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By LARRY VAUGHT

Barring some unexpected last-minute maneuvering by Kentucky officials, the Wildcats are going to be headed to Birmingham to play in a bowl Jan. 8.

Kentucky players went into this season wanting to avoid playing in another bowl game in Tennessee. They accomplished that goal by managing to lose games they should have won and now they would love to be playing in the Music City Bowl or Liberty Bowl instead of the bowl in Birmingham.

And the real kicker is that UK very, very likely could have to play Louisville, the same team it beat to open the season. That’s a nightmare ready to happen for UK fans.

But my question for you true Kentucky fans is this — will you go to Birmingham to see Kentucky play in a bowl game with a 6-6 record and coming off a 26th straight loss to Tennessee?

I know bowl officials were already wondering how Kentucky fans would travel this year. The economy is still struggling, going to a bowl is no longer a new thing and this team did not fare as well this year as Kentucky fans hoped and/or expected.

So let me know: Would you go to a bowl game in Birmingham Jan. 8 to watch Kentucky play? Tell me why you would or would not go.

Remember, bowl pairings will not be official until next Sunday, but it looks like Kentucky’s chance of being anywhere other than Birmingham for bowl season is the same as UK’s chance of beating Tennessee — and we all know how that turned out.

37 Responses to Would you go to Birmingham for Jan. 8 bowl game?

  • ClassyCatFan says:

    No.

    Too long of a drive in winter weather, TSA has made the friendly skies a little “too friendly,” and I admit, I have lost faith in this team, but I will point out that THEY gave up on themselves before I did.

  • Fantasy Football says:

    Absolutely, positively, resoundingly, NO. At the beginning of this season I reviewed the schedule, recalled the past, considered the present, and predicted UK would end up with a 5-7 regular season record. The only game I missed was the South Carolina game. I have attended Kentucky’s past four bowl games. I will not spend a dollar to attend any bowl Kentucky plays in this post-season, especially in Birmingham or another bowl game in Tennessee. Furthermore, if UK Athletics raises ticket prices and parking fees again next season, I will drop my season football tickets like a hot potato. With each price increase I have heard the theory that we have to ante up more money to be more competitive in the SEC. I have continued to ante up but we have not become more competitive (in my opinion). We continue to hover around 6 wins each and every season. So clearly paying more for tickets and parking is not the answer. Expecting Kentucky to win more than 6 games a season under present circumstances is the true definition of “Fantasy Football!” Expecting Kentucky to play in a prestigious bowl in post-season is ludicrous.

  • Lisa says:

    I will make the drive to Birmingham.Your are either a TRUE BLUE FAN OR NOT!IT TAKES A TEAM TO WIN GAMES,NOT 5 OR 6 PLAYERS!If UK would get their defense together, I think they will have a better season next year.

  • rod m says:

    It is a long winter drive and the time of year is hard to get off work. We won’t make this one – but will be pulling hard and supporting our guys from home.

    Thanks for lots of great football reporting this year Larry, you always bring us the inside scoop.

  • floyd alan adams (alan) says:

    Larry, No , I shall not be going to Birmingham. UK vs UL ? I cannot even believe UL/UK would desire such a game. I cannot believe anyone in charge of gate/tv attendance/ratings for a bowl game would eiter. What a receipe for failure.

    Thank you ALAN ADAMS
    PLANNING ON ATTENDING THURSDAY

  • CongoCat2 says:

    I certainly will. I would like to watch the continued showcasing of cats with potential NFL success, as well as transition to next year cats. I live only a couple of hours way though!

  • Gene says:

    It can be a tough drive in the mid-winter and while I no longer have to worry about scheduling a trip around my employment this team has become so very predictable that it’s not much fun anymore. All of that plus Birmingham is not my favorite city in the deep South. Were they to find a game in Mobile or any gulf coast city I might reconsider and fly down but as so well satated by CCFan, the TSA skies are a bit “too friendly” today.
    Not trying to sound political but I never thought I would see the day, in this country, when government policy might possibly influence attendance at a damned football game……………..I’m done!

  • Andy says:

    Larry,
    I still can’t believe we lost to TN. I am here in Cali but my heart bleeds blue, just sucks that they have beaten us now 26 times in a row. UK has to do something about its football budget to make it competitive like the other SEC schools. Next season we are back to square one with an inexperienced QB and Newton and IMO, Cobb and Danny are gone. I hope next season is not a complete rebuilding season.

