I’ve always felt pressure to root for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and frankly I don’t like it.
And this is not knee-jerk bitterness from last year’s home opener, oh no. I've been noticing some disturbing patterns from the Hilltopper alumni/apologists and proud Kentuckians alike these past few years.
Here’s how the conversation typically goes:
“But when they’re NOT playing UK, you root for Western, RIGHT?…”
I mean, maybe? Sure, I’d be thrilled if they knocked off a hated power program like North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio St, etc., just as I would any school, but I really don’t care what they’re doing week to week or how they finish in the Sun Belt.
“What’s good for Western is good for the state. It’s great exposure.”
Are you employed by the WKU Athletic Department? No? I’m sure the folks at Morehead are just bathing in windfall from UK's and Louisville’s National Championships.
“I want UK to win, but I want Western to put up a good fight and make it close.”
How about UK just forfeit out of respect? Was last season close enough for ya? You know what I want to see? 100-0.
“I hate seeing UK lose but at least it was to our Commonwealth Bros in Bowling Green. Good for them.“
I’ve actually heard this numerous times and I spit on it.
Western is a big boy now. Got himself a big boy football coach. He doesn’t need the Big Blue crutch and sympathy cards. You want to be in the big leagues directional school done good, you stand on your own. No allies out here, Big Red Blob.
Look at that thing. Fornicating Commonwealth Stadium is where I draw the line. We used to look at Big Red as a quirky and endearing piece of Americana, but now he’s just downright condescending, not to mention morbidly obese.
Look, Flag Wavin Western Fan, I’m not dumping on the school. It’s a fine school growing at a fast pace, and that really is good for the state. Bowling Green itself is a pretty cool dude, too. But as for the Hilltoppers, sorry, just not that into you, and in fact, I think it’s time to slow that roll just a bit.
Because I see a pattern developing here. I can feel it, smell it, and the stench is all too familiar.
A growing university in the shadow of Lexington. Nurtured at the teet of Flagship U, well liked but certainly never feared and always invited to the dinner table. Propelled by basketball, working up through the ranks and into Conference USA, feeling pretty good about itself, all that red....
Can you see what’s building here?
BBN, we’ve got a little little brother in the oven. An “accident” if you will. And it’s tough having two little brothers especially when the little one we have now is exhausting and I for one don’t have the energy nor patience to deal with another.
I’m not painting Flag Wavin Western Fan and Louisville Fan with the same brush. Yet. It would take decades of extraordinary bandwagoning, complete lack of self-awareness and top-down self-righteousness to carve such a cantankerous canyon. I know there's a healthy population of UK die-hards with Western degrees. But I also remember a time when many UK fans, at least those outside of JeffCo., harbored no real hatred towards UofL because they rarely had to think about UofL (ask your dads, tweens). That slope gets slippery, in a hurry.
Did I mention that Bowling Green is home to probably the second highest concentration of Cards fans on the planet?Heed this warning, Hilltoppers. Heed it.