Kentucky unveiled its massive new football facility last week with tours of the building for the media and talks about how it will change the game for the Wildcats. Several alumni said it was better than most NFL facilities.
And looking at the photos of the facility, it is easy to see why so many are impressed with it.
These gigantic workout facilities help the team in a number of ways. They are recruiting showcases and palaces. Have the best facilities and the comforts to help players prepare, and the program can attract them in.
It is the doorstep to the program.
And on that doorstep is a new piece of hardware. Or at least a new piece of old hardware.
College football history is full of contested titles and forgotten polls awarding national championships. Kentucky created a trophy commemorating a 1950 national championship. The Wildcats defeated then-No. 1 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. The Wildcats finished No. 7 in the final AP Poll taken before the bowl games.
The faux national title trophy has the iconic crystal football.
Kentucky has not quite experienced those heights since. The program went to the Cotton Bowl in 1951 and then did not go to another bowl game until 1976. Kentucky football is not exactly thought of as a power.
So the Internet is having at the Wildcats for making a national championship trophy when it was never officially awarded a national championship — Oklahoma was the AP national champion, Kentucky would later be declared the No. 1 team by Sagarin Ratings.
Lmao they already had it made and placed at their new practice facility.??? pic.twitter.com/MkWSR8YF4p
— Joshua Daniel (@_ThatJoshDude) July 26, 2016
KENTUCKY FOOTBALL MADE THEMSELVES A FAKE NATIONAL TITLE TROPHY I AM CRYING https://t.co/6rw7N4iDEn
— SBN Sergio Tracker (@kylerrobbins) July 26, 2016
— Total Frat Move (@totalfratmove) July 27, 2016
Yes, there is something fishy about creating a championship trophy 66 years after the fact. And Kentucky’s history in football certainly makes it even more comedic.
But that Kentucky team did go 11-1 and did defeat the No. 1 team in the bowl game. Maybe the football culture was different and Oklahoma did not play its best players, but everything else was left on the field. The Wildcats beat the Sooners. Maybe they can stake a claim to the title. Or maybe not. Only Sagarin, who went back when he started his statistics-based ranking system, awarded Kentucky a title for that season.
As Kentucky blog Sea of Blue notes, the hubbub and joking will die down and all recruits will see when they walk into the building is a national championship trophy. And at least an argument they should have one.
Kentucky fans do not seem to mind staking this claim and creating this trophy. Even as the Internet tries to get in a good laugh.