There’s a belief among much of the fan base that the biggest game on Kentucky’s schedule next season will coincide with the opening kickoff. Kentucky Vs Western in Nashville has been described as “must-win” by many and could seemingly kill all the positive momentum Stoops has built in the past eight months. You just don’t lose to the third tier school in the state. You can’t lose to the coach you had a chance to land and passed up on. You can’t start the new era off with a loss. Yes, there are plenty of reasons to be worried about this game but here’s four reasons why you can put your mind at ease this coming labor day weekend.
1. The Fluke
Western deserves a bunch of credit last year for coming into Commonwealth, punching us in the mouth, and walking out with a victory. However you have to look at the why it happened rather than just the final score. Max Smith, who hadn’t thrown an interception until this game, threw away four errant passes into the arms of Hilltoppers. It was an early omen that everything was going to break Western’s way. Then came that trick play in overtime. WKU threw a lateral pass to the quarterback who waltzed into the endzone. It was a pass that seemed just inches away from hitting the ground. It was Western’s day. If any of those plays just swing the other way for us then we’re simply looking at this game as another easy non-BCS victory. Which we should due to the..
2. The Talent Gap
Last year Western caught that perfect storm of guys who had developed into good playmakers and wanted to show they demanded attention. Kentucky had a similar approach for much of the last decade. The idea was that you’d win 5 or 6 while developing a team and then have a shot to go win 8 or even nine as all the stars aligned like Andre Woodson’s senior year. For Western, who lost 19 seniors from last year, it will be an effort to rebuild especially without Kawaun Jakes who proved to be the difference last season. The Tops’ have a great running back in Antonio Andrews but how he will do against the beefed up D-Line of Kentucky will be an early story to watch in game one. Simply put in just about every position on the field UK should have the advantage and they are going to be fired up to prove it.
3. The Revenge Factor
You don’t walk into somebody’s home field, pull off an upset, and expect there to not be consequences. Last year the team didn’t show Western any respect now you can guarantee they have been the single focus for months and months. Raymond Sanders pretty much said so last week at SEC media day when he was quoted “We want to beat those guys, we’re looking forward to Aug. 31, I can tell you that. Those guys were pretty disrespectful on our field – and disrespectful with some tweets and Facebook and some stuff. After the game, jumping and stomping on the field. It’s our field. You gotta take pride in that.”
The Cats are going to have revenge on their mind and a big crowd is going to be there to help
4. The Atmosphere
Nashville. What more really needs to be said? Despite being located just an hour from Bowling Green you can almost guarantee this crowd is going to be mostly blue. Cat fans love taking over Music city as a few bowl games and the SEC tournament. With the first game of the Stoops era taking place down there you know Cat fans are going to show up in full force. With a full day of tailgating on Labor Day weekend you know things are going to be rowdy and loud. It’s going to be a fun game to be a member of the crowd.
August 31st can’t get here soon enough. The game has a lot of anticipation from both sides and Nashville is going to be a party. In the immortal words of Bart Scott “Can’t wait!”