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Coming to the Defense of the Big Blue Nation

It is nothing new for fans of Kentucky basketball to be labeled rabid, over the top, unreasonable or any one of a dozen or so adjectives and/or sayings.  

Just yesterday, I (among others) took another bloviating bonehead to task for his insensate diatribe (which I will not link again).  Today, we have this from the Harrison North Arkansas Daily Times, ostensibly commenting on the $90,000 paid by Arkansas to a search firm helping them find a coach:

Coaching records aside, even if Pelphrey turns out to be the next college basketball wunderkind, he won't be doing it at Arkansas. Success at Arkansas could definitely lead to Pelphrey jumping ship to his alma mater, Kentucky, when they run Billy Gillispie out of town in three or four years.

If it costs $90,000 for a professional search group to pluck Arkansas' next head coach from the Sun Belt Conference, I shudder to think what it would have cost for them to land a Bill Self or a John Calipari. [Emphasis mine]

What the heck did we do to this guy?  I mean, one of our former players becomes Arkansas coach, and this cretin has nothing better to do than take shots at Kentucky?  

When was the last time one of our newspapers pointed out how hypocritical Arkansas has been in the firing of Stan Heath, who, by the way, was showing slow but steady progress in rebuilding the program?  Talk about your pot calling the kettle black - at least we didn't fire our coach.

Fortunately, the Georgetown News-Graphic comes to the rescue of Kentucky fans everywhere:

The grossest overstatement in the national rush to indict Kentucky fans as "overzealous" has been that Kentucky fans were mad at Tubby Smith because there had been no recent Final Fours or national championships. Tubby supporters point to his 1998 title, multiple SEC championships, his overall record and gentlemanly behavior, as well as his public good works, and say those should have been "good enough."

The reality of the situation from this corner, however, is far different. On a competitive basis, for me it was not so much how far Kentucky did or did not go in the NCAA tournament, but the simple fact that Kentucky had become, as one analyst put it, "irrelevant." The past two years Kentucky was not ranked, was seeded about as low as a major-conference school can go, and was nowhere in the discussions of teams that mattered in the final analysis. Any change in this slide was not on the horizon. For the first time in over 30 years, I didn't much care if I watched a Kentucky game or not.

Now, I have been a major Tubby Smith apologist from the day I came to this blog.  But let me say this - this guy is exactly right.  Kentucky had become irrelevant, and Tubby Smith deserved some of the blame for that.  

But even while many of the fans were calling for coach Smith's head, the athletic administration did not intend to give them their way.  But Arkansas?  Did they give Heath a chance to better his slow but steady progress?  No.  They caved in to their fans, and now their sports writers are implying we are guilty of unreasonable expectations!

Are you vexed with this nonsense yet?  I have had it up to my eyeballs.