  • larryvaught says:

    Basically what I thought so far. Knew some fans would go no matter what, and I admire them. But I fear many more won’t for reasons already shared here. Looking forward to seeing if we get more responses

  • Mattingly says:

    Yes I will be there. Although in Birmingham it’s another bowl trip. I’m a fan that truly remembers the 2-9 seasons to still appreciate the 6-6.

  • Derek says:

    Larry,
    Not just “NO” but heck no. I am and have always been a fan of the University and all sports. Now I am actually even questioning that. This universities lack of attention to the football program that pays for other sports has frustrated me to my limit. For now though I will not attend a bowl game(and I have attended others) and I will not renew my season tickets for next year. I like Joker but its not his first year. I don’t want this to be his legacy but we need to do something now!

  • brad says:

    Maybe, only because my step-son and family live in B’mingam. and his birthday is then. Looks like there will be plenty of tickets…BUT let it be understood…only because I will be in the area that weekend regardless.

  • Bobby says:

    Larry,

    Remember the “Hall of Fame Bowl” played in Birmingham. We went twice, lost to West Virginia in first game (cold,cold) and beat Wisconsin (warm, warm) in one of our better wins ever. I was at both games and happy to be there. So was our fan base. This was before we were going bowling every year!!!

    I will be there again. It is an easy flight (SW) from louisville and not too expensive if you schedule a bit ahead. Importantly we should be better than fair weather fans!! Go Cats!! Bobby

  • larryvaught says:

    Great memories there Bobby. Joker was on those teams I think
    And Brad, that will still be a good time.
    Want to look both of you up then because I will also probably go rather than going to Georgia for the UK basketball game that day

  • Charlene says:

    I will follow the team wherever they go regardless of the 6-6 record. I go to show my support for these kids. I know several of the players personally and have a lot of respect for what they do, not to many college kids would be up at 5am to go to practice, etc. I do have one concern that relates to Fantasy football comment, if Mitch and the athletics board keep raising prices for the tickets – basketball or football doesn’t mattter – the only people that will be able to afford them are the wealthy folks and we all know they go to these functions to be seen not to stand up and cheer. So in the end the players are the ones that will suffer. So I will continue to support them until I can’t afford to any longer. And yes I’ve been a fan for a very long time thru all those loosing seasons and still keep cheering for them

  • Cammie says:

    Yes, I will most definitely be there!! Why? Let me count the reasons:
    1. I remember “fans” saying, “If only we would win 6 games every year and go to a bowl game every few years,I would be happy.”
    2. Streaks? Not since 1909-1913 has the UK football program recorded 5 consecutive 6-win seasons. This group of seniors has accomplished that!
    3. The extra practice time that going to a bowl provides for OUR team is crucial.
    4. On the recruiting trail, we can sell 5 consecutive bowl appearances—-unprecidented at UK! (another positive streak)
    5. I support my alma mater and those who give their time and talents to/for us. The FBI is not investigating our players nor our program; we have no players with felonies. This is a program on the rise, and doing it in the right way. This is about showing appreciation for the players, our university, and our football program.
    6. I am a proud UK graduate. Every other member of my family–from great-grandparents on down–are Auburn graduates. I do know SEC football; I was raised on it! And I am 100% convinced that UK fans are fabulous fans who are still learning how to be SEC calibre-football fans. To do it, we must be present and loud!
    7. IF our bowl destination is Birmingham and IF Louisville is our opponent, do I really want to say that the Louisville Cardinals outnumbered us in fan support??!!?? NO!
    8. Lastly, and maybe most importantly—-I do not want my team to ever give up. So nor shall I!!!!
    I look forward to seeing all the True Blue Fans in Birmingham—or whereever!

  • Paul says:

    Not sure. Will be playing it by ear. But please note that it’s a long drive from my house to legendary Legion Field (former home of the Iron Bowl) — almost 7 miles.

  • TheProfessor says:

    I made the trip to Birmingham in the 80s for one of those bowl games, and while it was a long drive, it occurred at a time when I traveled a lot for football games all over the southeast to watch the Cats. However, I don’t do that any more, and have not since the Music City Bowl when Uk lost to Syracuse.

    As for this year, if the opponent turns out to be Louisville, regardless of the venue, I definitely would not go. I do not believe that the regular season games with Louisville are in the best interest of the UK program, and I certainly do not believe that playing them a second time in the season is good for the program under any circumstance. If that is the match up that occurs, then this football program will be set back several years in my opinion, and the failure of this team to win the 7 games that it needed to get will prove to be very costly.

