We’ve all seen and heard this stuff before. The hype has been going on for years and years and it has been the cause of frustration and anger for many UK football fans. One definition of hype is "excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion" (The Free Dictionary). You can find examples by the well-intentioned without having to search very hard.
While most of us are merely looking for a team that passes the eye test, others are coming out with predictions of a bowl game. This is a pattern I've observed for far too many years.
Because I love football, especially UK football, the hype is always hard to resist because I all want our team to be successful. The hype comes from the media and fans, but each school does their own thing in drumming up excitement. It is called propaganda. My all-time favorite propagandist was "Baghdad Bob."
Propaganda is hard to overcome. Schools come up with fancy slogans, most of which come from something another school has done in previous years. "Believe" and "We Believe" are the most well-worn in the annals of college football. Kentucky has used those in years past. Kentucky has also used "Rise" (Arizona) and "Operation Win." (Buffalo Bills). Those were not original, contrary to what some may believe. Propaganda is based on the belief that if you tell a lie often enough, the masses will believe it.
When you're an Alabama football fan or a Kentucky basketball fan, it is easier to swallow. The results always speak for themselves. So, with those programs, the propaganda and hype become truth. When the results don't match the propaganda and hype, the masses feel cheated and lied to. That feeling comes with the final results. Last year's basketball team is a prime example. We all believed that early season problems would resolve themselves and things would work out. Many held onto that belief going into the SEC tournament and then the NIT. I suppose they felt things would work out from a strong sense of loyalty.
The football fans have suffered through similar situation far more and for far longer. While last season's basketball team's failure was an aberration, failure for the football team has been commonplace for years upon years. Yet, every season begins with unbridled optimism. If you'll recall, last year at the SEC Media Day, we heard, "Why not Kentucky?", when the coaching staff was asked about winning an SEC championship.
While some UK fans were buying into that, the media was barely able to keep from laughing out loud. The end results were two wins and ten losses. On top of that, our team simply looked awful. Even Mitch Barnhart recognized that after watching the 48-0 home field loss to Vanderbilt and he saw the lack of butts in the seats. This was after he had called the fan base "micro-wave fans."
Most fans saw the sham and simply quit going to the games, even before the Vanderbilt game. While the university was reporting attendance numbers based on ticket sales, everyone with eyes could see those numbers were wrong.
I urge our readers to go into this season with an empty glass with hope of filling that glass with your favorite beverage as the season wears on. Using the eye test is perhaps the best method for measuring the team's success. Using wins and losses is probably the worst method in terms of predicting the future. Your eyes don't lie, unless you're wearing the blue shaded sunglasses or drinking the blue kool-aid. Here's hoping that all of our glasses are at least half-full by season's end.
"It’s awfully important to win with humility. It’s also important to lose. I hate to lose worse than anyone, but if you never lose you won’t know how to act. If you lose with humility, then you can come back." - Paul "Bear" Bryant