“To not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.” -Sun Tzu
We’ve struggled so far this year.
Not only do the Wildcats play against dominant teams in the SEC week in and week out, but it looks like the folks in charge of scheduling the games are gluttons for Wildcat punishment, as well. This season, Kentucky faces a ridiculous three teams coming off bye weeks heading into their Bluegrass matchup: Mississippi State, Georgia, and Missouri. Not only that, but Georgia and Mizzou are playing very tough teams (South Carolina and Bama, respectively) before having a week off to perfect gameplans and wallow in righteous indignation should they lose.
What can an extra week of preparation for an opponent do for our chances to win? Well, I’ll tell you one thing it can’t do: help.
For a player, when your entire semester schedule consists of “eat, practice, class, practice, eat, lift, practice, eat, watch Gladiator, sleep” you’d be surprised what even one week off can do for your spirits. The practices are still there, but the impending, inevitable game at the end of the week isn’t. You’re given a week to relax, rest up, and nurse that one nagging injury that has been bothering you that we all seem to have. Just one week off will do wonders.
Meanwhile, as the players are happy to take it a little bit easy for a week, the coaches, who are actually getting paid to be there (officially), waste no time in preparing a little extra to make sure they win the next game when they actually do get around to playing. More time=more preparation. More preparation=more success. Transitive property mind freak: Time = Success. This, I understand, is not rocket science.
But the bye week giveth, and the bye week taketh away. Teams are happy to accommodate the break because they know that even though they’ll have to face a team coming off of one, they’ll get one for themselves. So in a normal situation, it just about evens out. But when you play three teams coming off a bye week, while only getting one, things get a little less balanced. Not only can UK coaches expect to see more tailored packages on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to counter Joker’s usually playcalling, but they’re also worried that rival coaches will whip out unique special teams cover packages during returns to flummox the young Wildcats.
Look, it’s already hard enough for us as it is. We’re 1-4. The SEC is clearly the nation’s best conference, and we’re clearly near the bottom of it. So why you gotta go and make it even worse, schedule guy? What did we do to you to make you hate us so much? Wait, I think I’ve figured it out…
Maybe he’s a basketball fan.