  • Todd Keelin says:

    Made my first bowl trip last year and had a great time even though we lost.

    This year, no. Distance and money being tight will prevent me from going this year. Even if I had the money, I dont think I would go. I am really disappointed about this team. It seems a few of the players have been mailing it in. This has been a difficult team to get a handle on. I hope they go and win, but I wouldnt bet on it.

  • Michael Lawler says:

    NO! And playing ul for a 2nd time would be disastrous. Can you imagine losing to UT and then ul in the same season? It would set UK back to the probation days.

  • UKFAN says:

    I would but my health keeps me from attending games anymore. I used to enjoy football more than any other sport. Tailgating gave me a chance to visit with friends and enjoy our great Kentukcy’s fans. Cammie I agree it would sure be a shame to see more red than BLUE in the stands. We have filled Commomwealth with fewer wins than this years team. It wasn’t a good year but what has made the BBN so great are it’s fans even when we were 2-10. It could also be Randall and Danny’s last game as Wildcat’s. They deserve a great crowd to end their careers.

  • Not An Idiot says:

    No.

    I pay the blackmail for season tickets & parking. I endure the endless promises that “we’ll get better”. I become more & more convinced that obtaining the depth of talent necessary to compete against those who annually finish above us in the SEC is a hopeless task.

    I commend the athletes that make the effort on UK’s Football team, but there is a limit of how far I personally can go to support a program that has failed to “get over the hump” for half a century (excepting Curci’s brief but stained effort). I have suffered through all of the half century (shook hands with Tom Hutchinson at Coach Collier’s house when I was in high school) and have a number of friends who also have.

    The facts remain that we’re no better off than we were many times before. Going 6-6 with an inflated schedule (12 games) means little. Being “bowl eligible” means little (aside from extra practice time & recruiting b.s.) because we play in “little sisters of the poor” bowls, most of which shouldn’t even exist.

  • Stuart says:

    My son and I will be there. We’ve been to the last four. I’ve been a UK fan for 36 years. I am a 1983 grad of UK. I was at the game at Commonwealth the last time UK beat UT there in 1981 (it snowed and we left early, if I’d known what would happen over the next 30 years, I’d have stayed). My senior year UK went 0-10-1 (Jerry Claiborne’s first year).

    I remember just a few years ago being thrilled to get to go to any bowl any where. I think we UK fans have gotten a little spoiled. Sure, I am not happy about how this year turned out (we could easily be 9-3 and only really got blown out once), but I’m still a Big Blue Fan!

    We live in Western Kentucky, so it’s not much longer of a drive to Birmingham than to Lexington. The projections I’ve seen show up playing South Florida though.

  • Papablu says:

    if at all possible, me and my family will be there…..

  • Ira says:

    No. This is a another season of should’ve would’ve could’ve. I know this isn’t about the Defensive Coordinator, but if Steve Brown is back for another year, I’ve been debating whether or not to renew my season tickets as well. Nice seats too. But I just can’t stand another year of horrible defense and watching another season being splish splashed down the drain!

    I can watch that same horrible defense at the house on the couch and be much more comfortable and save myself alot of money.

    BTW I don’t like the touchy feely by the TSA either another reason I don’t want to fly and go Bowling!

  • Mark says:

    No. Many bowls require teams to guarantee buying then selling a certain number of tickets. If the all of the tickets are not sold, the school takes a loss. If fans don’t buy all of UK’s allotment maybe the administration will get the message that we are tired of going to minor bowls. Another fact not well known: Mitch Barnhart will receive a $30,000 bonus for UK going to a bowl and Coach Phillips will get a bonus of $75,000 or $50,000 depending on if the bowl payout to UK is more or less than $2 million. That’s where some of the ticket and parking price increase is going.

  • Mark says:

    Here’s the source of the bonus figures: Mr. Barnhart, Sports Illustrated Nov. 15, 2010 issue, page 48; Coach Phillips, page 7 of his contract.

  • larryvaught says:

    Hoping it will be South Florida. And so is Mitch.
    Mark your numbers are exactly right.
    Again, enjoying all the responses — pro and con — here because everyone has his or her own logical reasons.

  • John says:

    Larry, I plan to go. It’s a no-brainer. My wife went to South Florida and I live in Atlanta so it’s just a two-hour drive. GO CATS!!!!!

