Before getting on to the next school, we’d like to acknowledge the tragedy of Comair Flight 5191 out of Lexington Bluegrass Airport, a tragic accident killing 49 of its 50 passengers. I currently live in Lexington and an accident happening so close to home is sobering. Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost loved ones.
On a much lighter note, next on our list of SEC schools is the greatest cellar dweller ever….
The Kentucky Wildcats
The Kentucky Wildcats are a team most schools in the SEC can count on for a win during a rough season. This is a result primarily of the regions keen interest in basketball, reducing football season into something that one has to endure until Rupp Arena opens and Tubby Smith takes the court. The end of nearly every football game has fans grumbling with the likes of, “just wait til you play us in basketball”. Although in recent years the basketball team has not performed up to expectations (read: national title or at least a Final Four appearance).
A few tidbits (unlike the majority of this article, these are not made up):
- The last football coach to leave Lexington with a winning record retired in 1961.
- The great Paul “Bear” Bryant coached the Wilcats for 8 seasons but grew tired of being a second class coach compared to Adolph Rupp. Bryant angrily quit after the school administration awarded Rupp with a brand new Cadillac during the annual sports banquet and similarly awarded Bryant with a brand new Zippo lighter.
- The last winning season was in 2002 when the Wildcats went 7-5 under fatty Jared Lorenzen.
Kentucky’s mascot is Scratch, a blue cat. The animal you see on television is actually a Kentucky Wildcat, known to the scientific community as Shiattius Atfootballius. Lexington was actually overrun by human sized blue cats so catching one to perform during the games was not difficult. Widespread poaching has led this species to become nearly extinct, so they’re a little hard to find if you were to go up to Lexington now to look for one.
Commonwealth Stadium on gameday – a record crowd of 27, all sitting out of view of the camera
Commonwealth Stadium is located on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Being a current UK grad student and a former UTK undergraduate, I was quite awed when I first experienced gameday in Lexington. I was driving on to campus when I suddenly realized I was attempting to drive on the university roads a few hours before kickoff. In Knoxville, it’s suicide to approach campus even the night before a game as traffic is ridiculous, but this apparently wasn’t the case in Lexington. I was able to actually drive by the stadium without any significant delay 4 hours before kickoff. This of course isn’t because of well built roads and excellent civil engineering but rather due to the lack of fans in attendance (this was the UK/Louisville game – one of the biggest of the season). Most fans that do attend usually tricked by Rich Brooks into thinking that Commonwealth is hosting an outdoor basketball game. Fans generally do not understand the rules of college football (overheard during a Kentucky drive, with time running out and no timouts remaining) – “Don’t worry…we’ve still got the 2 minute warning.” (jon’s note: this was an actual quote overheard at
an outdoor basketball game football game)
Most fans blame the weakness of the team on the Curse of Bear Bryant. Apparently, UK fans think that Paul Bryant practiced voodoo and placed a curse on the football team, dooming them to an eternity of crappy play. The truth is that the university administration and athletic department really doesn’t care that much about football, as most resources are devoted to the basketball team. I actually recently overheard a rumor from a UK athlete where the football team is actually barred from using the weight room during certain times during the summer so that the basketball team can work out in private.
The fans are notoriously uncreative, as the crowd’s most familiar cheer is, “C…..A……T……S…..C..A..T..S..CATS CATS CATS!”
The only other tradition that comes to mind is the Louisville/UK football game to kickoff each season. This is really just a precursor to the Louisville/UK basketball game which happens in December. It goes without saying that UK has lost the vast majority of the football games to Louisville.
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