The optimistic yearning for a win against Tennessee has become an annual ritual around these parts and we’re finding ourselves right in the prime season. Is this the year Kentucky breaks through and gets their second win against the Vols in my lifetime? Or are we predestined for another heartbreaking close call? Well, according to everyone’s best friend, Pat Forde, Kentucky and Tennessee is one of the rivalry games that could be swinging in the favor of the underdog this year.
Upper hand: The Volunteers have won 25 straight in the most lopsided intraleague series in America. There have been blowouts (11 losses by 20 points or more), shutouts (four) and freakouts over agonizing near-misses (eight losses by a touchdown or less, including in three of the past four).
Why it might change: For the first time since the SEC split into two divisions nearly 20 years ago, the Wildcats were picked by the media to finish ahead of the Volunteers in the East. Tennessee is in a complete state of flux, with its third coach in three years, an ongoing NCAA investigation and a distinct talent deficit on this year’s roster. Kentucky is not exactly flush in its first season under new coach Joker Phillips, but it has returning depth at quarterback, running back and wide receiver — and multipurpose threat Randall Cobb might be the most versatile player in the country.
Outlook: If it doesn’t happen this year, will it ever happen for Kentucky?
I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t surprise me either that he couldn’t resist typing “NCAA investigation” into a paragraph about UK. Flood his email box!