Back in the day, UK football was often compared to Vandy football. The two worst programs in the league often battled it out each year for who would be last in the East. That is no longer the case as both programs have shown glimpses of greatness. For Kentucky, it has seemed to me that it has become the South Carolina game that has meant so much to the season. In each of the last 3 years the USC win has meant big things for different reasons. 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. 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. And to do it against Steve Spurrier made it all the more sweeter. The interception return at the end of the game has to be one of the loudest moments in Commonwealth/Kroger Field history. 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. The way the Cats did it, efficient rushing attack and key defensive plays, were also something Cats fans were not used to. 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. 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. Instead the Cats grinded out a big win and began their leap to a bowl game and stability of the program.