Got a few emails today accusing me of being inconsistent — or of backing off my claim of Monday that U of L should hit the road if it wants games against big-time opponents when today I wrote that U of L officials had little choice but to accept an opener against Murray State or opponent of similar caliber.
No, I’m not backing off my Monday point. If U of L wants to play a big-splash game against a big-time opponent, its quickest route to that is to do it on the road. After now 32 straight regular-season games in which it has been a favorite, at some point a risk is warranted.
I chose to bring up Auburn’s available game in the second week of the season as an example, and said I thought U of L should have jumped at the opportunity to head south. Sure, it would cost money (though Auburn no doubt could pay a guarantee that would recoup a good bit of the lost revenue of a home game).
That’s not U of L’s philosophy, and so be it. I’m paid for my opinion, and I gave it.
But that discussion had nothing to do with the opener and the circumstances surrounding it. I said in Monday’s column that I wish U of L were playing at Auburn in Game 2.
In Game 1, U of L had no choice but to accept a lesser opponent after — well, you know what happened with the state rival and the change in scheduling. Enough said.
Season openers are sensitive for most places. Boy, do we not know that by now? U of L could find no Division I-A schools to fill it, so it took an in-state Division I-AA. Nobody was happy having to do that, least of all the people at U of L. Even some places that would be willing to invite U of L for a one-and-done game at their place (something U of L says it won’t do) have no interest in having the Cardinals as season-opening guests.
The fact is this: U of L had a long-standing practice of playing an SEC opponent on Labor Day weekend. U of L was willing, and in fact preferred, to show up at Commonwealth Stadium and play an SEC opponent in front of a packed house on opening weekend. U of L tried hard to make that happen. So to criticize them when they had to scramble to find an opponent of lesser-quality wouldn’t have been quite fair.
I’m not going to take U of L to task for doing something it basically had to do. But to question whether they ought to hit the road for a big-time opponent or two is very fair, I believe. And I did just that with the Auburn discussion.
And then there’s one more set of emailers who say, “We’re tired of this discussion. Nobody is interested in beating these dead horses.”
Maybe so, but more people are talking about these issues than the games themselves right now, so it seems like a relevant topic to me.
Thanks to all who write, by the way. I try to respond to each email personally, but if for some reason I haven’t, the responses are always welcome, agree with me or not.