As conference realignment continues to dominate the college sports landscape, Kentucky fa..."/> As conference realignment continues to dominate the college sports landscape, Kentucky fa..."/>

Why Kentucky should not consider the ACC


As conference realignment continues to dominate the college sports landscape, Kentucky fans can take comfort in the fact that we will not be left standing at the alter while other teams flee the SEC. We are in the Big Daddy of all conferences, especially when it comes to football. National attention, championships, recruit attention and money revenue is at an all time high.

With all of these positives about the SEC, then will somebody please explain to me why a portion of our fan base is all of a sudden clamoring to get out of the countries most successful conference and into another conference, namely the ACC.

The Wildcats were demolished by the Florida Gators Saturday night as is accustomed. It has become routine for the Wildcats to take a beating at the hands of the boys from Gainesville. After the game the Twitter feeds and the blogospehere were alight with calls for Kentucky to get out of the SEC and int a conference where we could actually compete in football.

I hate this idea. I hate because it is defeatist. I hate it because it is equivalent to a little kid getting beat in basketball and taking his ball and going home.

I have a solution; why not stay in the SEC and continue to get better? The past decade of Kentucky football has seen more success than any other era since Bear Bryant prowled the sidelines during a legendary season where the Cats defeated a #1 Oklahoma team. Since the Bear left, Kentucky has had minimal football success.

Rich Brooks ushered in a new winning attitude that became contagious in the Commonwealth. Football fans finally saw their team compete in exciting games and even beat SEC royalty like LSU, Georgia and Auburn. The Cats even had some players of national recognition. Andre Woodson, Steveie Johnson, Kennan Burton, Raphael Little, Randall Cobb and Jacob Tamme, among many others, were names that were called on Sportscenter on any given Saturday for their outstanding play.

Now our team is in a funk. We are losing, but are we losing to any teams that we have not lost to before? No. Losing to Florida is nothing new. Getting creamed by Florida is nothing new. So why the outcry?

Some people stick by the statement of “We just can’t compete and we have no football pedigree.” How much football pedigree do teams like Boise State, Stanford and Oregon have previous to the past 10 years? Not much at all, if any. They were on equal footing with Kentucky until they started winning. Now they are all in the top 10 and are in conversations about national championships and Heisman Trophy winners.

It can be done. We can win in the SEC. Another good example is South Carolina. The Gamecocks were another SEC East doormat until last year when they made in to the SEC Championship Game. It took two hall of fame coaches in Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier to do it, but they did it.

The University of Kentucky administration needs to get behind the football program and they need to start spending some serious money on it. We all know the football program makes more money that all of the other programs, even basketball. The fans are here and ready to support a winning team. If Kentucky could be successful in the SEC the money would role in like it never has before.

Rich Brooks was right to call out the athletic department for not fulfilling the promises made to him about improving the facilities at Kentucky. He knows what kind of program the Wildcats could have in the SEC if the right support system was there.

We don’t need to go to the ACC. We need to stay where we are and convince the administration that football needs to be as equal of a priority as basketball.

I am not ready to write this season off just yet and I am definitely not ready to give up on Joker Phillips. But if this team ends up with a losing record and if next years team follows the same road, then the main brass at Kentucky athletics will see fans give up on their biggest cash cow in droves.

It’s time to step up and compete in the SEC. Running from a challenge is not the answer to the problem.

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