By Clay Ward
For the first time in a long time Eastern basketball will have to live up to Eastern football’s standards. It’s been a decade since Eastern’s last OVC football championship, won by a team coached by the almighty Roy Kidd. Now on the eve of its first conference championship of this millennia, Colonel basketball begins what we all hope will be another successful season.
After winning the OVC tournament in 2005 and 2007, Eastern has built a winning tradition that should have students very excited.
Can you imagine? Winning our conference in the two most important collegiate sports?
I understand we’re in Kentucky, and I understand many of you are University of Kentucky fans. Specifically die-hard basketball fans but more recently (bandwagon jumping) football fans as well.
In football, unlike Kentucky, Eastern did not choke in its conference.
Speaking of the Wildcats, where did all the UK football talk go?
One day I can’t hear enough about Andre Woodson winning the Heisman right before leading his team to a national championship.
Now, well if it’s not about basketball, it’s not about Kentucky. With a record of 6-3, and with all three defeats being conference losses, the Wildcats now rank among Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State as the four bottom feeders of the SEC.
If you look to the bottom of the page, we’ve asked students a question: Which is more impressive: Eastern’s bid to the playoffs or UK making a bowl appearance?
Most students asked, proudly said EKU, in a tone that implied it was a dumb question.
Which it is a dumb question.
Why is it a dumb question?
Division I Football Bowl Series includes 119 bowl-eligible teams: Championship Series and non-BCS bowls all together total 32.
With 32 bowls, two teams participating in each, it doesn’t take a college degree to realize 64 teams will participate.
Sixty-four of 119 are 53.8 percent of teams in the FBS will be playing in a bowl.
I’ll give you a second to think about that.
More than half of the 119 teams get into bowls, which means it’s actually harder to not be in a bowl than to be in a bowl. The majority are in bowls.
The Football Championship Series, on the other hand, allows 16 teams into the playoffs. After removing Ivy League teams who are ineligible from playoff contention and Southwest Athletic Conference, which chooses not to participate, the FCS has 127 teams fighting for spots.
That is 12.6 percent of the FCS field making the playoffs. I’d say a lot fewer than half the teams make the playoffs; how about you?
Now you may make the argument Kentucky plays in the college football’s toughest conference.
I would agree; the Southeast Conference is without a doubt the best conference in the nation and anyone who says differently needs to stop saying things about college football altogether.
But, it still doesn’t make up for how easy it is to reach a bowl and how Eastern has done more with fewer scholarships and support.
It’s not attacking Kentucky; well that’s not entirely true, but in Kentucky’s defense, it’s an unfair contest by sheer percentage.
The word for the year in Kentucky basketball should be “calm.” Why calm?
Because you’re not going to win a national championship every year- deal with it. Stop being the scourge of humanity like Ohio State fans in college football or both Red Sox and Yankee fans in baseball.
Every year, I hear how the Wildcats should have done better and the martyr will be the coach (ex. Tubby Smith) or a player.
Not all UK fans do this. In fact, most of the fans here I’ve met are much more calm than the rest of the country.
Kind of like Bengals’ fans in Cincinnati aren’t nearly as psychotic as Bengals’ fan’s here. Ironic isn’t it?
The average Kentucky fan should watch out for those bad seeds: people acting like high school parents who can’t let their children play the game. They have to make a scene and embarrass not only themselves but that which they are supporting, as well.
The point of comparing Kentucky and Eastern isn’t to make enemies of UK fans on campus.
Kentucky is a staple anywhere in this state. You can’t take that away from people who grew up on it.
But, you are being given an education by this institution and on top of that we don’t suck in our athletics; if we did, I would have nothing to say about it.
Eastern doesn’t only not suck, but is doing very well.