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Cats Pause’s Lost Relevance and Other Tuesday Notes

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Remember when the best day of the fall was the day that the Cats Pause Yearbook came out? I do. I remember as a kid looking forward to the moment in October when my grandfather would bring home the Cats Pause Yearbook for me to devour, usually in one long setting. The Oscar Combs’ created publication was the standard bearer for its time and really (along with a similar Notre Dame football guide) created the modern notion of a “fan publication.” The Cats Pause had a print subscription base that was spread out all over the country and gave UK fans the ability to follow the team in-depth in ways that simply couldnt be matched. Then came the internet and the Cats Pause blossomed by combining with the successful “Kentucky Sports Report” message board community to create the one-stop shop for UK news on the internet. The combination of Jeff Drummond, Darrell Bird and the strong message board community made the Cats Pause THE game in town and established a supremacy that lasted for nearly a decade. Other UK sites on the internet existed and some had loyal followings…but everyone went to the Cats Pause, and it stood alone as the standard bearer for UK fan news.

That was then and this is now. Thanks to poor management, heavy-handed decision-making and an inability to follow the direction of the modern internet scene, The Cats Pause has lost its position at the top and is slowly slipping into irrelevance on the UK scene. I could list all the things the Cats Pause does wrong in terms of coverage, but that would be giving them too many free suggestions on how to save their sinking ship. Suffice to say the problem can be explained by one question, “when was the last time ANY story on The Cats Pause was a must read?” The answer is, at least two years ago. The Cats Pause money-making model, which can best be described as “pay us for journalism you cant get anywhere else” is faulty and increasingly impossible to sustain. Twitter and this blog have made the notion of “news you cant get anywhere else” on Cats Pause seem utterly absurd and ancient in its thinking. The Cats Pause covers recruiting only on the surface, and whatever info they do break (and it isnt much since the departure of Jeff Drummond) is dispersed across the internet within seconds. Their “journalism” pieces are dry and not distinct from any free content on the internet, making the incentive to pay for them nonexistent. In short, they are irrelevant as a news gathering entity.

The one thing The Cats Pause still has is its vibrant message board community. But in the past year, it has taken that one strength and weakened it substantially. The most recent example is its laughable policy of not allowing any mention of my name or KSR on its site. The Cats Pause lives in a make-believe world in which its readers dont know that KSR exists and come to its message board as their only source for news. That may have been true four years ago, but now that ship has sailed. Thus they are left deleting thread after thread that mentions me or KSR, hoping that people will forget this blog exists. In the past few days, the moderators have deleted countless threads about the Outside the Lines show…why? Simply because I was on it. Even though a nationally televised show talked about the team THEY COVER, they chose to ignore it, lest any readers read the name Matt Jones and spontaneously combust. This view of moderation has done nothing to effect our site, but what it has done has hurt the Cats Pause main selling point. Their message boards could be the “go to” place to talk with other fans about what is happening in UK land and other parts of the internet. But now, because they choose to live in a reality in which people hop on the internet with the hopes of reading the latest brilliant observation from Matt May and have never heard of Matt Jones, Marc Maggard, John Clay, Larry Vaught, etc, they have made their message boards less about serious talk (go to Wildcat Nation or Kentucky Ink for that) and more about random chatter where issues not originated by TCP cant even be mentioned. When you are good, you have no worries about people talking about your competition…when you arent, you choose a different path. Only the worst run businesses take their best asset and run it into the ground, and The Cats Pause is quickly heading in that direction.

At this point there is a clear reality. More UK fans come to KSR for their UK news than any other online site. Five, four, or even two years ago I would have never thought that fathomable. But as we grew, added great writers and kept going, the Cats Pause retreated. Now I would argue that the writing on TCP is less relevant than not only KSR, but everything on Twitter, John Clay and even the Frosted One. The reality is that the only people left subscribing to The Cats Pause are those that do it out of habit. When that habit ends, The Cats Pause may unfortunately as well…and the fans likely will not even be able to use their message boards to discuss it.

Some quick notes for a Tuesday:

— The final parts of the UK basketball television schedule came out and the details are rather boring. What you do need to know is that all the UK games will be on live somewhere once again. Some games are on Fox Sports South, and one game will not be seen on the Big Blue Network live and thus you will get a delay unless you are an FSS subscriber. But all of that is really boring. At this point you know that if you want all UK games live, you can get them. That should suffice and make everyone happy.

Urban Meyer is a big fan of Randall Cobb, a fact that he repeats every year. Today he said:

“He is a dynamic player that’s going to play at the next level & I can’t wait to get him the heck out of this league.”

For the Cats to pull of the upset, Cobb has to be huge. This much we know. But what you may not know is how much Randall Cobb believes this win can come. On Media Day, when I asked him how it felt to have 11 winnable games, he looked at me and said, “we believe we can win 12 and the fans need to believe that too.” This is game 12 and if Cobb believes, the UK fans shouldnt be far behind.

— I was disappointed to see the Ole Miss game will start at 11 am local time in Oxford, thus making it virtually impossible to enjoy the tailgating in the Grove to the degree I had hoped. I know very little about Oxford as a college town, but am told that the women are so beautiful that (as one former UK administrator told me), “even the fat girls are hot.” It still should be a great trip and I get the feeling that lots of Cats fans are heading in that direction.

— UK did release the schedule for the Madness ticket campout today. It begins on September 29, and the tickets will be released on October 2. The campout was one of my favorite events last year and the team last season really embraced it and the relations with the fans. I hope that happens again and I cant wait to come visit on that Thursday night.

— Very disappointed to hear about the injuries to Moncell Allen and Stuart Hines, potentially the two most consistent blockers on the team. If they both miss the game, that will hurt UK’s ability to run the ball, especially up the gut, and may cause more pressure on Hartline to throw the ball down the field. Lets hope our confidence in him, gathered after three solid starts, pays off on Saturday.

More all day, as we continue to put the hatin on the Gators…..

Article written by Matt Jones