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Is UK football really like the Andy Griffith Show?

I found out today how lawbreakers in Mayberry felt before being put in the squad car by Andy Griffith and/or Barney Fife. (Wally’s Service Station Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer


Most people seem to love the old TV reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. Andy is the small town sheriff in Mayberry and his crazy but lovable sidekick is Deputy Barney Fife.


In most of the shows Andy’s homespun wisdom always comes through to solve the crime and save the day. Invariably the so-called “law enforcement professionals” – State Bureau of Investigation, FBI or the State Police – would come to town looking for a criminal and ask Andy and Barney to stay out of the way while they – the “Big Boys” – solve the crime. In the end Andy always uses his wisdom and experience to bring the criminals to justice and embarrass the “law enforcement professionals”.

I know you’re thinking “why is he telling us about the Andy Griffith TV show? What does this have to do with sports?” Here’s why.

Those shows remind me a lot of UK Football. Here’s what I mean. Generally UK Football is kind of like the Andy Griffith show. The “Big Boys” of law enforcement on Andy Griffith never believed that Andy could solve the case. They thought he didn’t have enough education, experience, talent or toughness to do the job. He’s told to stay at the jail and wait to catch his  small time “chicken thieves and jay walkers”.

That’s the same treatment UK Football tends  to get from a lot of the National Media. They believe UK is not talented enough, fast enough, big enough, smart enough or tough enough to play with the “Big Boys” of college football. And up to this point they have been right. But times change, people change and programs change. Sometimes you can have a perception of someone due to their speech patterns, looks or where they came from and  be totally wrong.


Sometimes three star players that the “Big Boys” didn’t want can turn into the Benny Snell, Jrs of the college football world. Sometimes those guys that aren’t respected at the beginning – like Benny Snell, Jr – can end up being the best of the best at what they do. Just like Andy Griffith.

So when Kentucky signs a three star football player out of Alabama that wasn’t recruited by the “Big Boys” – like Allen Dailey – think about Andy Griffith and the down-home smarts that he always had when it came to law enforcement and life in a small town. How Andy could evaluate the situation and make a correct judgement even though he was disrespected by his peers for his lack of experience and big city polish. And think about how the UK staff continues to go out and find guys that can play – and play at a high level – and use them to beat teams like Florida that have a Top 10 recruiting class each year – and give the coaches a little respect for what they have done.


That is win football games at a school where it is very difficult to win and in a conference where it is very difficult to win and do it while most of the National Media continues to give all the reasons why they can’t.

If Kentucky beats No. 14 Mississippi State this weekend – and that’s a big if – it won’t be by dumb luck or because of some fluke happening. If will happen because some players who weren’t considered to be good enough and some coaches who weren’t considered smart enough put in hours and hours of work to prove to the ” Big Boys” that they can do the job. And do it very well.


Just like Andy Griffith in his competition with the State Police. Andy always used his innate wisdom and small town experience to solve the case and get his man. Even if no one believed he could. And sometimes, even with all the doubters, Andy used what he had – like light bulbs dropped off the jail rooftop that sounded like machine gun fire  – to win the day and beat the bad guys.


Mark Stoops and his staff continue to do the same thing. Use what they have, recruit some players that might have slipped through the cracks and develop them into skilled football players to win the day and beat the bad guys.

I just haven’t figured out yet who on the staff is Deputy Barney Fife.


  1. Barney has got to be Eddie Gran, LOL.

  2. Great article and you could tell the writer was using a lot of smarts when writing it

  3. Kentucky’s basketball team is seen as one of the big operations of the world because they are. But they run into trouble with teams that aren’t supposed to be anywhere near their level at times. Even the best teams at UK have struggled against mid-major competition at times. Columbia came to Rupp in Dec. of 2014 and only lost by 10. Think about that for a second. That was maybe the best college team of all time with multiple future hall of fame players and two full squads of talent and talented players who rarely got to play at all. And they only beat Columbia by 10?

    UK has a shot at beating Miss. St.. They have a good shot at it. They aren’t the doormat team of the SEC this year.

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