Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

April 18, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Getting a spring in their steps

ASHLAND — All it takes is the slightest glimmer of hope.

Ever since roaming around campus (along with some sporadic studying) for four years in the mid-2000s, I’ve adamantly defended Kentucky football fans.

Honestly, and the recent spring game-goers will attest to this, I think Cats fans are some of the best in the nation in both major college sports (football and basketball).

They’re easy to please, for one. Five consecutive seasons resulting in bowl games, jumpstarted by three straight wins, instilled a bright and positive aura around Commonwealth Stadium previously unseen in such a span.

Sure, all the big-time programs would view Music City and Liberty Bowls as no remarkable feat, but it doesn’t take a great deal of success for Kentucky football fans to be happy.

If there’s a buzz flying about in the fall air, fans will pack the 67,000-seat venue parked just a hop, skip and a jump away from South Campus.

They sure filled it up last Saturday, when a whopping 50,831 blue-and-white-clad crazies plopped onto the bleachers for a simple spring scrimmage game.

Remember, the Wildcats went an utterly atrocious 2-10 last season. But, Kentucky football fans yearn so badly to cheer about something, all it took for them to get fully back on board with this team was a new leader (Mark Stoops), a coaching staff overhaul and a few top-notch recruits.

So, for those that think Kentucky fans only care about their basketball, you’re absolutely wrong.

I don’t even have to defend the fans, though. The numbers do it themselves.

So far, Kentucky’s spring game attendance ranks second among all schools in the country. Nebraska is first, at 60,174. The Wildcats’ spring support sits thousands of fans better than Ohio State, Georgia, Louisville, Texas and many more.

Break Out Brackets?

Believe it or not, ESPN bracketology guru Joe Lunardi has already released his NCAA Tournament projections for 2014.

He has Kentucky as the No. 1 overall seed despite having just lost in the first round of the NIT this past March.

Well, I guess there are a few good reasons for that, most notably the fact that John Calipari’s Wildcats are bringing in what most are labeling the best recruiting class of all-time.

Other notable projections are defending champion Louisville as a 2-seed, Ohio State a No. 2 and Indiana a No. 4.

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