Lots of talk this week on the radio show about the football team and the future under Mark Stoops. And of course the general consensus is that this season was in general, a negative experience for the fans. The collapse in general culminated by the collapse against Louisville, plus 4 home losses, has the fanbase back to where it normally is, a negative place. But, have you noticed that the calls and the passion of those calls is still strong. A program is truly dead when the calls stop. When the fans actually don’t show their disgust but rather their disinterest.
Which is why I think there is a serious conversation to be had over the following statement, a state which I truly think many fans would agree with me on:
I WISH KENTUCKY FOOTBALL WAS BETTER BECAUSE I WOULD BE A BIGGER FOOTBALL FAN THAN BASKETBALL FAN
I don’t know if this is blasphemous or not in the UK fanbase, but I feel like many would agree that the reason this basketball fanbase is so passionate and dedicated to the team is because the football program has basically stunk for 80% of the time. Besides a very good stretch in the late 1970’s and the last few years of Rich Brooks, UK has basically only had a year here and there of decent teams but no real consistent program. Obviously the basketball program has been consistently good for 70 years. They are basically exact opposites of one another.
But when I think of college football, it holds so many advantages over college basketball that I wish UK could ever get a good program. For instance:
1. Better Gameday Experience: Let’s start with tailgating. Basketball doesn’t have that at all. I guess you can have a few beers before a basketball game, but not in an organized manner like football. Hell, even during crappy UK years, the tailgating is still a huge positive.
2. More Fans Can Go: Simple science: 70,000 people can make more noise than 24,000. Rupp Arena is a great atmosphere for big games, but over the course of 15-20 home games, there are some clunkers in there. When you only have 6 or 7 home games a year, and 70,000 people can go, it COULD be a better sports atmosphere.
3. It’s Once a Week: What makes college and pro football really great is its played just once a week. All week is spent anticipating that weekend’s game. But when you are a UK fan and that often means anticipating the beating you are going to take, it takes away from that experience. If the program was great, you would look forward to Saturdays so much more.
4. Joining the SEC Fun: We are the only basketball-first school in the conference. While that means we should continue to dominate the basketball league forever, it also means we are often the whipping boy in football.
College football is just something special in the south. I know that if Kentucky had a program to be proud of, not just one year but consistently, that I would love supporting and watching that team more than basketball (except for March Madness). But alas, basketball is what we got. I hope Mark Stoops get us to the point that I will be happy to switch my allegiance.
But I wonder if there are others out there like me. Do you think you would be a bigger football fan than basketball fan if the football team was better?