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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: I Don’t Root Against Our Rivals (Sans One)

Let me ask you a question: Do we consider Florida to be a rival in football?  I think most people consider the Gators to be one of our rivals on the gridiron.  Certainly not to the level of Louisville or Tennessee but I think most would say they are #3.

Now let me ask you a 2nd question: Do Florida fans consider Kentucky to be a rival in football?  The answer is almost certainly no.  The Gators don’t circle the game against UK on the calendar.  Ever.  They put Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State, Miami, and LSU as rivals.  Kentucky?  Way in the back of their minds.

So what is the difference?  The difference is that Florida has traditionally been a winning football program.  And Kentucky has traditionally been a losing football program.  That’s it, plain and simple.  We play them in every single year in football, our fans have watched the same games year after year, and yet the mentality of the fanbases is vastly different.  And it simply has to do with winning and losing.

Now let me bring it back to UK and our rivals.  I recognize that I am in a very small minority here but I think I am in the right.  The fact is that I don’t cheer against our rivals, namely Louisville, Tennessee, and North Carolina (basketball).  Now, let me be clear, I don’t cheer FOR them either.  But the reality is those teams and the rivalries with them is significantly better when they are good.  It is far better to play a Roy Williams UNC team than a Matt Dougherty UNC team.  It is far better to play a Charlie Strong UL program than a Steve Kragthorpe UL program.  Wasn’t it better to play Rick Pitino teams than David Padgett’s team?

Now ask yourself why?  The only reason that it was better is because those programs were WINNING.  And it made the wins against those programs that much sweeter.  So while I am not actively cheering for Louisville when they are playing, I would much rather have an 11-0 UL football program coming into Kroger Field over a 2-9 UL program.  I found the win over Lamar Jackson’s Louisville squad exponentially more enjoyable than beating the 2-10 UL team by 500 points two years later.  But it was only sweeter because that was a good UL team.

I don’t think it makes you less of a fan to admit this fact.  Rivalries only work when two teams are successful.  I want Scott’s Tots to keep improving the UL program and then I want us to drub them each and every year.  I want Chris Mack to keep UL in the Top 15.  And then I want us to rip their hearts out each and every December.  I don’t want to beat up on Little Brother when they are down.  I want to beat up on Little Brother when they think they are good.  So no, when UL is playing on television I am not putting on Cards gear and rooting for them.  But I also don’t hate it when they win.  In fact, it is my preference.  And it’s actually selfish of me.  Because their winning improves OUR rivalries and improves our experiences when we play them.  Think of the big picture and it’s not that hard to rationalize wanting good rivals.

I’ll conclude with this though: Screw Duke.  I hope they lose every game, every practice game, every exhibition, every dunk contest, every NBA draft, every everything.  That I just can’t give up.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

14 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: I Don’t Root Against Our Rivals (Sans One)

  1. JASUN74
    12:35 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    I couldn’t have worded it any better BTI. The first good post from you only took 15 years. Haha. J/K!!! Great job as always.

  2. BlueBanker18
    12:40 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    Say it louder for the people in the back!

  3. The Original WTF Guy
    12:59 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    I not not only root against U6, I hope the entire crappy little junior college disappears from the face of the earth. I can’t imagine any circumstance under which I would be for them in any regard. I’m almost to the point that if someone from there was the only person to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus I would say we just try to get along without it.

    As for Duke, I lived in NC for 12 years and when you do that you realize the true evil does not live in Durham, but rather about 10 miles west. I have no problem with Duke. Sure, they beat us in 1992, but we gave them back even better in 1998. But I despise Chapel Hill.

    I do agree it’s more fun to beat them when they are good so I have no problems with that. But under no circumstance would I ever pull for UNC-CH or U6.

    I also agree that it’s hard for your rival to not look at you the same way.

  4. FloridaCat88
    1:11 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    Completely agree BTI… and yes, screw d uk e.

  5. NOLAcat
    1:15 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    I’m only 34, so Duke 92 is at the very beginning of when I remember UK Athletics events. I understand older generations probably have a different opinion on this, but I don’t know anyone in my age bracket (which is not young whipper snappers anymore) who considers Duke or UNC a rival, period. Nor does anyone I know consider Florida a rival in football (although we seem to drift in and out of rivalry status against them in basketball… seems like maybe Auburn has taken that spot currently).

    For me, its Louisville and Tennessee. I remember when Indiana was on the list as well.

    • BlueBanker18
      1:24 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

      I’m 27. Duke, UNC (and Kansas for that matter) are teams I would consider rivals in basketball along with Louisville and Tennessee, sometimes Florida, more recently Auburn. Florida in football is more or less a rival just because of our horrible losing record against them.

    • NOLAcat
      3:17 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

      Kansas?? Do you just consider our rivals to be other teams that are good?

      We don’t play any of those teams with any regularity, except NC. We don’t really compete in very many heated head to head recruiting battles against any of those schools. There’s no bragging rights or geographical dominance at issue… How many legit Kansas/unc/duke dance do you interact with on a daily basis? Now compare that to loser I’ll.

      I just don’t see it. Maybe we have different opinions on what constitutes a rival. Florida beat our brains in in football for 25 years or whatever. Closer games now and I took more pleasure than most in beating them but one victory in 32 years does not a rivalry make. Honestly, if we didn’t share a border with Tennessee it would be hard for me to consider them a rival in football.

    • NOLAcat
      3:18 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

      Couple of autocorrect typos… dance should be fans, and loser I’ll should be loserville.

  6. Han
    1:24 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    I cheer against certain teams if I hate the coach or a particular player, but I also root against the other elites, usually, because them winning makes it harder to recruit against them, and it also brings some of them closer to our win records.

    In the tourney, I usually root for all upsets except for UK, but a part of me does like it when we get the potential for a juicy matchup like UNC or Duke. Those games are often classics in March.

  7. grammarpoliceUK
    2:48 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    I agree with the Florida football comments wholly! Beating them in 2018 was great. Beating them at The Swamp was even better. But the greatest part was the look of confusion and bewilderment on their fans faces!

    • bcp426
      8:59 am May 7, 2020 Permalink

      I saved a few screen grabs from that game. Brings me joy every time I happen upon them in my photos. :-p

  8. Aar
    3:49 pm May 6, 2020 Permalink

    IMHO, rivalry must be mutual, winning percentages for both teams need to be near 50-50 (all-time and recent decade) and must play at least once annually.

  9. bcp426
    8:57 am May 7, 2020 Permalink

    I detest all things about North Carolina. They should not even have an athletics program after the fake classes thing. How they skipped out of that one still baffles and sickens me. I root against them at all times, except when they play Duke, and then I’m hoping for the building to burn down (obviously speaking basketball here).

    But, I generally agree. I like for rivals to be good, think they’re even better, and then get their butts handed to them by the Cats.

  10. bbn606
    9:10 am May 7, 2020 Permalink

    We should be going for our 4th straight win over the Gators. It’s sickening to me how we lost the last two home games to them.