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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: There Is a Team We Should Strive to Match in Another Conference

Let me give you a resume and I want you to consider whether this resume is something you would be OK with for the University of Kentucky football program:

14 seasons
104-80 record
62-60 conference record
9 bowl bids in 14 seasons (4 wins)
8 or more wins in 6 of 14 seasons
10 wins in 3 seasons
Finished in the Top 25 in 5 of 14 seasons
Losing records in 5 of 14 seasons
Last Place in Division 2 times in 14 seasons

Now, I intentionally put both good and bad stats on that resume because I want to give the full picture of this program.  I think this program is one that we, as UK football fans, should be thrilled to mimic in the SEC.  And that team is the Northwestern Wildcats under Pat Fitzgerald. 

If you are saying right now that is a vastly underwhelming choice for a program we should emulate I would tell you that you likely have a vastly overrated opinion of Kentucky’s place in the hierarchy of college football in the SEC.  We are, in fact, the Northwestern of the SEC.  And I am hear to tell you that is actually a very good thing.  Because I think that 10 win season in 2018 might actually turn out to have negative impacts.  That 10 win season made us think we could be real players in the best conference in college football.  That the Penn State’s and Florida’s of the world actually needed to take us seriously.  But let’s not forget that all it took for us to get those 10 wins was the greatest running back in school history, likely the greatest defensive end in school history and potentially one of the 5 best athletes to ever play at Kentucky.  Let’s be honest, that combination of players will NEVER come together at Kentucky again.  And we still lost 3 games that season.

Now back to Northwestern.  If your perception of Northwestern is that they are a bottom feeder in the Big Ten, you are not paying attention.  Yes, Northwestern isn’t winning any conference titles.  But they are consistently one of the toughest outs in the Big Ten.  They are clearly superior to the Illinois, Indiana (normally), Rutgers, Maryland level of the conference.  At the same time, they are not Ohio State.  And that is what Kentucky should be.  We need to NEVER dip into the Vanderbilt level of this conference.  But we shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking we will be Georgia consistently either.  Our sweet spot is to always field competitive teams, give an occasional scare to the elite of the conference, and don’t let a down year turn into 2 years.  Bounce back years are key.

Northwestern went 3-9 last year.  This year they are 5-1.  In 2013 and 2014, they went 5-7.  In 2015, they went 10-3.  Fitzgerald doesn’t always have teams that can compete with Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan.  We shouldn’t expect Stoops to have teams that compete with Georgia, Alabama, and Florida every year.  But whether this year finishes 3-7 or 4-6, NEXT YEAR is key.  It can’t be another 3 or 4 win season.

I think there are comparable schools in the Big Ten to the SEC.  Here is what Fitzgerald/Stoops has done against many of them:

Ohio State: Fitzgerald 0-7
Georgia: Stoops 0-8

Wisconsin: Fitzgerald 5-6
Florida: Stoops 1-7

Iowa: Fitzgerald 9-6
South Carolina: Stoops 5-2

Indiana: Fitzgerald 6-2
Vanderbilt: Stoops 6-2

Here’s my point.  I think this season has been a bust.  I don’t think it should be spun any other way.  But we partly have ourselves to blame because we still have this fleeting thought that UK can be a top contender in the league.  The reality is that they can be a top contender every now and then when all the chips fall our way.  But our happiness as a football fanbase should be in the Northwestern tier.  Do not have multiple down years in a row.  Touch the Top 25 every so often.  Scare and/or beat the elite of your conference every few years.  Bowls consistently.  And take advantage of the once a decade great opportunity.  Northwestern turned theirs into a Big Ten title game appearance in 2018.  Maybe UK can align the planets enough to do that in the SEC East sometime.  But we should appreciate that moment and also keep our perspective on what should make us happy as a fanbase.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

25 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: There Is a Team We Should Strive to Match in Another Conference

  1. eyebleedblue
    10:18 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    Bro we need to be Wisconsin not Northwestern. Vandy aspires to be Northwestern.

  2. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    10:25 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    BTI will be the first to go when the sale is finalized.

    • WKY Cat
      10:32 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

      That’s funny as $hit right there! Lol

  3. WKY Cat
    10:38 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    Lordy be intern boy. You must have a very low expectation in life. I’ll give you a life hint right now, don’t go into business, you’ll get eaten alive with your attitude. So you’re says UK paid Stoops all that money, built new facilities just to basically be competitive. Yeah I don’t think so. In business it’s called a return on your investment. UK has stepped up on their investment but the returns aren’t there this year. And considering we average about 30th in recruiting every year the results will most likely be low. Like I said, stay away from business. And oh by the way, college sports is a business. Lol

  4. BBNnCLE
    10:40 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    Why should we strive to be like a team that we are already better than or at least equal to?

  5. BBNnCLE
    10:46 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    UK already is the Northwestern of the SEC. Saying that’s what we should strive to be just makes us sound…depressing.

  6. BigBlue4Three
    11:22 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    Pat Fitzgerald annual salary $3.3 Million
    Mark Stoops annual salary $5 Million

    Maybe we can fire Stoops, hire Fitzgerald and use the excess $1.7 Million to hire a damn special teams coach.

