TAYLOR's Thoughts: What to do with 12th game?

When the NCAA voted to allow its member institutions to schedule a 12th football game beginning this year, it was viewed as an immediate solution to the revenue problem. Although not completely opposed to the idea, adding a playoff system under a bowl game format would generate interest and additional money for the campus pocketbook, too.

However, that's another story for another time. Beginning this year, Kentucky will be one of the schools which will enact a 12th game that will eliminate a season of two open dates throughout the year for nearly every team in the major conferences.

Most schools the size and stature of Kentucky likely will use the extra game to schedule lighter competition, as opposed to scheduling a home-and-home series with a team with equal or more talent.

In other words, a two-year deal with the University of Oklahoma, Notre Dame or even a Penn State wouldn't be the ideal thing to do under the circumstances.

By the same token, it shouldn't be a problem for the Wildcats to land a contest against a lower-caliber team, but one thing the university could do is add three of the state's top I-AA programs to a list of prospective candidates. Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University and Murray State should be given the chance to play Kentucky once every three years. Under such a format, the three teams could rotate on a yearly basis in an effort to boost additional revenue for the program and give the Hilltoppers, Colonels and the Racers a chance to play at the home of the state's flagship university.

During the Rick Pitino era at Kentucky, the current Louisville coach dropped the University of Kentucky University Invitational Tournament (UKIT) in favor of playing state schools such as Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky on somewhat of a rotating basis. The Wildcats also have been known to play Kentucky State and Western Kentucky University on the hardwood in recent years. Despite some lop-sided scores in those in-state contests, the idea has been a win-win situation for the Commonwealth.

The in-state programs can travel without the expense of a long trip and gain some exposure playing in front of a packed house.

The football idea will give Kentucky another opportunity to show that it has an interest in the state's football programs, even though they aren't on the same playing field in terms of competition.

In such a plan is used, Kentucky won't be squeezed into a scheduling conflict, while Western, Eastern and Murray will be in the same boat.

It's a win-win situation for Kentucky and the other three programs involved.

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