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The negative effects of expansion (long).

  • Conference realignment and expansion have dominated talks for the last month. Many people have expressed excitement about 16 team "super conferences". While the thought of an even more powerful SEC does entice, it would benefit UK had college football remained as is. These super conferences have not yet formed, but even with the addition of Texas A&M (and those who may/will follow), Kentucky will experience more difficulty in our quest to become an established program.

    - Recruiting/exposure has been the main point brought up about expansion that will benefit Kentucky. It is true that Texas recruits will now be in the SEC market. However, just because our games will be viewed in Texas DOES NOT mean that the state will become an automatic pipeline for us. Yes, we may break into the state and sign good recruits, but the odds of this drastically increasing our recruiting simply aren't there. Texas, A&M, TTU, and Oklahoma are those that frequently get first choice. Now, with the addition of the SEC, other school will descend upon the state. The schools that do stand to gain from this are those that are closest in proximity, the Western schools. Alabama, LSU, and Auburn will have a say in who gets the quality recruits. Kentucky will be an afterthought. An example of this is Florida. A very fertile recruiting ground with a SEC market present. Outside of Trevathan, how many 4 stars or quality recruits have we pulled from Florida? The state isn't a pipeline for us. Neither will Texas be.

    - This may not come to fruition, but the SEC could potentially move to a 9 game schedule, similar to the PAC 12. What this means is that Kentucky would drop an OOC game for another conference foe. The Louisville game will not be dropped. It means too much to be dropped. So instead, we will be dropping a very weak opponent. UKAA claims that the program is not on steady enough ground to schedule difficult OOC opponents as to risk not becoming bowl eligible (3-1, or 2-2 if Louisville beats us). Now, rather than adding WVU, Mizzouri, Va Tech, or Cincinnati (those are commonly mentioned) to our schedule, we would potentially be adding LSU, Alabama, Auburn, or A&M, a much harder trade off.

    - Kentucky already brings a knife to a gun fight (this applies to many areas, discussed below). Many boosters simply don't care enough to support the program as they do with basketball. The result of this is unfunded projects and budgets that make it even more difficult to compete against the big boys. A&M has this capability, and make no mistake, Alabama & Co. will make sure that they are not outdone by the Aggies. This furthers the arms race between schools, and with puts even more distance between us and them. As schools are expanding stadiums, building training centers, UK struggles to update it's scoreboard (not criticizing, just saying even that was met with backlash).
    Another area where we will be outdone is bowl pickings. Already, Kentucky is an unattractive name for many (Chick Fil-A wants nothing to do with us). Adding even more strong opponents pushes Kentucky further away from the Sugar, Outback, Capital One bowls, and cements our status as Tennessee bowlers (if we can climb that high). Will more bowls be added? Sure. But the principle remains; we aren't moving closer to the top but the other way around.

    College Football is fantastic. Everybody gets excited for Saturdays in the Fall. It will change with expansion. Conference identity will fall, as is proven when groups become larger. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's disappointing to see this, but I fear what expansion will do to the sport. Sorry for the rant.

  • That's why I've been taking a "careful what you wish for" approach to this stuff. It sounds exciting, but it might not be the best thing for the Cats.

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    E-mail: JDRUM@247SPORTS.COM Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JDrumUK

  • LOL..."might not be the best thing".

    That's certainly a very P.C. way of saying the future of UK Football is more than questionable than ever. Do you people realize that we are 3-4 years (max) away from a 9 game conference schedule? It's not some wild fantasy, it's a scenario that is inevitable.

    Considering UK has only won 8 regular season games ONCE since the 1980's, how could anyone feel positive about UK taking a step forward knowing that the watered down OOC schedule will be all but over and we'll be underdogs in 80%+ of the games each year?

    I fail to see how this can be any type of a positive for UK football. One thing is for certain, that string of 5 bowl seasons in row will look much more impressive in time.

  • MinterWonderlnd said... (original post)

    LOL..."might not be the best thing".

    That's certainly a very P.C. way of saying the future of UK Football is more than questionable than ever. Do you people realize that we are 3-4 years (max) away from a 9 game conference schedule? It's not some wild fantasy, it's a scenario that is inevitable.

    Considering UK has only won 8 regular season games ONCE since the 1980's, how could anyone feel positive about UK taking a step forward knowing that the watered down OOC schedule will be all but over and we'll be underdogs in 80%+ of the games each year?

