Pictured: Matt Jones’ bet on the over/under.
Simple question. Is it okay to call yourself a true-Blue Cat fan while rooting for Louisville in football? Short answer: no. Long answer: no, go away.
Some clarification, to start. This is not about hoping Louisville does well so long as they’re not playing us. Success for both programs is good for the state, and it’s so much sweeter to beat a good team than a struggling one. Plus I always rooted for Louisville when they played WVU. No, this is about rooting for UL instead of UK when they play head-to-head.
Someone informed me over the weekend that, while they cheered for Kentucky during basketball season, when it was time for football, they were Card fans. Apparently, Kentucky “celebrates mediocrity” when it comes to football, and that wasn’t something he thought he could root for. Hard to argue that Kentucky’s had tons of success over the last few years, but to say we’ve “celebrated” is not entirely accurate. We’ve been happy to go to postseason games, sure, but I never saw people dancing in the streets over the Music City Bowl. Fans were close to a mutiny during the latter part of last season, until Joker pulled a miracle out his rectum and broke the Tennessee streak. Meanwhile, Louisville has allegedly been much more active in aggressively developing a winning football culture with Charlie Strong.
Even if that’s true, which is highly debatable, is it enough ground to abandon an allegiance? Or should you stick with one team, successful or otherwise, and put your money where your mouth is? I’m not conceding anything about the overall prestige of the programs, but Louisville’s won the last two football games. They’ve been the better team for a couple seasons, now.
“Putting your money where your mouth is” is less about winning bets, and more about throwing in your lot with whatever you proclaim to believe in. Just ask Matt. You want a share in the stake, good or bad. It’s why most of you start every NCAA tournament penning Kentucky to win it all. Even during the BCG years (er, year), that was always Step One. Did you really think they would win after the trainwreck that was Clyde’s first season? If you did, you’re delusional. But you put it there anyway, didn’t you? Of course you did. Because, for better or worse, you want to share in the result of the season. It makes you feel more like part of the team. When they lose, the commiseration hurts. But when they win, the celebration is so much better because you’ve been through both the lows and the highs.
So if you root for Louisville instead of Kentucky during football season because they’re “more likely to win” (which is true for any pair of teams when only one is in the SEC), your Kentucky-fan credibility is immediately suspect. Those who say they “bleed Blue,” how can you know unless you take a few shots every now and again? The only way to see what color you bleed is to take a punch to the nose and see what comes out.
There are a lot of Kentucky fans with a nosebleed right now. It’s a little embarrassing, but at least we know what color their blood is.