Before this season, I heard plenty of Kentucky Wildcats fans stressing the importance of Mark Stoops turning the season around and making a bowl this season. If Stoops could not do this in his fourth season, he should be fired, regardless of the massive buyout.
As the season got off to a 0-2 start, the rumblings got louder, and the nasty personal rumors about Stoops' personal life started and some fans were empowered to openly discuss the next Kentucky football coach ... while a guest on Stoops' own radio show.
But guess what? The turnaround did occur in season four. The Wildcats finished with a 7-3 record in their final 10 games, which was highlighted with a 41-38 win over the #11 Louisville Cardinals. Granted, it was not a perfect season, and that Southern Miss game still stings, but for all intent and purpose, Mark Stoops turned things around.
With Stoops doing his job, it's time for some new rules for Kentucky football. So in the spirit of Bill Maher, here we go.
1) Stop referring to Kentucky as a "basketball school"
In doing so, this only insults the entire football culture and the program. It's an old, tired, worn out saying that is fair to no one. Kentucky is consistently a top 25 program in the nation, attendance wise, and for that reason alone, this must end. In addition, the new facilities and stadium renovation scream anything but "football program."
Mark Stoops has done a tremendous job changing the culture at Kentucky, and he deserves credit for it. In the process, national commentators like Gary Danielson have to get with the program as well, and he has to quit telling this tired old story about the called asking about basketball immediately after the upset of #1 LSU.
While we are at it, stop telling the lie about Bear Bryant getting a cigarette lighter while Adolph Rupp got a car. It's simply not true.
2) Stop saying it's the "same old Kentucky Wildcats football."
It has not been the same old Kentucky Wildcats football team for a while. If it was the same old Kentucky team, Lamar Jackson would not have self-destructed down the stretch and fumbled the game away in the red zone.
And the old Kentucky does not have two game-winning field goals in one season. With all of these players now ones that came to Kentucky under Mark Stoops, this is a whole new era, and the past is dead. The old Kentucky Wildcats don't beat South Carolina three times in a row. This is a team that has grown every week, and it's just a disservice to keep saying this every time a call does not go UK's way, or they turn the ball over.
3) Buy those season tickets and go to games
For three years, I have listened to fans whine on social media about how they were going to get rid of their season tickets or even openly brag about getting rid of them because they were "fed up." If that's the case, you made a huge mistake.
Next year has the potential to be one of the best home seasons in quite a while for Kentucky football. Florida, Tennessee and Louisville all have to make the trip to Lexington, and the Wildcats will have a good chance to win two of those games, In addition, Missouri and Ole Miss give Kentucky two more attractive home games, and there is a real shot at an eight or nine win season.
With the real buzz around the Cats next season, there is no reason to not sell out every game at Commonwealth. You don't see the sorry crowd that UK had for Austin Peay at pretty much any SEC school not named Vanderbilt and Missouri. "Being a football school" is as much on the fans as it is on the coaches and players.
Stoops and company have done their parts to charge the culture and to put a competitive program on the field. It's up to the fans to step up and do their part and stop with the silly boycotts they have staged in the past. Now, it's time for the fans to put up or shut and fill the stadium.
That's just a few of the "new rules" I have for Kentucky. What else needs to change now that Stoops and company have given the fans the on-field product they have been clamoring for?