Welcome to a new feature on the WBN. We know it was a busy week and you may have missed some things on the site, so we are doing an ” In Case You Missed It ” Feature on the weekends to highlight some of our best/more interesting stories during the past week. It gives you a chance on some things you may have missed. Don’t worry, we are not going all rerun on you during the weekend, this is just an added feature. In Case You Missed It.
Consider this for a moment. Three months ago the Kentucky football team soundly defeated Samford in front of a paltry crowd despite a movement to “Pack Commonwealth” for the seniors and outgoing coach Joker Phillips. Two months ago fans were divided into various factions ranging from anti-and pro-Petrino, Barnhart, and others were giving up. Fans lamented the university’s lack of commitment to football. One month ago Kentucky’s recruiting class was ranked in the 60’s and Jason Hatcher was a USC Trojan.
Today the fanbase in 95% is solidified, Mark Stoops has been a near universal hit with Big Blue Nation. Joker Phillips is an assistant with Florida, who has been somewhat vilified due to his pursuit of Ryan Timmons. The recruiting class currently sits at #28 according to Rivals (which includes Timmons) and could rise depending on 4 star recruits Tevin Lawson and James Hearns. Jason Hatcher is a Wildcat who has sung the praises of Kentucky, a sharp contrast to his previous opinion of the Cats. A bonding plan that would give UK $110 million to renovate football facilities is on the verge of being passed. The energy and excitement surrounding the program are at an all-time high without a game having been played yet. Kentucky football has the forward momentum fans have longed for, but the fight isn’t over yet, there is one more step before the season: the Blue/White Spring game.
If Kentucky fans want an SEC football program, then we need to start acting like SEC football fans. Kentucky needs to get at least 20,000 fans in the seats on April 13 to be a legitimate SEC fan base. Here are the league attendance numbers from last Spring:
- Alabama: 78,526
- Arkansas: 45,250
- Auburn: 43,427
- Florida: 38,100
- Georgia: 44,117
- Kentucky: 4,500
- LSU: 33,000
- Ole Miss: 25,000
- Mississippi State: 22,604
- Missouri: 18,614
- South Carolina: 34,513
- Tennessee: 35,421
- Texas A&M: 15,000
- Vanderbilt: 8,500
As you can see UK was the worst by far. Some of that was due to the weather. Some was due to Thunder of Louisville. And some more was due to Keeneland’s opening weekend. But by far it could be attributed to the fact that most fans didn’t even know when it was until 2 weeks prior. Even the media types couldn’t find out about it. That has all changed. The time and date of the game was announced in early January by the university. It no longer coincides with Thunder or opening weekend. (Keeneland is running that weekend but not overlapping the 7pm start time.) Of course Mitch Barnhart doesn’t control the weather.
Spring games are often used as huge recruiting events, but not if you have paltry attendance and a crowd who claps like they are watching golf. Coaches don’t want to come to or stay at schools that lack fan support. Mark Stoops has seen nothing but great support from the Big Blue Nation and he is expecting that to continue through the Spring. When confronted with lacking support UK fans have responded with a past of great support for bad football. Well this is a new day and none that matters anymore. Stoops and his staff have done everything in their power to move this program forward to winning. They have created momentum in recruiting which just compounds upon itself. Now it’s up to us to help make the players feel wanted and impress recruits by coming out for the game.
A group of fans who may be the most hardcore Kentucky football fans out there have started a movement to fill the stadium for the Blue/White game. While that goal is probably a little ambitious, we want to get everyone we can to show up, tailgate, let your kids play and watch the games. Sound The Siren now has a Twitter account, Facebook page, and Facebook Event that fans can join and follow. I encourage all UK football fans to do so . Nobody is making any money off of this, the only goal is to make Coach Stoops’ first Spring Game a memorable one!