  • Tana says:

    God-willing, I will absolutely be there. We will be driving down, so here’s surely hoping the roads are clear.

    I could basically just say DITTO to all of Cammie’s reasons, just as I could practically say that to everything she says both here and on your show, Larry. Actually, it would be nice to get to meet Cammie at whichever bowl site our Wildcats land.

    My loves/loyalties are, in order: God, family, and UK football (and UK basketball and friends are right in there, too, of course). I want those young men to win with all my heart. I would not even consider not showing up to support them in their efforts to attain that FIFTH straight winning season Cammie mentioned. As she said, I don’t expect the players “to give up” when there’s adversity and disappointment, and I expect no less of myself as a Wildcat fan.

    I hope a lot of folks who are able to go change their minds as a little time passes after the disappointing loss to UT, because these guys and a program we “supposedly” love NEED US. They have given us these five straight bowl games, what we had so wanted for all those decades. Do we now reward them by not having any interest because the bowl’s not “good enough” for us — and by not putting out the effort to go? I don’t get that. Too, I saw effort by our players in all of those disappointing, narrow losses, although I, unfortunately, also saw a critical lack of execution/mistakes at some key moments. Again, I hope more fans decide to show appreciation and give their own effort.

    Finally, the more support we give our players, the greater the chance that they are inspired to win this bowl game that will give them that FIFTH-straight winning season. I still remember the coaches’ saying how the large crowd at the 2006 Music City Bowl in Nashville had helped to inspire them to the win. The less excited our fans are, the less excited our players are likely to be. Our beloved football program NEEDS US. The greater the fan support, the more recruits are impressed, too, and recruiting is the way to get to that next level we all want. I’m going because I want to be there to enjoy these departing players ONE MORE TIME, and I’m also going because I honestly cannot even consider not being there in support of them. GO CATS!!!

  • Bill Rauhuff says:

    I would go with Tennessee vs Louisville and let Kentucky play North Carolina in the Music City Bowl

  • Paul says:

    Does everybody understand that there are something like 35 bowl games this year? That’s seventy — count ‘em, 70 — division 1 teams going bowling this year people. You’ve gotta win half your games to go to one if you’re an SEC team. That can be 4 wins that you paid for plus Vandy and one more. That gets you to the promised land — a winning percentage of 50. That was an F when I was in school. And by the way, there are a total of 120 division 1 teams as I recall. That essentially puts UK in a category of the top 60% of all division 1 football schools. Yes, that’s right, only about 40% of the schools are not invited to a bowl game. The good news: I guess we’re better than Texas this year.

    OK, so I’m just venting. Also, I suppose I’ll go to this stupid bowl game…

  • larryvaught says:

    Tana, you probably make the most sense when you note that once a few more days pass and the frustration from Tennessee goes away, more fans will start talking about the trip. And your reasons for supporting the team are logical.
    John, hope to see you there. How are those calendar sales going. Still the best UK christmas present out there — or one of the best

  • Derek K says:

    Guys a few days have passed for me and nothing is changing. I won’t go and most likely will not renew my season tickets(lowers on side). Anyone see today Cincy Equirer article on UK Football. Perception is reality folks and the perception is a “JOKE”. We beat a bunch of cupcakes for 5 wins and caught USC off guard for 6. Not a good team.

  • TheProfessor says:

    ok, 35 bowls this year. How many were there last year, and the year before that? Is it steadily increasing?

    If so, that indicates to me that the NCAA, the bowl sponsors, and the teams that get to go are making money by doing so, and until bowl sponsors, the NCAA and bowl teams begin to lose money, or at least not make enough to satisfy their thirst, I would expect the number of bowls to continue to rise. It is just like the NCAA basketball tournament. It has nothing to do with worthiness for post season participation, but everything to do with the ability of a coach or AD to tell the boosters/fans we got in.

    The bottom 30 of the 68 teams are not championship worthy teams in basketball, but that does not stop the NCAA and all the schools from their quest for tournament expansion. 65 to 68 is just one step. It was not enough and not quick enough for many, but it was all the NCAA could do this time around.

    I think the same is true of bowl expansion.

    Oh, and at least in theory, no team can go bowling with a losing record in the regular season, but there are always a handful of teams in the big dance with losing records.

  • gmoyers says:

    Thanks Derek. Hate to hear you giving up tickets, but understand.
    Great points again Professor

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