While the basketball cats are basking in the glow of their national championship (and rightfully so), the football cats are in the process of preparing for what might be the most anticipated football season in recent memory… And not for good reasons. Fan interest is at an all time low and season ticket sales appear to have plummeted to new levels. A combination of a lackluster 2011 campaign, extremely poor promotion of the football team, the shooting down of stadium renovations, a subpar recruiting class (per ratings sites), a perceived lack of talent on the roster, roster attrition, only having one commitment at this time, missing out on Mike Leach, and the ridiculous success of UK’s other athletic team’s have left football in the gutter heading towards the remainder of the offseason.
All that said, today’s post is here to put some positive light on the program by throwing a little spin on the current negatives! Why would I do this you ask? Because that’s just how I role.
1. Season tickets
UK has seen some ridiculous fan support over the past few seasons and ticket sales AND attendance have remained very high for a program of limited success. What does this mean for UK fans this year? It means you can now get better seats and a parking pass for tailgating if you still plan on going to the games!
2. Lackluster 2011 season
UK played a whale of a schedule in 2012 and while the final result wasn’t what many UK fans had hoped for, 2011 is done and it’s a new season full of new possibilities. The schedule is as favorable as any UK fan could ask for and an extra home game should only help the Cats.
3. Poor promotion
Why UK decided to close spring practices at a time when the program needed momentum I do not know, but I’m sure there was a reason. Maybe the team plans on using a more up-tempo offense and doesn’t want opposing scouts to see what they’re planning in doing? Maybe there is a new defensive package that will give defenses headaches? While there’s no way of knowing for sure, there has to be a reason.
4. No renovations to Commonwealth
I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy to look at this in a positive light. I cannot think of a better way to stimulate the football team than by upgrading the facilities (which desperately need it). BUT, this isn’t completely out of the question yet and there’s still a chance that UK and the bonding people can work something out, so the idea is not completely dead in the water yet.
5. Subpar recruiting class
While Rivals and the other sites didn’t think too much of Kentucky’s 2012 haul, I told anyone that reads this site or listens to the podcasts that the class wouldn’t be rated highly at this time last year. A need for some of the non-glamor positions hurt this class’ rating a lot, just like we knew it would. The silver lining here though, is that the team filled some major needs with some high quality talent, and that’s what recruiting is all about.
6. Perceived lack of talent
Sure, last year’s team left some wanting, but the cupboard is hardly bare. The offensive line and defensive backfield were recruiting focuses that were addressed in length and most of the team’s promising young talent returns. This 2012 team is young, not lacking talent. That bodes well forthe future.
7. Roster attrition
No one that has left the team this season was expected to be a major contributor in 2012. Most were passed up on the depth chart by younger players. That’s called trimming the fat my friends.
8. UK’s success in other sports
The success of the men’s and women’s basketball team’s, the tennis team, the baseball team, and many other programs at the university have inevitably made football fans antsy. I would remind fans that building a football team is much harder than turning around other sports and that building a roster of 85 takes more time than building one of 13 or so. Also, the SEC is way tougher in football than other sports.
9. Only one commitment
The 2013 signing class should be much smaller than the last two classes and the staff can be more selective this year. This should allow them to take a couple of risks on more talented players and go after a higher caliber of athlete. On top of it all, Jacob Hyde is a damn good commitment to have.
10. Kentucky missed out on Mike Leach
It was a long-shot for Leach to ever coach at UK again regardless of what anyone says. After an unceremonious departure from his last go-round at UK and Texas Tech, he really never was the home run people tried to act like he was. Honestly, if Leach was that hot of a commodity, he wouldn’t be at Washington State right now.
So there you have it. Next time you’re dwelling on the negatives, take a second look and keep in mind that the 2012 season is a fresh start. There is plenty to look forward to this season.