Back in the day, UK football was often compared to Vandy football. Â The two worst programs in the league often battled it out each year for who would be last in the East. Â That is no longer the case as both programs have shown glimpses of greatness. Â For Kentucky, it has seemed to me that it has become the South Carolina game that has meant so much to the season. Â In each of the last 3 years the USC win has meant big things for different reasons. Â I think a win on Saturday could be just as significant, not only to get the Cats an early jump in SEC play but also set them up for a monumental game against Florida next weekend. Â Take a look back on the previous 3 years and just how significant those wins were:
2014: Mark Stoops was looking for that first marquee win of his tenure at UK. Â And to do it against Steve Spurrier made it all the more sweeter. Â The interception return at the end of the game has to be one of the loudest moments in Commonwealth/Kroger Field history. Â I think for many the win that year made fans back on board with the program.
2015: Although that USC team ended up not being very good, for the Cats to get an unexpected road win in the SEC. Â The way the Cats did it, efficient rushing attack and key defensive plays, were also something Cats fans were not used to. Â Although that season finished 5-7, UK proved itself to be a threat in every SEC game from that point on.
2016: From the 2015 USC win to this game, Stoops’ grip on the program had begun to slip. Â A disastorous start to the season led many fans to think a loss at home to a depleted Gamecocks squad could be the beginning of the end to Stoops. Â Instead the Cats grinded out a big win and began their leap to a bowl game and stability of the program.