There are various days of the year I look forward to. Holidays and birthdays are obviously important. I have countdowns on my computer for the Cubs’ opening day and the last day of school. But one of the best days of the entire year will always be the Saturday of college football rivalry week.
At the end of every November, FBS hits its peak with colleges from across the country playing their in-state/regional/conference rivals in the biggest head-to-head matchups since Kramer vs. Kramer (without the messy legal battles). While Kentucky fans got to enjoy a field goal slowly rip playoff contention away from Bobby Petrino’s cold, dead hands Saturday afternoon, EKU fans were the guys standing out in the cold watching everyone else have fun.
Once upon a time there was yearly rivalry game between EKU and what should be our cross-state rival WKU, entitled the Battle of the Bluegrass (which is a pretty cool name if you ask me). Unfortunately, the last time the two teams met regularly was in 2008. And while the teams may be on each other’s schedules in 2017, no yearly meeting between the two has been announced.
EKU Football needs yearly rivalries that matter. The stands at Roy Kidd Stadium are bare. Whether it’s because Kentucky just really isn’t a football state or so many students travel up the road to see the team in blue play, the fans’ optimism as of late has been fairly low. Fans need a game they can rally behind, a game where everyone actually dresses in all black and yells obscenities at other players.
So who are the options? UK is right up the road, and according to last year’s game, EKU students became proud fans throughout the week. Unfortunately, the game itself may cause issues with future scheduling. Why would UK want to play an EKU team that almost beat them when they could play much worse FCS teams for automatic wins? Louisville could be an option, but the rivalry may be a bit uneven.
Despite the fact that WKU is in a higher division, the team only leads the series 46- 35-3. The two teams are more equal than any of EKU’s in-state conference rivals, and the regional divide gives the series an automatic fanbase that may not be present with a team like UK. Additionally, WKU is considered by many EKU students and alumni as EKU’s only worthy state rival.
Stands would be filled, money would be made and good football would be played if the rivalry was revived. As an added bonus, success against an FBS team could make more noise for smaller FBS conferences looking to add a team.
So, please, please, please bring back our football rivalry.