LSU in b-ball, now it’s…meh. IU was meh, now it’s white-hot.
    In b-ball I can’t stand IU, Duke, or Louisville. In football, UT, South Carolina, Louisville. I can’t think of a game that I wanted these teams to win.

  7. JDH
    9:29 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I agree 100% with No. 5.

  8. tom
    9:32 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    The older I get the less ‘hate’ I have for our rivals. I like to see L-ville do well except against us, of course because they are a KYT school. Same for Western, Eastern etc.

    I don’t like to see KU or UNC win because they are close to UK in the all-time win category. But it doesn’t bother me if they do win.

    I certainly root against UCLA having a great team because I don’t want them to move further ahead in the NCAA titles race. We have a real chance to get close to them or even catch over the next few years.

    BUT I am always happy when Dook loses.

    Guess I’m a lot like #2 though. I don’t let these things affect me as much anymore. There are a lot of things in life that are more important.

  9. Nick
    9:32 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Whenever Louisville plays against anyone but UK, I root for them to win. Whenever Duke plays, I root for a large structure fire.

  10. SeaCat
    9:39 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I agree 100% with # 5!
    BTI your question was silly.

  11. JackB
    9:41 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    When UL plays, lose. When Duke or UNC plays, lose. When IU plays, lose. When Duke, IU, UNC and UL play each other, I go with Nick’s structure fire option, but I root against the highest ranked team mostly – or against UL if it is close at all.

    When the SEC plays non-SEC, go SEC team – even if the team is a rival – meaning only Florida (under Billy D) or Tennessee (based solely on history) nowadays.

    Always root against UNC, Duke, UL, UCLA, and IU on national title issues. UL because they are UL – the rest because they are rivals for most all time championships with UK.

    Everything else is subjective.

    If you disagree with me, you are an idiot, unless you have a personal reason for liking one of these teams, like Pitino if your undisclosed father or you sell a ton of pink shirts to Roy Williams.

  12. PhilUK18
    9:56 am July 29, 2013 Permalink


    What’s with the SEC love fest? If Tennessee plays ANYONE you cheer for them to lose, same with Florida. You’re the idiot for thinking your “SEC over everyone else” way of thinking is the only legitimate one.

  13. James
    9:57 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I was harassed by random UofL fans for not cheering for their team to win the title.

    I wasn’t cheering against them, I just wasn’t cheering for them and they still gave me grief about it. I asked them if they cheered for Kentucky to beat Kansas in their title game and both fans stared at me with blank faces.


  14. Inspector Underwear
    10:00 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I will NEVER pull for ul or iu! I want everything bad possible to happen for them. I don’t pull for their players to get hurt but if they do, SO WHAT?

  15. John
    10:05 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    NEVER. FAN is short for FANATIC. If you cheer for our rivals please do not refer to yourself as a UK fan. You may refer to yourself as a UK supporter because that is what you are for our rivals when you cheer for them. I myself am a UK FAN(attic). I will never cheer for UL. I will never cheer for PUKE, UNC, UT, FL etc……Ever. As I get older, this has not changed one bit as some of said. So please, if you have ever or plan on ever cheering for our rivals do not call yourself a fan.

  16. Rafters
    10:15 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Some of you all have far too much time on your hands…

  17. The Captain
    10:20 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I hope our rivals lose every game. U of smell, University of No Charge,Puke,UT orange stain, KU, Mich St,IU,FL,and all the others.

  18. Preach!
    10:23 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Hell yeah # 2! A more true statement hasn’t been mumbled since Friday (every single Friday) when somebody exclaims their utter HATE for Not Jerry Tipton. In the case of Louisville basketball they aren’t a rivalry because they are good (i mean damn look at the series record)they are a rival because they have a little brother complex and a flat bill and a line beard and are some of the most obnoxious fans on the planet (except for maybe these new Hoosier fans that have come out of the woodwork recently). If Louisville never won a game that would still be the best game of the season just to watch the total destruction and further deflation of little brother.

  19. Doug Newman
    10:36 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    The only team I even consider as a rival and NEVER cheer for them is the Indiana Hoosiers. I once saw Bobby Knight pull the team off the floor while playing an exhibition game with Russia. I was for Russia. I cheer for Louisville always except when they play the Cats. Other SEC schools I pull for as well EXCEPT Tennessee and Spurrier at South Carolina. The BEST rivalry win for me was when we beat the undefeated Hoosiers in Dayton knocking them out of the tournament in 1975. The following year Indiana went undefeated the last team to do that. It does not get any better then a Hoosier Mike Flynn when cutting the nets down shaking them at the Hoosier fans and Knight’s wife. PRICELESS!

  20. tom
    10:48 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    15. Hi John. Understand. You might have been referring to me about the getting older thing. That sucks doesn’t it! lol

    I just wanted to clarify that I don’t cheer for our rivals, it just doesn’t bother me as much any more. The ONLY team I cheer for is UK. Even kept my UK magnet on the back of our car when visiting Raleigh NC this wknd.

