By: Michele Brown
When Mark Stoops accepted the position of Head Coach for the University of Kentucky Football team, he promised the fans that he would change the game. He was going to build something the BBN hadn’t seen in decades — a winning program.
Sure, the skeptics were many and the criticisms over the past 5 seasons have been plentiful. When Stoops said, “Why not Kentucky?”, there were those that laughed. When he said he would “change the game,” there were those that scoffed at such a notion. When he asked the fans to go “All In” for the team, there were those that agreed only to retract their support when the Cats stumbled. When he said it was time to “get to work” there were those that moaned about his repetition of that phrase and demanded results instead.
But then 2018 happened.
The 31-year losing streak to Florida finally came to an end. But the doubters said, “Florida is down this year.”
There was the thorough domination of then-#14 Missippi State. But the doubters said, “Mississippi State was overrated so don’t get excited about beating them.”
The Cats then handed South Carolina another defeat, extending their winning streak against the Gamecocks to five years in a row. This was the South Carolina team many had said in the pre-season would be “the” team to challenge Georgia for the SEC East title. But after UK beat them, the doubters said, “South Carolina wasn’t that good anyway.”
An overtime loss at Texas A&M fueled the fire of all the doubters. “See? We told you Kentucky Football can’t get it done! They’ll fall apart in the 2nd half of the season just like they’ve done in previous years.”
The victory over Vandy didn’t help much after the Cats had a mere 18 passing yards. “They got lucky. The defense bailed them out!”
Then Saturday’s win over Missouri was dubbed by many as another “lucky” win.
Yet, here we are as the first College Football Playoff poll was released with the Cats sitting pretty at #9. The doubters are out in full force, claiming Kentucky “doesn’t belong.” For days, we’ve had national analysts trying to diminish all of UK’s accomplishments, claiming we just got lucky in some games, and that our defense was carrying the load, but that wouldn’t be enough.
For some reason, there seems to be a number of folks that are waiting for Kentucky to fail. They are wanting Kentucky to fail. They want to attribute our success to luck, but 7 wins, including 5 in the SEC takes more than luck. Being 1 of only 4 teams nationally (along with LSU, Clemson, and Michigan) that have + wins against top 50 teams takes more than luck. Repeating that “their defense saved them” over and over as if this is a bad thing doesn’t change the facts. And if you want facts, check out the statistical analysis by Carolyn Drover below:
The numbers don’t lie. The Wildcat defense is for real. Just because it “bailed out” the offense for a couple of games doesn’t mean it will suddenly stop being effective. Wanting Kentucky to fail because “they have basketball” is just pure nonsense.
Mark Stoops’ team now sits on the cusp of turning a magical season into one of near-epic proportion with a win over Georgia on Saturday. A victory would seal an SEC East Division crown and a trip to the SEC Championship game. And should the Cats pick up that win, maybe then people will stop saying “Why Kentucky?” and instead echo Coach Mark Stoops in the 2014 Super Bowl commercial and say “Why not?”
Why not, indeed! Enjoy the ride BBN. You deserve this!
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