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Kentucky Wildcat football fans have to RISE past their pessimism


Here we are Wildcat fans with the opening football game just four games away and I have to say, I am shaking my head at the amount of pessimism being shown toward this years edition of the Kentucky football program.  And simply put, it needs to end.  Right now.

If Kentucky fans can show only half the optimism of basketball fans, there will be a tremendous upsurge in the general vibes around this team.  Kentucky fans expect a national title in basketball every single year and to date, John Calipari has not taken Kentucky to the promised land.  And has be been hung in effigy and are there calls for his head?  No.  The man has all the love and support of the Big Blue Nation and he has deliver an Elite Eight finish and a Final Four appearance.  No national title, and no preseason expectations have been fulfilled, yet the love continues for Calipari.

I love John Calipari as much as the next man, but this notion that Kentucky fans have that Kentucky is still a basketball only school is a defeatist one at best.  Over the past five seasons, Kentucky football has knocked off an eventual national champion and lost to another one by just a mere FG.  They also have gone down to Tallahasee and lost to Nick Saban’s squad by just a mere FG and ended long road losing streaks to Georgia and Auburn.  As well as make five straight bowl appearances.  And all of this has been done in the toughest conference in all of football.

So wake up.  Kentucky has a football program that we all can get behind and support.  There is a lot of be optimistic about this year in football and for the the first time in a long time, the SEC East is truly up for grabs.

South Carolina has to be considered the front runner for the East title, and Kentucky beat the Gamecocks last year.  The last three years in this series has been decided by a total of 12 points.  And let’s not forget that the Gamecocks QB, Stephen Garcia, has the potential to self destruct any given series.  While I think that it is unlikely that we beat the Gamecocks in South Carolina, this game is always hard fought and if Kentucky can get the breaks, it will be competitive again.

Georgia is picked second in the East.  Kentucky is 2-3 versus the Bulldogs the past five years and that includes a 4 point loss to the then 13th ranked Bulldogs.  And this Bulldog team has the potential to be “Team Turmoil” this year.  They are extremely thin at the RB position and face #5 Boise State and #12 South Carolina to open their season.  An 0-2 start puts a giant black cloud around this team and has the fans calling for a coaching change.  Could things rapidly disintegrate for this team?  You betcha.

Next comes Florida.  The Gators finished regular season at 6-6 last year and 4-4 in the SEC.  Never in the past decade has Kentucky been so within reach of ending that streak as this year.  Florida has a new coach, an inconsistent QB, and holes on both sides of the field.  Plus the Kentucky game is Florida’s first game away from the Swamp.  Does UF have talent?  Yes.  But that does not always equate into wins.  How long is it going to take Florida to respond to their new coaching staff and start to gel?  No one knows.  Could an early UK start rattle Florida?  Especially if Kentucky can turn the tables and deliver a “pick 6” and get the Commonwealth crowd roaring.

And we come to the Tennessee Vols.  To be honest, this streak should have ended years ago.  Tennessee finished 6-7 last year and most people are picking the same for them.  You can no longer say that there is this huge talent disparity all across the board as there has been in some years.  This game at Commonwealth represents Kentucky’s best win for a victory and lots of national press are picking the streak to end.

But not Kentucky fans.  Kentucky fans are mired in a deep mentality of pessimism and are saying things like “Don’t predict a 8-4 season” or “we just want the bowl streak to continue”.  And I have gotten emails telling me I am insane for picking a 8-4 season.


One of my favorite lines from Tim Burton’s “Batman” is Jack Nicholson’s Joker who watches in disgust as Batman gets all the attention and declares “This town needs an enema”.  Well, our Joker is too far of a gentleman to say that, but I am going to say that Kentucky fans need an attitude adjustment when it comes to this years football team.  I ran down the list of  “powers” in an incredibly weak SEC East and it’s not like we have Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas in our division.  We have some traditional powers that have a lot of question marks and the same type of pessimism surrounding their program as Kentucky fans have. 

So why not take advantage of that.  Why not show up at Commonwealth Stadium super charged and make that place an uncomfortable place for opponents to play this year.  Kentucky has gone undefeated at Rupp Arena for the past two years with the lower bowl having the energy of a funeral wake at times.  Why can’t Kentucky fans show some energy and take advantage of 65,000 bodies and make Commonwealth Stadium shake for every game, not just when we think we have a chance to win a game.  The crowds at Death Valley and the Swamp have intimidate opponents for years.  Why can’t Kentucky football fans give our team a rockstar entrance and stand and yell on third downs for the defense.

It’s time to end this self defeating mentality that fans have and support this football team for 60 minutes a game.  The fan bases of the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneer s have overcome decades of NFL futility to win the Super Bowl.  And their home games were filled with 70,000 rabid fans all buying into the “Why not us, why not now” theme and making road games a living hell for their opponents.  Believe it or not, make an effort at the home football games to support your team and they will feed off the energy.  Home teams feed off the crowd and Kentucky has spent a lot of money to upgrade Commonwealth with a new video and sound system.  Can Kentucky fans put the same effort and return the favor?

I realize that Kentucky has some very good football fans and this diatribe is not in any way, directed at you.  I love the passion and support that some of you have for Kentucky football and I just wish the rest of the fanbase can get behind this team like they do Terrence Jones and John Calipari.  If Kentucky fans had have the passion for football at basketball and showed it, that would lead to at least one more home win a year.  Guarantee it.

Kentucky fans like to mock Florida basketball fans because of the relative disinterest they show towards basketball, but we are guilty of the same in the way we support this football team.  And Danny Trevathan does not deserve that disrespect.  Neither does Morgan Newton, LaRod King, or Larry Warford.  What they deserve is the same support and passion that you give to Kentucky basketball. It’s the same school and the same University.  Where is the love?

But it all starts with you, Kentucky fans.  There is nothing wrong with supporting football with the same fever we
support basketball.  And there is nothing wrong for saying Kentucky will finish 8-4.  And if 8-4 never comes and Kentucky finishes 6-6.  John Calipari still has not fulfilled your season goals for him and won that elusive eight title yet, but that does not diminish the amount of time we spend talking, breathing, and speculating about title number eight.  How about put that passion into win number eight for this year’s football squad?

This program has been on the verge of ascending the SEC ladder for the past few seasons.  Maybe it’s time we realize they need that boost from their fanbase and help get them there?  And trust me.  Basketball season is still going to happen in November.  And I don’t think John Calipari will mind one bit if for a change, you support football as well.

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