    • BigBlue4Three
      11:24 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

      As an added bonus, with Stoops out of town we may then be able to find a bottle of Eagle Rare in Lexington.

  7. CombatMedic_98
    11:24 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    And the Intern defines why he is an “intern”

    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      12:06 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

      Lol yeah he’s got a terrible opinion that UK will never have program great players again. GTFO

  8. CombatMedic_98
    11:28 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    How bout do a comparison on GA/AL and the reasons why they are always winning…MAYBE Stoops and company May pick up on some pointers…BUT:
    1. We need top notch RECRUITS (5stars/4 Stars)
    2. QB or the Commander needs to be able to actually THROW consistently and accurately.

    3. Start actually throwing the ball past 10 yards…!

  9. peaches76
    11:55 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

    Not the greatest DE in our history. Try Art Still.

    • BBNnCLE
      11:59 am December 2, 2020 Permalink

      Also how can Josh Allen be the best DE in school history when he was a LB in our defense?

    • timer2
      8:19 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink


  10. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    12:03 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

    To say that a combo of players like Snell, Allen and Bowden will NEVER happen again is asinine. That’s a shitty take.

    • CombatMedic_98
      12:42 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

      If Snell and Bowden and Allen…Cobb…etc. came out of High school playing for Georgia/Ohio/AL/Clemson they would have been top Heisman candidates and a few May had one them especially Bowden and Cobb. Those two personified ELITE ATHLETE in every position they played in. We get the good and great players but, those players are at a disadvantage coming to KY by HISTORY alone. Glad Stoops is changing that but, we have to get to a point where AL/GA/TN/FL aren’t the top teams in the SEC. Coching excellence and recruitment wins is what changes a program. You get the best athletes YOU WIN…period! Even if the coaching is subpar…look at US…LOL

  11. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    12:06 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

    And you’ve put the pressure on stoops directly which is needed from KSR. If stoops goes 4-8 next year he will be squarely on the hot seat

  12. bige
    12:41 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

    2020 needs to be forgotten even in the UK football world.
    Stoops is a great fit for Kentucky but he’s the typical defensive-minded coach and needs to get a real A-type offensive mind on his staff.
    -Defensive players develop much more than offensive players
    -Defensive scheme utilizes the talent effectively with subtle changes to blitz packages, stunts, and coverages. While the offensive scheme takes little advantage of offensive talent.
    -Defense makes more big plays than the offense
    -The QB position should have close to a thousand yards rushing this year and our TE should be at least a 1st team All-SEC pick. Didn’t last year show Gran anything on how a running QB can mess up a defensive gameplan?

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      1:56 pm December 3, 2020 Permalink

      There’s a huge hole in your statement. Bowden ran like a RB and read defenses like a QB.
      Terry reads defenses like the equipment manager, goes down on touch tackles, and fumbles to the wind.

  13. ukkatzfan
    2:18 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

    BTI, Bless your Heart.

  14. Keets
    4:57 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

    Echo many of the comments made on this being an…unfortunate…BTI take. UK should not settle…ever. Can fans become more self aware with respect to program status, enjoy the game and process more? Sure. But part of the fun in all of this – sports – is compete, invest, get better, build and win.

    Plus, why would UK want to strive to be a program that has tougher academic qualifying standards for recruits and less athletic brand power and potential than us (just two advantages UK has over Northwestern)?

  15. blueblood80
    5:27 pm December 2, 2020 Permalink

    The rude and obnoxious comments KSR readers throw here are unwarranted and embarassing. You will be a very successful reporter and writer.
    Your articles keep my attention and offer valid points. I don’t agree with being a happy fan with a 56.5 %win percentage as shown by Fitzgerald. It does make me a proud alum when I see graduation success and very few unwelcome stories about players in the news. Look at Tenn., who had a football player arrested the other day with a gun, scales, and drugs. Look at Stoops telling Joseph to pack his bags after not wanting to play the last game. Sometimes image can be as important as record….

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      2:11 pm December 3, 2020 Permalink

      Yes your comment is obnoxious, unwarranted, and embarassing. He may very well be a very successful reporter and writer, but not yet, and only if he rights on a Louisville puff site or with Jerry Tipton at the Lexington-Herold…… then again maybe Mike Freeman will hire him.

  16. The Original WTF Guy
    9:52 am December 3, 2020 Permalink

    Two points:

    1. The UK fans who believe UK will somehow become an elite SEC/national program should simply quit watching college football, and maybe all sports, because it’s obvious they have no idea about it. Should UK get more 5*/4* star recruits? Well, of course they should. But there are only so many and why are they suddenly going to stop going to Bama, tOSU, Clemson, etc and begin coming to KY?

    2. If UK was in the Big-? they *would* be Northwestern. If Northwestern was in the SEC, they *would* be UK. Or as the great philosopher John Lennon put it, “I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together Goo goo g’joob.”

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      2:02 pm December 3, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah you and BTI can go back to rooting for Louisville. Northwestern and Vanderbilt are the 2 schools this comparison works for.