    I fail to see how this can be any type of a positive for UK football. One thing is for certain, that string of 5 bowl seasons in row will look much more impressive in time.

    5 years ago people wanted to quit football and never dreamed we would have gone to 5 straight bowls winning 3.

    I'm not for or against the conference expansion at this point but to say that we don't stand a chance is silly.

  • Agreed Hoptwown. I mean't to say our future would be questionable if the SEC added 4 additonal heavy weights. If the SEC adds teams that UK can actually compete with year in and year out, it could be a positive.

    Regardless, there is one common theme about each team being mentioned (sans Maryland), their Athletics Departments have made a 110% commitment to Football. UK will have to do the same to keep their head above water.

  • Agreed Hoptwown. I mean't to say our future would be questionable if the SEC added 4 additonal heavy weights. If the SEC adds teams that UK can actually compete with year in and year out, it could be a positive.

    Regardless, there is one common theme about each team being mentioned (sans Maryland), their Athletics Departments have made a 110% commitment to Football. UK will have to do the same to keep their head above water.

  • Don't forget that as expansion occurs, the bowls will reassign their conference affiliations. I believe Texas A&M will have zero effect on Kentucky; they just don't recruit the same areas. What would help Kentucky the most is for Missouri to join the conference and for us to be competitive with them. Missouri has good recruits. If the other Big 12 schools start heading to the PAC or the Big East, them the SEC becomes "home" conference for kids out of Missouri. I am really surprised that there is not more rumblings about Missouri and the Big 10. They fit all the criteria and exceed the value of Minnesota and Indiana, for sure. A package of Missouri, Notre Dame, Maryland, and Rutgers makes a ton of sense for the Big 10. As always, I'm sure Notre Dame is the lynchpin.

    The 16 team format could work out well if everyone maintains some sort of cultural and geographic relevance. Otherwise, it might as well be pro sports.

    Land The Plane

  • I'm not for expansion, but that is beside the point. It's going to happen. For UK's sake, I hope Missouri comes on board. At least we'll go 1 for 2 in terms of football programs. I don't know if its been mentioned, Missouri's chancellor is a UK alum. He probably has a good idea what Mizzo would be up against if they enter the SEC.

  • I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm not really "excited" about the expansion (especially where UK's prospects are concerned). I see it more as confronting the inevitable. If it's got to be, then it's best for UK that they have a secure berth in a superconference (unlike schools like UL & Kansas who face a scary future).

    UK is at a distinct disadvantage, expansion or no expansion, by virtue of the poor in-state recruiting. If it's inevitable then UK's only avenue is to make the best of it. I think the person most addected by this is Joker. He will need to show (probably by next year) he can take the program to the next level. Because of the poor in-state recruiting base, UK must to depend on one of two approaches. The first is going head on with the big boys and finding an approach that wrests to talent away from the big boys (even in their own states. The second is the Boise St model of identifying overachieving 3 stars and mixing in the occaisional higher ranking guys, coaching them up and inspiring them to play beyond their rank.

    It's obvious from the recruits that the staff has recruited (and are still recruiting) that Joker has taken that he believes in the second path. The staff has had decent success in coaching lower tanked guys and getting strong individual results. Now he MUST start showing consistent Boise-like results on the field,

    If the exopansions go through, then winning four out of conference games and beating Vandy and another SEC school ust won't get it. (expecially if they go to a ninth conference game). The one possible benefit of the move to a school UK is the increased pressure to produce. Pleanty have commented on the improved quality of Vand's commits and making the right hire seems to be paying big diviends for Miss St (UK's traditional fellow weak sisters).

    Joker must take the next step and soon. Mitch cannot afford to wait too long with this expansion staring him in the face. He can't let Joker tread water for 3 or four more reasons. I would say if Joker and Co. can't produce at least a 7 or 8 win record this yer or next, then he may have to make a move. I don't believe that it is impossible for UK to compete (if Boise can, UK can), but it will require the right hire. In addition to finding a way to upgrade football (and basketball) facilities further over the upcoming years. Mitch is going to have to make the RIGHT hire if Joker cannot produce. Theyt are going to have to go out and probably over-pay to find the right guy.

    This post was edited by snarkster 3 years ago