The Oregon Ducks have been sort of the model for Kentucky’s surging football program, which has seen arguably its best offseason ever. The increased emphasis on recruiting, together with the exciting and enthusiastic coaching staff, have garnered a lot of attention in just a few months. But in the same way that Oregon has “no reason” to be successful (small city, little in-state talent, scarce tradition, etc.), Kentucky has an uphill battle in becoming a contender in the SEC. The one thing that Oregon has in abundance, though, is flair. And with the Wildcats embracing black (and possibly gray) jerseys and new matte helmets in the years to come, there’s no reason that Kentucky couldn’t do what Oregon has already done, provided they’re willing to embrace what they are, and what they can do. They’ve got to be new, exciting, and different. Oh, and they might have to have this:
The Ducks have released video and images of their new football facility, and my official opinion is, “What the crap.” It’s seriously unreal. Check out the full video, and try not to get Oregon-green with envy.
We already know that we can do something like this for basketball. The Craft Center is the “gold standard” for hoops conditioning, and Rupp has lavish locker rooms and ample amenities. But that’s basketball, and this is Kentucky. Of course we have a ridiculous facility. The question now is, if we want to have a football program like Oregon, which went to a national championship game just a few years ago, do we have to put the cart before the horse? Is this a Field of Dreams situation, where if we build it, the recruits will come? With the funding for New Rupp already hotly debated, how can the University afford an upgrade of this magnitude?
There are a lot of questions, and maybe a little jealousy (we know Alabama has to have ridiculous stuff, but Oregon, too; it’s not fair), but if UK football strives to be successful, we can’t do it the same way that traditional powerhouses do. We can’t be Alabama or Ohio State. We have to be different, new, and innovative. Maybe we do that by modeling Oregon, or maybe Stoops and Co. will find their own way. Whatever the case, we can still look at the pictures and drool.
Ultimately, an Oregon guy said it best: “It’s not Alabama, or LSU, or Texas. The purpose of this is to sell the future.”
Can we sell this future, too? Pretty please?