    (I DO cheer however for NC BBQ)

  21. Option #1
    11:00 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Get it Preach, I see you #18! And #15 is correct in saying people are either supporters or fans. It’s fine if you choose to be a supporter over being a fan, but don’t try to call yourself a fan. Own it, just as the fanatics own the clear line in the sand they stand behind.

  22. Death to u of smell
    11:06 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    It is NEVER ok to cheer for any rival 1st of all, but the biggest big blue sin is cheering for the dirty birds down I-64. All these morons that say it is good for the state or whatever other lame justification they usr are morons. If you cheer for ul to do well you are NOT a true blue fan. I wish for EVERY sports program of theirs to lose, even if it’s competitive bug hunting as we as the academic institution itself. I’ll just be bluntly honest here, I wouldn’t lose sleep if the whole city burned.

  23. thats budda
    11:13 am July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Never. I was at the Grove at Ole Miss and just happened to be standing next to Drew after we lost because of turnovers. After the game a large group was huddled around a big ass TV for the end of the LSU vs Tennessee game. Ole Miss HATES the “heathens” from Baton Rouge. When it seemed like Tenn. had won a huge cheer went up. But wait a minute, Huckleberry Dooley had not pulled off his biggest win. Now I enjoyed the hospitality and kindness supplied by the Miss fans very much and appreciated it (you have to go to understand.) But when LSU won and Lil Orange Pants squirted down his leg I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I didn’t. But when Drew looked at me and said “well at least we got that” it made the day so much better. And then Drew found a little pony and the rest is history. I tell this story because I can’t stands them pumpkin gut eatin, garbage truck workin, Lane Kiffin hiring, worthless low down dirty snitches! LOSE LOSE LOSE

  24. green river46
    12:05 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I always pull for SEC teams, except when they play UK.

  25. I guess I am the odd man out
    12:17 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Myself, I pull for a rival team when they play somebody other than Kentucky hope they get a really high ranking just before the Kentucky game just to come in and get smacked around. I guess I’m cruel because if things play out the way I want it to then you don’t just beat them, you crush their hope and with it their spirit. It’s like when Kentucky finally ended that losing streak against Tennessee, it was made all that much sweeter by the fact that Kentucky’s win that day kept Tennessee from going to a bowl game. I live in the southern part of the state and would frequently listen to a sports show out of Knoxville (besides the horrible orange bias it actually had good coverage of sports in general and actually covered Kentucky sports pretty well). For a week leading up to that game everyone on that show was talking about how they were going bowling because there was no way that streak was ending. After the game they were almost advocating ritual suicide for volunteer fans because the world was ending. That’s why I hope they do well, because when Kentucky gets to ruin their chances at something good it completely destroys them.

  26. marc
    12:20 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I think it all depends on the situation. For example, I will never cheer for Duke. Ever. Florida I will root for come tournament time because I want the SEC to show well.

  27. participant
    1:34 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Never cheer for TN. Never cheer for UL. Period

    Even if they play each other. Don’t wish anything bad on them, just don’t cheer.

  28. wild Blue
    2:51 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    I hope Louisville, Indiana and Tennessee lose every game in every sport. I never cheer for these teams and always root for their opponent.

  29. Highway119
    4:13 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Put UT and Loserville in the biggest stadium imaginable, so that all their fans can fit, and let me be the one on the plane above them that drops the bomb. I hope neither one of them ever wins, anything, ever, in any way, in any sport. Period.

  30. Truth
    10:10 pm July 29, 2013 Permalink

    Never cheer for a rival. Never cheer for any other SEC teams in football (No matter the situation). In basketball, I really don’t care because I’d like to see a stronger SEC in basketball, so if an SEC team beats an OOC foe…good for the conference.

  31. Seriously
    1:55 pm July 30, 2013 Permalink

    I actively root for anybody that plays against UK in any sport. I even rooted for Indiana, which still bugs me. I never felt this way in the past. I rooted for Ky in 96 and 98 in basketball and always hope they did well except when playing UofL. I also root for Western etc. All this changed when my daughter went to UofL and played in the marching band. Some of the antics of UK fans at the football games forever made me despise the program. So it was a personal reason that turned me against UK. This is not an indictment of all UK fans just a few personal experiences although it happened enough at all 4 games it seemed to be a pattern.

    BTW: An interesting point on rivalries is that in football Louisville has 3 rivalries: UK, Cincinnati and West Virginia. UK is clearly the biggest rivalry . For UK I would say its: UofL and … I cannot name another rivalry. Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, LSU etc have dominated them so many years, in fact decades, there is not a rivalry. I am not saying that you won’t despise those teams but a rivalry in my opinion has to be a two sided. In basketball they have several really good and fun to watch rivalry games.