by Kevin Faris
I am stealing the motto of the Oakland Raiders because frankly, they don't need it. They never win. Although, funny story, I once owned a Raiders t-shirt that said "Just Win, Baby!" in Mandarin Chinese. This is funny because I am neither a Raiders fan nor do I speak Mandarin Chinese. In fact, I have no idea why I owned that t-shirt, but I digress.
Do you remember, about one year ago, when everyone you talked to had a Billy G. story? He was out drinking here, or naked there, or hitting on college chicks. And these stories weren't just coming from the fringe lunatic fans, they were coming from everywhere. And then.......nothing. They stopped. What happened? UK went 12-4 in the SEC and made the NCAA tournament. Winning happened and the rumors, and by the way that is all they ever were, disappeared. Winning cures everything.
This year UK and Billy G. are in the same boat. Although 11-3 is a good, not great, record, UK is about one win short of where a lot of UK fans expected. A loss to UNC is understandable. They are massively and disgustingly good this year. VMI and Miami? At home? That's another story. There are excuses you can make for both, but the fact is UK should have won those games. At least one of them. And if they had, the mood would be a lot calmer around here and UK would probably be ranked in the Top 25. But they lost both and here we are.
UK's next three games are at UL, Vandy at Rupp, and at UT. If UK goes 3-0 in those games, you will have to look long and hard to find someone criticizing Billy G. If UK goes 0-3 then we may be reaching meltdown levels not seen in awhile. But what about in between? 2-1 would be OK, I guess, but 1-2 would be bad. Bad because UK will have probably missed a chance to notch a quality win or two and because they would remain unranked.
Billy G. was brought here to win and to this point, I think he has been somewhat successful. If you are not moving forward, you are falling behind. Tubby went 9-7 in his last two years in conference, and Billy G. went 12-4 his first year. If UK only goes 12-4 this year, in a much weaker SEC, a lot of people will be disappointed.
So, it's simple. Win. A lot. If that happens, starting Sunday at UL, then questions about playing time, pre-game practices, recruiting strategies, and everything else will slowly dissipate. Lose, and it will just get louder and louder.