Losing the game last week against Florida stung a bit. With the entire country watching for the second straight week, Gameday on campus for the first time in our history and a feeling of excitement pervading the city, winning the game would have been huge for the program. However even in defeat, the game against Florida legitimized the Kentucky program. For the second straight week, the Cats played in the Main Event Game of the Week for the nation and stood toe to toe with the nation’s best. Friends of mine who are college football fans for other teams and media members who I have spoken with around the country now talk about Kentucky in a completely different way than before. Heck even Gregg Doyel now thinks the Football Cats are legitimate, and last week made that happen.
But with great power comes great responsibility….and Kentucky must meet its new standard. That is why Kentucky football simply cannot afford a home loss to Mississippi State. Teams like Kentucky must keep the momentum they gain or they will be dismissed and forgotten by the college football world. Rewind a few weeks ago to the nationally televised game against South Carolina. Kentucky puts up a bit of an egg and the Cats are dismissed as a pretender and not a program on the rise. However the Cats were able to rebound by playing the number one team in America the next week and winning…..the game against South Carolina was forgotten and LSU became the defining game of the season. However the Cats have no more games on the schedule with that type of appeal…..lose the momentum now and it is gone for the rest of the year.
I fully expect the Cats to win tomorrow and by a decent amount. But tomorrow’s game is one of those that scare me. Losing tomorrow hurts the Cats much more than winning helps them. This is a problem that great football teams are used to. But now Kentucky must be used to it as well. Great teams take care of business in situations like this. Heres hoping the Cats do as expected and show they can be a great team.