I am excited about the upcoming University of Kentucky Wildcats football season. Ten reasons for my excitement follow below:
1. Kentucky’s new head coach Mark Stoops brings lots of excitement. When Kentucky (UK) gets a new head football coach, which happens often, new interest and high expectations arrive, too.
2. Despite a late start, recruiting for the 2013 season was nice by Kentucky standards. Furthermore, Rivals.com (from Yahoo! Sports), Scout.com, and ESPN all rate Kentucky’s 2014 recruiting in the top dozen nationally so far, which builds excitement for the 2013 season, too.
3. Due to the use of many talented freshmen and other underclassmen last year, the Wildcats have lots of young returning players with significant experience. Fans can watch an open practice and meet the team at the “annual Kentucky Football Fan Day,” set for August 9 this year according to a UKAthletics webpage.
4. Season ticket sales are up substantially, and the spring intrasquad scrimmage had great attendance. Fan interest and enthusiasm will carry over to the players.
5. Although this writer loves college basketball much more than football and even wrote a Yahoo! Voices article urging football to be abolished due to its violence, football is the major autumn sporting event in Kentucky for me (and probably most others) — at least until basketball season starts.
6. UK football games are typically the only events where a huge crowd (perhaps 60,000 or 70,000 persons) gathers in the autumn to fellowship together in central Kentucky. Even if you dislike football, the tailgating and other fun makes it worthwhile in my opinion.
7. An SEC team has won the national championship seven years in a row. If you watch all the Wildcats’ games, you may see the national champion play and will see defending champion Alabama, as well as other outstanding teams.
8. Improvement is almost certain after last season’s disastrous 2-10 season that included a 40-0 blowout loss to Vanderbilt.
9. The schedule is a bit easier. Don’t laugh. Each of the four nonconference games is winnable, with UK likely being favored in three of them. The SEC schedule includes three traditionally relatively weak opponents in Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Mississippi State, as well as Tennessee which had a poor season last year. My Kentucky Wildcats 2013 football preview sees Kentucky winning all its nonconference games except one (Louisville), as well as pulling off upset wins against SEC foes Missouri, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. A printable copy of the Cats’ 2013 football schedule is available on a UKAthletics webpage, as well as numerous other locations.
10. Fans get the joy of watching a bowl game. Yes, I forecast that the enthusiastic, overachieving 2013 Kentucky Wildcats football team will be rewarded with a bowl bid for their 6-6 regular season record. If the Wildcats get a weak opponent, they may even win their bowl!
Note: The author has been a fan of UK football (with varying degrees of enthusiasm) since the early 1970s via radio, television, and sometimes attending games in person. This article was submitted to Yahoo! Voices on July 10, 2013 and last revised on July 12, 2013.