Back in 1947, the members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic scientists put their big brains together and started maintaining what is called the Doomsday Clock. The clock is a ominous reminder of how close we are, as a society, coming to imploding and spinning into a global disaster. The countdown is in minutes towards a mythical dark midnight. When the clock was set up, it began its timekeeping at 11:53PM or seven minutes till midnight. Shortly after the Doomsday Clock was instituted, the Kentucky Wildcats won their first national basketball title in 1948. And ever since then, Kentucky fans have had their own version of an internal doomsday clock running among the Big Blue Nation, running the gamut from full-fledged freak out mode to pure euphoria.
You have to figure that the Kentucky version of the Doomsday clock has had its ebbs and flows over the years. In 1951, after the third title in four years, you had to figure that the clock was turned off, or at the very least turned way back to 11:30PM, far, far, from disarray and chaos.
After Kentucky’s loss to Florida on Saturday night, I got the feeling that some members of the Big Blue Nation had advanced the Doomsday clock well past midnight as the mutterings on Twitter and other social media reverberated with sheer panic and the signs of the coming Apocalypse. After a 24 hour cooling off period the clock remained close to midnight, but rest assured, there is no impending doom.
Despite the loss to Florida, Kentucky still has their destiny in their own hands. They need to win on the road versus Ole Miss on Tuesday and then complete a home revenge tour versus LSU and Arkansas. South Carolina and Alabama are next and if this team does not implode, they should be sitting at 24-6 and staring down a three seed. THen comes a road trip to Florida and if Kentucky can pull off the upset, will have the clock reverted back to around 11:30pm.
And that is the great thing about a mythical doomsday clock. It can be reset. After the real clock debuted at 11:53PM in 1947, it nearly destructed in 1953, when it reached 11:58PM when the US and Russia both tested thermonuclear devices in a nine month span. That was the closest approach to midnight. A decade later, the two superpowers signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which limited nuclear testing and the world breathed easier, and the clock dipped to 11:48PM. In 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved, the clock saw its earliest time setting at 11:43PM.
You have to think the BBN doomsday clock was at 11:59:30PM back in 1989 when the program was sacked with sanctions and turmoil. Along came Rick Pitino who began to reset the clock second by precious second. Billy Clyde Gillispie took us to 11:58PM, but John Calipari reset the clock all the way to 11:00PM in 2012. Since then the clock has been kind of bi-polar.
Last years team was an anomaly, and the clock did increase, but nowhere close to destruction. Same as it stands this morning. Even though this years clock was erroneously set to perfection, such a thing does not exist. And while we have clicked closer to a Big Blue Meltdown, the clock is far from midnight.
As history shows, the doomsday clock can be reset. And it starts Tuesday at Ole Miss.
Tick. Tick. Tock.