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Five Reasons to Appreciate the Harder Schedule


In both football and basketball, Kentucky faces some of the hardest opponents of anyone in the country.  The still-improving football team plays five of the top ten teams, and the basketball team is renewing a rivalry with North Carolina en route to a stacked non-conference slate.

But when you look at Louisville, you see an unbelievably underwhelming list of opponents.  There could not be schedules more opposite; the Cardinals’ year in both major sports is going to be spent beating up on teams

1) Sense of Accomplishment

There’s very little to feel good about after winning a game that favored you by double-digits.  Sure, it’s fun to see MKG throw down against Portland, and the Darius Miller dunk when St. John’s visited is one of my best Rupp memories.  But these games are like sports junk food: fun while they’re happening, but they leave you dissatisfied after.  Would the 2nd Bluegrass Miracle in 2007 have been as great if it had been against Florida International?  Of course not.  The harder schedule feels more like “eating healthy.”  More challenging, but far more rewarding.

2) No Excuses

If Louisville has a successful year again this year, then sure, good for them, whatever.  But if they lose?  If they don’t end the football regular season at 12-0, they got some serious ‘splainin to do.  How could a team ranked in the top ten lose to Houston?  Or Ohio?  And what if they enter the Kentucky basketball game with a loss?  That would mean they dropped the ball against Hofstra, Missouri State, or Southern Miss.  Simply inexcusable.  Meanwhile, if Kentucky loses a game (and they’re likely to), we don’t really have to explain ourselves.  We’re going to compete in the SEC, but nobody will look at us askance if we drop a football game to Georgia.  And if we drop a game before we meet Louisville, well it’ll probably be to a top five team like Michigan State, or a perennial powerhouse like North Carolina.  Obviously, we should win those games, but if we don’t, it’s not a catastrophe.

3) Better Preparation

If playing harder teams is akin to eating healthy, then the team that plays more rigorously through the regular season is more prepared to perform well in the postseason.  The 2012 title team had a rough go against a surging Indiana in the regular season, and a tenacious Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament.  Think those didn’t prepare them for March?  Louisiana-Lafayette is unlikely to do the same.

4) More Fun for Fans

Who’s gonna pay money to see crap games against shoddy teams?  Obviously, Kentucky fans would, because Rupp is always full, and Louisville fans probably would too.  That’s what fans do.  But they won’t be as happy about it.  Going to a game to see your team whallop a nobody is pretty fun, but going to see your team compete in a game where the outcome is seriously in question is the best.  North Carolina in 2011 and Missouri earlier this year are two of the best times I’ve ever been in Rupp, and you could tell that everyone in the arena was having an absolute blast.  Even in football, where it’s harder to compete and the outcome is less favorable, and more predictable, it’s fun to see the big boys come into town.  You just don’t get the same experience with schlubs.  And the fans in Louisville have every right to complain about Jurich’s line-up.

5) Fewer Pigtails

Asian Girl

Adorable, just like Louisville’s schedules.

Article written by Corey Nichols

14 Comments for Five Reasons to Appreciate the Harder Schedule

  1. bad as expected
    5:44 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    Corey- this is bad based on you running both the schedules together. GET A CLUE PLEASE ON HOW TO WRITE.

  2. O T I S
    5:45 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    If you drop a bar of soap in a prison shower you might as well enjoy it

  3. PhilUK18
    5:46 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    Not sure I understand the “fewer pigtails” thing, but whatever. I would also argue that it’s really not that fun as a UK fan to see teams like Bama, Florida, etc. beat the sh*t out of us in football. But then again there’s not a lot we can do about that since they’re in our conference.

    Other than that, yeah, those reasons seem about right.

  4. Bobbum man
    6:00 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    I actually thought this was pretty good and agree with ur points but like 3 u Lost me with the pigtails… Anywho I would much rather play the Bamas and Floridas and have a chance at knocking those teams off then a bunch of scrub teams… I feel like the days of those teams just mopping the floor with us are over, sure it might happen occasionally but I think we’ll be giving these teams a run for their money

  5. Jim
    6:14 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    But you have no chance of knocking off the Bamas and Floridas

  6. Surely you jest
    6:28 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    #4 no. . . . just no! I’m guessing you’re a newbie to this football stuff—as in got in the bandwagon when Stoops was hired and before that gave no thought to that sport with a funny shaped ball. Read up on your UK FB history. it is ugly. . . very, very ugly. You know UK plays Florida each year and since the program’s high point in 1977 it is 2-33 (one win was against a winless Gator squad in 1979). Most of the losses have been blowouts. They ain’t competing with Florida (or Bama) anytime soon. Leave the curb stomping of the Gators to those guys up I-64

  7. Louisville1Cal4
    7:45 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    “Leave the curb stomping of the Gators to those guys up I-64”
    Beat the Gators once by 10 & they “curb stomped” them…. You better enjoy Bridgewaters last season, UofL will be back to getting curb stomped soon enough. Oh & UK will have a far greater chance to beat Florida & Bama after Bridgewater is gone, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. That’s a fact. Argue it all you would like, it won’t make you any less wrong 🙂

  8. Rick
    7:52 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s see which Florida team shows up now that the play offs are here. FREE RIDE is over, little brothers.

  9. cynic
    7:56 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    UK Releases 2013-14 Non­-Conference Schedule
    Wildcats to face five NCAA Tournament teams, host nine games in Rupp.

    I suppose when we get beat in the 1st round of the NIT, facing 5 NCAA tournament teams is a stacked pre-conference schedule. I get Michigan State, L’ville, and Carolina but I’m missing the rest of the stacked schedule. I’m sure the season ticket holders enjoy getting 1 tough home game pre-season to get them juiced for the 40-0 run.

  10. Rick
    7:57 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    #5. Sorry Jim, but you’re incorrect. I’ve seen UK beat the #1 team in the country in Lexington Twice. Little bro has never played the #1 team in the country.

  11. kelleydog
    7:57 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    Based on what I can tell:
    1. Bragging that our schedule is tougher than yours (truth)
    2. Telling recruits you will get to start as a freshman (Truth)
    3. Telling recruits, we’re going to turn this thing around (Wishful thinking)

    It’s a losers mentality, if you can’t win playing such a hard schedule you have to find a way to feel good, so you degrade other schedules where fans and players have fun winning.

  12. Paintsville'sdairyqueen
    8:15 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    @11 Based on what I can tell:

    1. Clearly you’re a Turdinal fan. (truth)
    2. You know after Bridgewater leaves it’s over. (truth)
    3. That you won’t get exposed when Louisville moves to the
    ACC.(wishful thinking)

  13. Wildcatsteeler
    9:20 pm August 21, 2013 Permalink

    Nice attempt to spin this. But there’s no “sense of accomplishment”, plenty of excuses, no better prep when your team is demoralized and/or possible injured, and no fan enjoyment from losing.

  14. jerb2
    2:42 am August 22, 2013 Permalink

    Does the author realize that Louisville plays UNC in basketball this season as well?