Q: I’ve been waiting for you and/or Bozich to weigh in on UK fans booing their own basketball team when they lost to Gardner-Webb in their new coach’s second game, but I haven’t seen it. When U of L fans were booing the football team, it was all over the paper. Is this a double standard?
A: I referenced the U of L booing in three or four paragraphs over a two-week stretch on U of L football, then visited it again when Rick Pitino made it the subject of a 10-minute monologue during his basketball tip-off luncheon speech. Those words, for the most part, were his and not mine. I, in fact, made the point at the end of that column that Pitino may have addressed fans’ behavior, but he did not address their concerns.
Regarding Gardner-Webb. The night of that game, Rick Bozich concluded that the U of L-West Virginia football game was the more important subject, so instead of covering UK-GW he wrote about U of L-WVU. I think that was the right call. The next night, I was covering U of L-West Virginia, and so couldn’t write about the UK-GW game.
What was surprising to me was the number of U of L fans who wrote in who apparently would’ve rather seen an article on the UK basketball loss than their own football team in one of its biggest games of the season.
As to the booing, I agree that it was similar in nature, with one difference — U of L was booing a team that was up by double-digits (against Middle Tennessee). UK was booing a team that was down by double digits. Some distinction must be made between booing a team that is winning and one that is losing.
EDIT: Several readers have emailed complaining that “U of L never led against Syracuse!” They sure didn’t. But the game I was referring to here (and I’ve since added it in parentheses, for clarity) was the MTSU game, in which fans clearly booed. Cardinal fans have written and said that the booing was minimal. I disagree. It was on multiple occasions, and it was loud and sustained enough to be in my opinion, significant. The next day, I wrote that U of L was booed by fans “like Michael Vick at an animal rights rally.” They came after several long MTSU touchdowns. But they count. That’s the only game in which I raised a question over fans booing. Certainly, they’d have been crazy not to boo the performance against Syracuse. In general, the criticism U of L fans have taken over booing has come from the school itself (note, the only other article I wrote on the topic was prompted by comments from Pitino) and not from the media. I’ve raised questions more over U of L fans’ attendance at games and maybe an early departure or two (with Syracuse, I didn’t question the booing, but the mass exodus), more than I have over what they’ve done once they’re there. The school has pointed at the media as a source of “negativity,” but in fact I think you can say that the media treatment of this football season has been more than fair.
Q: I’ve enjoyed your analysis of the U of L offense and running game. Why did you put those on your blog instead of in the paper where more people could see them.
A: First off, thank you. Second, those are complicated subjects which run far longer than my general column space allows. The discussion of the offense alone was the length of 2 1/2 of my newspaper columns. That’s the primary reason. I will likely revisit those topics in the column soon, but not quite in the same form.
Q: Could you please write about something other than UK and U of L? You have readers in Southern Indiana who would like to hear something about the state north of Kentucky. Expand your readers’ sports world, please!
A: Rick Bozich covered IU’s season-opener last Monday and wrote an excellent column on coach Terry Lynch today. Generally, if he writes a topic one day, I’ll stay away from it the next. But I will do my share of Hoosier pieces.
Q: What are the chances U of L will go to a bowl?
A: The magic number for the Cardinals is two. They need to win out to be assured of receiving a bowl bid. They could get to a bowl at 6-6 (if Rutgers also goes 6-6), but that is a much more dicey proposition.