Kentucky Football: Rise up, Big Blue Nation


University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart promised that the athletic administration would do whatever it could to move the football program toward respectability and competitiveness in the SEC.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

University of Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops promised that he and his staff would work tirelessly to change the culture of Kentucky Football. Stoops promised to work hard on the recruiting trail to bring in recruits that he and his staff would coach up and give the Big Blue Nation a football team to be proud of.

The recruits that Coach Stoops has brought in have promised to do what they can to turn the program around. They’ve bought into idea that the Wildcats can be better, that they football team can be competitive.

Well, now, it’s our turn. It’s time for the Big Blue Nation to stand up and be counted. At the end of the Joker Phillips era, attendance at Commonwealth Stadium waned as folks became generally dissatisfied with the direction of the football program. Attendance was better during Stoops’ first season, but the 2-10 record wasn’t nearly enough to get Commonwealth filled on Saturdays. The company line from most folks has been: “Give us something to believe in and we’ll be back.” On Saturday night in Gainesville, the Cats gave notice that these are not your daddy’s Wildcats.

Yes, Kentucky lost. And yes, the heartbreak is painful. To come so close to ending the losing streak to the Florida Gators and not be able to seal the deal is another in what seems like and endless run of UK Football near misses.  But, when you look closer, it’s easy to see that it’s not business as usual in Lexington.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Patrick Towles, in his third career start, showed a tremendous amount of poise, making throw after throw to keep the Wildcats in the game. The defense made plays that we haven’t seen a Wildcat defense consistently make in a long time. But the biggest surprise of all is that the key plays were made by freshmen and sophomore.  A group of kids, some barely a year removed from their high school prom, went into The Swamp and gave everyone in Blue and White reason to be excited about the future.

Mitch Barnhart, Mark Stoops and the players and coaches have kept their promises. And now is the time for the Big Blue Faithful to keep theirs. On September 27, the Vanderbilt Commodores come to Lexington to play the Cats. Commonwealth Stadium should be packed. It should be loud. It should be intimidating.  Anything less than a sellout sends the message that the fans aren’t really interested in football, that they’re content with the status quo. If there was ever a time to get on the Kentucky Football bandwagon, it’s right now. Now is the time that we all get serious about football.

Big Blue Nation, it’s time to stand up and be counted. It’s time to fill Commonwealth. It’s time.