Mitch Barnhart is ready to pound some beers.
On Wednesday, the University of Kentucky athletic director announced that Kroger Field parking lots will open at 7:00 a.m. EST, one hour earlier than normal, for Kentucky football’s home game on Saturday against the Florida Gators. The reasoning is to give the Big Blue Nation some extra time to tailgate and prepare for a matchup with the No. 22-ranked Gators.
With kickoff scheduled for noon EST, the extra hour will allow fans to get an even earlier head start on their gameday festivities. It’s going to be a rowdy one in Lexington this weekend. Plan accordingly.
While the noon kickoff isn’t ideal for most fans, the extra hour of tailgating should help the early birds who want to start as soon as possible — and there are plenty of you out there. Plus, if head coach Mark Stoops wants you out there at the crack of dawn, you’d better listen to the man.
“I have great confidence in the people of Kentucky that can get up very early and pound some beers,” Stoops joked during his Monday press conference. “…We’re getting a great challenge and looking forward to getting home and we need the crowd packed and we need ’em loud. It’s gonna be a big SEC East game.”
Stoops isn’t discriminating though. He’s perfectly fine with you enjoying some bourbon for your tailgating beverage of choice — just make sure to consider his bourbon company when making a selection.
“I mentioned today (at the presser) I wasn’t concerned about the noon kickoff,” Stoops said Monday night during his call-in show. “I’ve been hit up, everybody has been talking about that. It’s no surprise, you know they’re gonna get up and have some beers, but I didn’t mean to discriminate. I mean, bourbon is OK, too. RD1 (Spirits) makes a good old-fashioned. I highly recommend a little RD1 early in the morning if you need a little extra kick.”
The last time Florida came to Kroger Field in 2021 resulted in fans packing Kroger Field to the brim and ended with the Wildcats breaking a roughly 35-year home losing streak to the Gators. A repeat in 2023 would be huge for Kentucky’s season moving forward.
We’ll see you folks bright and early Saturday morning…