I had a very interesting conversation amongst co-workers last week about this upcoming UK football season. Certainly, excitement has not been this high in the UK football fanbase since at least Andre Woodson’s senior season or maybe earlier. But the difference is that this excitement revolves around the start of the a new era of football, and not as much around the prospects of how good this team can be. Anybody who looks at it rationally can say that this 2013 UK football team might find some lumps against a very difficult schedule. But it lead to a debate about what would make the BBN happy this season. Would you rather:
-See an exciting product on the field that doesn’t win as much
-See a less exciting product that wins more
Let’s take Option A first. I like to call this option the Hal Mumme Option. I would imagine when you ask people about the 4-year Hal Mumme era most would call that era a fairly successful stretch. The truth is Hal Mumme went 20-26 in his stint in Lexington. 20 wins and 26 losses. That is a 43% winning percentage. He only went to bowl games in 2 of his 4 seasons, losing both. And yet, people call that era (sans the probation) a success. And the reason was simple: people loved the offensive product people put on the field. They loved seeing points put up on the board. People walked away from 59-31 drubbings against Tennessee with a smile on their face because, HEY, we just scored 31 points on Tennessee. But the truth is Hal Mumme teams never got within 28 points of Tennessee. Bill Curry got within 28 points 4 times, and twice got within 10 points of Tennessee. Which product did you like more?
Which brings us to Option B. Less than exciting product but a couple more wins. I like to call that the Rich Brooks Option. Besides the final 2 years of Andre Woodson, the offense was often stale under Rich Brooks. Struggles at the QB and WR position often made the UK offense limited. This led to more than a few games played in the 10’s and 20’s. But, starting in Year 4, Brooks made a bowl game every season and won 3 of them. He did it with an improved defense and enough ball control and turnover margin. It wasn’t sexy, but it brought 6 or 7 wins every year. And Joker Phillips kept that style of play into a bowl game into his first year. His downfall though was when the wins dried up but the style of play did not.
I would imagine starting in 2014, this won’t even be a debate. It seems the Cats are committed to putting out an exciting offense product and with the incoming talent, the wins should come much easier. But for 2013, I wonder what fans would rather see. Would you rather see a team that wins 3 games and scores 30 points per game or wins 5 games and score 20 points per game?