Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sports Talk: Sugar Rush - Go Cards!

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Jan. 9, 2013. 
I know I am somewhat of a rare breed with my love of Kentucky sports teams as a whole (ie, I like both UK and UofL.), but let me just say, for those of us who can take joy and pride in both, it’s been a pretty nice year: a basketball championship last March and then a completely unexpected Sugar Bowl title last week.
I have probably mentioned before that I follow college football a little more than college basketball. This probably springs from being raised in a Buckeye influenced environment. I love the idea of good football in our state though.
We’ve seen flashes of it in the past, but never a long-standing strong program that builds a name for itself. You know… the kind where even if you have a few “bad seasons” you still have winning records and win some big games. The same way we view Wildcat basketball. Despite going well over a decade without a national title and having some troubling years, Kentucky was never removed from the “basketball powerhouse” list in this nation.
I want a football team that we can say that about in our state.
As you may have picked up from my article a few weeks back about Charlie Strong’s decision to stay at U of L, I am excited about the potential of the Cards building a strong program. Excitement aside, though, reality told me Florida was going to take the bowl title.
So when I came into watching the game part way into the first half and the Cards were up 14-0, I had to make sure I was seeing the screen right.
The North Caroline game being the only U of L game I attended this season, I could not help but not hold my breath even when we had a the 14-point lead at half time. (The Cardinals led 36-7 at halftime of the Sept. 15 UNC game only to allow North Carolina to make a comeback  of 27 points in the second half. The Cardinals only scored three points and won by five.)
But as we all know, the favored Gators fell and Cardinal fans celebrated not just a bowl title, but a new level of pride for their school and state in accomplishing what very few thought possible.
Being a Cards fan who does not follow the team as avidly as my coworkers and many others, on might ask why I am still so excited about Louisville’s win.  
It’s more than just the fact it was a bowl game. We all know that those games are chosen and not earned in the sense of a playoff system. It has more to do with the fact the odds were completely in Florida’s favor and the fact Florida is one of those football powerhouse teams. They are that football team expected by their fans, athletes, alums and administrators to have a dominant program year after year. They are part of what make the SEC, the SEC.
Naysayers and Cardinal haters can disagree because that’s the beauty of sports rivalry, but as for me, I’m hopeful that this is only the beginning of something big building in the Bluegrass.

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