"Know your role."
"Get back in line."
Everyone's heard these phrases before.
They paint a picture of power, conveying an image of military-type authority that one individual holds over another.
"Know your role, Western."
"You're nothing but a directional school, Western."
"You won on a trick play in a game that was given away by turnovers, Western. You're a fluke."
Fast-forward a year later.
It's a beautiful evening for some college football at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.
An electric re-match between the "directional school" and the "state school" was on the slate.
At stake? For UK, a chance to redeem themselves from last year's loss. An opportunity for the patronizers to put WKU back in "the place where they belong."
For the Toppers', an opportunity to prove they were more than a stroke of luck, more than a blip on the radar of time passed-by in the state of Kentucky.
If you missed the game, allow me to inform--The "directional school" showed mercy on the "state school" by taking a knee as the final seconds ticked away, winning 35-26 in a game that in reality was much further apart than the final score indicates.
Kentucky has now lost two straight contests to Western Kentucky, without holding even a morsel of a lead for a single second of regulation--in both games.
So despite the year-long attempt by some to maintain order, WKU instead swerved right into the express lane.
And like an Andrew Jackson blitz into the backfield, they're showing no signs of slowing down.
Sophomore running back Leon Allen--listed at 6-foot, 235 pounds with a 4.40 40-yard dash--showcased his natural talents, taking strong cuts and bulldozing Kentucky defenders for 92 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries.
That's right--Believe it or not, there's more in the Toppers' stable than Antonio Andrews.
Taywan Taylor led all freshmen receivers (from both teams,) with four catches for 23 yards.
WKU's brand new defensive line, replacing four graduated seniors with two redshirt sophomores and a redshirt freshman, dominated the line-of-scrimmage for the majority of the contest.
Freshman defensive back Marcus Ward made a handful of tackles, including a clutch stop on a Kentucky completion inside WKU's 10-yard line, forcing the Cats to take a field goal instead of converting a 1st down or touchdown.
Point being--There's a storm brewing in Bowling Green.
And behind new head coach Bobby Petrino, it's aimed directly at the rest of college football.
So WKU students--especially the new ones--now is a better time than ever to start supporting your school.
WKU fans and alumni--now is a better time than ever to give the hometown program a chance, or to take more pride in your diploma.
And don't let the condescending patronizers tell you otherwise, because it's not just football on the rise.
Basketball has qualified for two straight NCAA tournaments, and looks to make a third-straight this year with head coach Ray Harper's coaching and guidance.
The baseball team has defeated Kentucky in five of their last six head-to-head matchups.
Both softball and volleyball teams won NCAA tournament games last year, including a top-25 postseason finish by Travis Hudson's Lady Topper volleyball program.
Cross-country, track-and-field, and swimming have shined over the last several years, winning conference championships, fielding multiple nationals qualifiers and even Olympians, including 2012 London Olympic gold-medalist Claire Donahue representing Team USA's swim team.
So, WKU fans and students--Next time someone tries to tell you "pump your breaks," or "know your role, Western," just make sure you remind them what that role is now.