The Hilltoppers have become the state's premier Division I-AA program. This year they are playing at Auburn and Florida International. In past years they have played Auburn, Kansas State and Wisconsin.
"We would be more than happy to do that," said Western coach Dave Elson when asked about a possible game with Kentucky. "We would love to do that. We would look forward to that. Hopefully, that's something that could be worked out in the near future. It would not be a problem on our end. We would make it work.
"I can tell you this, we would play them any chance we would get. It's just a matter of Kentucky scheduling us. We would love to pursue that and hope Kentucky will feel the same way."
But will Kentucky? Our own Jim Tirey thinks Kentucky would be crazy to play Western and risk losing to an in-state Division I-AA program.
While Western certainly would be no pushover, how can a Southeastern Conference school be afraid to play a Division I-AA team? If that turns out to be the thinking in Wildcatland, then just shut the football program down because if the Cats are afraid of Western, they can forget ever beating Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and others.
Elson says playing big-name teams has been good for his team — and he wasn't just talking about the financial windfall.
"Some teams may not want to take a chance on playing a Division I-AA team, but it has worked out for us. Auburn, Kansas State and Wisconsin did not seem too intimidated by us," Elson said. "Last season we gained a lot of confidence at Kansas State. We were inside their 15-yard line with two minutes to go and had a chance to score to get within a touchdown."
Still, that's no reason for Kentucky to be afraid to schedule Western. It's a game fans would enjoy and with the Cats being able to play a 12th game every year starting in 2006, it's a game that should be added to the Kentucky schedule.