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Did Immediate Basketball Success Spoil Our Football Expectations?


It hurts to hope.

I said as much last night to the people who’d come to my apartment to watch Stoops’ first game of the season.  It was rough, and more than once an idea was tossed about that maybe, just maybe, Kentucky is doomed to be bad forever.  Apparently my friends weren’t the only ones to think that; there are a few (albeit a minority) who seem to have already given up hope on the Stoops Era.

And I think basketball is to blame.

There’s a fundamental difference in football and basketball, made especially clear in “turnaround” seasons.  Football is a sport of momentum, while basketball is won or lost in spurts.  The same can be said of individual games, or sweeping regime changes.  Basketball can be ruined or fixed quickly.  Football?  Well that’s going to take some nurturing.

By way of example, look no further than Kentucky basketball in 2008.  What was supposed to be a “quick fix” to Tubby’s perennial decline had morphed into a disaster in only two short years.  BCG’s teams were sloppy, frustrated, and, with small exception, untalented.  In comes Calipari in 2009, who takes a roster bereft of stars and leads them to an Elite 8 with what many believe was the most talented team at UK in a decade and a half.  How was Cal able to do that?

He’s a phenomenal recruiter, of course, but Mark Stoops has knocked it out of the park on the recruiting trail since his hire months ago.  But it’s not just that he’s a good recruiter.  He’s a good recruiter in a sport that only needs a couple of guys to make a team.  I mean, LeBron took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, and they were terrible.  One great guy can make an okay basketball team good.  Two or three great guys can instantly make a team championship competitors.

But unlike basketball, you can’t make a football program in a year.

Ryan Timmons can’t dominate the way John Wall did.  Jojo Kemp won’t have the same impact as DeMarcus Cousins.  There are just too many players doing too many things at one time for any one (or two) to make a huge difference.  Basketball is a sport where one guy can come in and change the landscape of the season immediately.

I think we got ahead of ourselves in the offseason and walked around laughing, saying “Remember when we had a bad football team?”  Well yeah.  It was last night.  But because they were bad last night doesn’t mean they’ll be bad next year.  Or even next week.

We hired a coach with a long-term goal of getting better.  This loss doesn’t mean it didn’t work.

So before we go claiming this year as a failure, let’s curb our expectations of what we want from this coaching staff.  The recruits are there.  The talent is coming.  It’s unfair to abandon ship after the first loss, because of the unrealistic expectations we had that were based on a fundamentally different sport.  In this case, the Bard’s words ring especially true: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Article written by Corey Nichols

16 Comments for Did Immediate Basketball Success Spoil Our Football Expectations?

  1. Seriously?
    8:13 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Wtf Corey? None of that makes sense. I can guarantee you are the only one to think about that. I didn’t even read the damn article because your headline is so fuggin stupid.

  2. Wildcat44
    8:16 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    When the h— does BASKETBALL start. Oscar maybe a great guy and all that, BUTT this is KENTUCKY, and it is a basketball state!!!!!!!

  3. Seven Ate Nine
    8:18 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    #1 it made sense. You’re probably just one of the idiots calling for the immediate firing of Stoops and whining about how a UK team that was never expected to be good lost a game. Good God people, get a ahold of yourselves. Its pathetic how negative “fans” are right now.

  4. Steve Fitts
    8:18 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    U of L just destroyed Ohio U., 49 to 7, at Papa John’s today. Bridgewater went 23 for 28 with 5 TD passes. We are going to get KILLED in two weeks!

  5. yearofthecardinal says
    8:21 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    What a performance you guys put on last night against the sun belts finest! You guys talk a mean game but as you proved for 60 mins last night talk is cheap! Poops air raid was really on display last night and the defense was even worse! Didn’t hear much out of your boy Drew Baker last night! Cat must have his tongue! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  6. yearofthecardinal says
    8:24 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Four game stretch starting with Louisville and ending with Alabama I put the over/under points allowed at 250

  7. BobCatBluff
    8:27 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I think the fault lies in the arrogance of UK fans in regards to the WKU football program. By the way, can anybody at KSR make change for a twenty? They promised to never use the Andrew Jackson bill until UK beats Western. Now that the four game series is over that’s not likely to happen unless UK makes it to one of the bowls in which the Toppers will be regularly appearing.

  8. Yep
    8:30 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    That’s pretty sad that there has to be an article written explaining the fundamental physical differences between football and basketball players. No wonder this school has struggled for decades in football. It takes a lifelong commitment to winning. You can’t just snap your arrogant fingers and say, we’re going to be good this year.

  9. Seven Ate Nine
    8:34 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    I feel like I want to slap each and every one of you in the face so MAYBE you’ll quit whining and snap out it

  10. kbsport
    8:38 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    This article angers me. So fair weather KY football fan, the same fan who show up the game late and dressed in polo shirt is going to give up??? Why, because he lost a game to a sub conference in state school, who was well coached and had quality players. KY fans are the reason we are in this situation to begin with, a fair weather fan, whom at best shares the same football IQ as Vandy fan, has embraced politics and mediocrity over the good teams and few coaches we had, Clairborne/Morr/Brooks

  11. C A T S
    8:40 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what our expectations are. Point is we lost to Western and it wasn’t even close – unlike last season. Without looking at margins (so 40-0 to Vandy doesn’t count), this is one of the worse losses I can remember in my short life – maybe Ohio last decade was worse? Yes, Joker would have lost this game as well, but it’s us vs. them…not us vs. Joker. Luckily, I think Stoops gets it and we SHOULD be fine…or at least as fine as we’ll ever be. There are PLENTY of chances to redeem ourselves this season, so just beat some teams we’re not expecting and all will be forgiven. He was dealt a bad hand, but there is no excuse losing to Western…

  12. Journalism Maj
    8:44 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone in your position Corey, having the opportunity to write and contribute on this site, well, you have embarrassed yourself. Nice to know you aren’t getting paid. And just a word of advice. Take an opportunity like this to be positive, be upbeat, praise Stoops and his staff for doing their best to rebuild from SCRATCH a football team. Joker left Kentucky with NOTHING. Stop being a crybaby and a wash rag. Pack Commonwealth for Stoops first home game and show the everyone that BBN is not just a bunch of whiners (like you). GO CATS, the REAL BBN SUPPORTS YOU!

  13. Reality
    8:50 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    We are who we are! Currently, we are the 3rd best team in Kentucky and it is not even close. Sad.

  14. El Guapo
    9:13 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    Look what Petrino did in one season.

    Took a team that required a trick play to beat UK in overtime last year, lost his starting QB, started a brand NEW QB, and turned it into a team that absolutely dominated UK THIS year.

    How did we go from a team that could at least hang with WKU to a team that got absolutely blasted off the field and embarrassed in the process by WKU? You can blame Joker for a low talent level, but you can’t blame him for the team actually REGRESSING from last year. We didn’t tread water; we somehow got WORSE. How is that even possible?

  15. Pat_Wren
    10:45 pm September 1, 2013 Permalink

    #14. Please put down the crazy pills. Wow….really? You need an explanation as to how Joker is a better Coach than Stoops? Go away…..

  16. true story
    12:29 am September 2, 2013 Permalink

    Petrino seemed to get his scrubbs moving the ball just fine.