Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kentucky Goes Bowling... Really?

I will preface this by saying that I am content with this football season at face value. This was a Kentucky team that by all measures would struggle as the push was made not to win, but to continue to win, a feat that had been virtually impossible in Lexington until now. There were injuries, there was chaos at the QB position, an angry fanbase, and excitement, disappointment, rejoice, and letdown all rolled in to one.

I am thrilled for the seniors that get to go to their third straight bowl game, who will close their careers with the potential to do something that no team has done in school history (win 3 straight). But frankly, this whole bowl has a "meh" sort of feeling for me. Why is that? Glad you asked...
  • The Cats are playing a midmajor East Carolina team. This isn't a team like Florida State or Clemson, who bring some sort of name recognition. This is East Carolina, who banked their early season good will by beating severely over-ranked West Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Pirates faded down the stretch, losing three in a row at one point, squeaking by in several others, and just playing uninspired football. And now, it's a no-win situation for Kentucky. A win and it's what they should have done, a loss and it's the talk of the news. This opponent does not excite me in the least.
  • The Cats are playing in a location that no one wants to be in. It's Memphis. It's the Liberty Bowl. This is not a premier location. This is not a premier Bowl. Yes, the Cats went to two straight Music City Bowls, but to campaign hard for the Liberty Bowl just to go someplace different seems ridiculous. This location excites me even less than the opponent.
  • The Cats are quite simply put, an average football team. At best. This Kentucky team is .500. They were 2-6 in the SEC, winning their 2 conference games by a combined 2 points. The only QB they had that showed any sort of moxy is doubtful for the Liberty Bowl, and the last time they took the field they looked stagnant, uninspired, and like they were going through the motions in Knoxville.
On one hand, I'm happy the Cats made a Bowl game as around 50 schools can't say that. But to be truthful, I just wish they were staying home this holiday season. I'm not thrilled about the Bowl, the opponent, or the team itself, and am just counting down the days until next year.

I hope the Cats prove me wrong. I hope the Cats respond well to the month or so off, get healthy, and close the season on a high note. Hopeful, but not optimistic. This team has given me no reason thus far to be optimistic at all. And within a much larger argument, I'm not convinced a 6-6 team with a 2-6 conference record who won a game over a 1-AA opponent deserves to even be Bowling in the first place. Meh.

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