The Kentucky football team is 7-3 for the first time since 2007. It’s an accomplishment Kentucky fans rarely see, but the Cats are two plays away from witnessing even more rarified air, reached less than a handful of times before in the program’s history.
What if Nick Haynes didn’t get called for a hold and Austin McGinnis drilled a chip shot field goal to beat Florida? What if DK Metcalfe’s foot landed on the sideline six inches to the left?
The “What If” game is a cruel hypothetical that fuels the naysayers and makes the most crazed Kentucky fan dream of a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.
“I understand it.”
As a head coach, Mark Stoops isn’t supposed to get stuck in the past, but he empathizes with fans who wonder what might have been.
“We as coaches, you never wanna look back, but there’s a human side of me that says, ‘What if?’ I remember bad beats for 20 years. I’ll never forget bad beats. You always try to learn from them and grow from them. The only thing I can say to you is I understand. I’m frustrated and disappointed in some ways as well. Again, it’s not for a lack of effort. We’ll continue to work to put ourselves in position to win games because that’s easier said then done.”
Many fear this squandered opportunity will be Kentucky’s last. If Stoops has truly learned from those two plays and the program continues to trend in this direction, there will be more than one of these rare opportunities in the near future.