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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How close has UK football actually been?

The game of what ifs and buts is not one I like to play very often, but I do that today to emphasize that Kentucky football is not as far away as you might think.  In fact, since UK began going to bowls in 2006, each and every season the Cats have had 2-3 chances every year to improve their SEC status.  And it seems they tend to fall short more often that not.  Hopefully that changes this year.  But, just how close have the Cats been?  Below you will see:

2006 (Finished 7-5 Regular Season)
South Carolina 24, Kentucky 17 (in Lexington)
#19 Tennessee 17, Kentucky 12 (in Knoxville)

CHANGED RECORD: 8-4 or 9-3
Let’s assume Kentucky wins just 1 of those games above, they would have been 5-3 in conference.  If that win had been over Tennessee, the Cats would have swaped conference spots with UT, and played in the New Years Day Outback Bowl against Penn State.  If they would have just punched in that 1 touchdown, that would have been a New Years Day Bowl for the Cats.  So clearly, that season they were very close.  If they had won both games, they likely would have played in the same bowl. 
2007 (Finished 7-5 Regular Season)
#15 Florida 45, #8 Kentucky 37 (in Lexington)
#19 Tennessee 52, Kentucky 50 (in Lexington, 4OT)

CHANGED RECORD: 8-4 or 9-3
Florida was a longshot, so let’s throw that out.  The Tennessee game should have been won.  That would have made the Cats 4-4 in conference, boosting them past South Carolina in the standings.  But, that might not have pushed the Cats out of the Music City.  A win over Florida would have put UK back in the Outback Bowl, another New Years Bowl.  Again, 10 points separated UK from New Years Day.  Thats razor thin.  
2008 (Finished 6-6 Regular Season)
#2 Alabama 17, Kentucky 14 (in Tuscaloosa)
South Carolina 24, Kentucky 17 (in Lexington)
#14 Georgia 42, Kentucky 38 (in Lexington)
Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 24 (in Lexington)

CHANGED RECORD: 10-2 or 9-3 or 8-4 or 7-5
Kentucky should have won both the USC and UGA games, as both were at home and Kentucky held leads in the 2nd half.  Vanderbilt was a bowl team that year, but you should never lose to Vandy at home.  Alabama was more of a long shot.  But, if UK had pulled out those first 3 games, boosting their record to 9-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC, they would have played in the….drumroll please….the Outback Bowl. 
2009 (Finished 6-6 Regular Season)
#25 South Carolina 28, Kentucky 26 (in Columbia)
Mississippi State 31, Kentucky 24 (in Lexington)
Tennessee 30, Kentucky 24 (in Lexington, OT)

CHANGED RECORD: 9-3 or 8-4 or 7-5
AT WORST, Kentucky should have won 1 of these games, probably the Mississippi State game.  But, in reality, a good football program beats both MSU and UT that season.  South Carolina was a battle and the Cats had a chance, but winning SEC road games is tough.  The other 2 should have been won.  And if they had been, UK would have finished 8-4 and 5-3 in the SEC, which would have been good enough for 2nd place in the SEC East.  That would have given the Cats the Chick Fil-A Bowl that season, instead of the Music City Bowl they sucked against Clemson in. 
2010 (Finished 6-6 Regular Season)
Ole Miss 42, Kentucky 35 (in Oxford)
#8 Auburn 37, Kentucky 34 (in Lexington)
Mississippi State 24, Kentucky 17 (in Starkville)

CHANGED RECORD: 9-3 or 8-4 or 7-5
Those who watched these games knows that Mississippi was the worst team of the bunch, and UK played its worst game against them.  UK never found a way to stop Cam Newton or they would have beaten Auburn.  And Hartline had a pass intercepted at the goaline against MSU that could have tied that game.  Point is, Kentucky should have won at least 1 of those.  If they had won 1 more game, their bowl would not have changed.  Win 2 of those games above, and they suddenly would have gotten the Music City or Liberty.  Win all 3, and that is what good football programs do, and the Cats would have won the SEC East.  Thats right, I think that margin of the Cats being SEC Champs last year was thin.  You might argue that is still a huge gap.  But, the difference between 6-6 and SEC East Champs last year was probably a matter of 5-7 plays.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

17 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How close has UK football actually been?

  1. Darryl Isaac
    9:06 am August 17, 2011 Permalink


  2. R. Brooks
    9:27 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, we would be having a party right now.

  3. catbalue
    9:27 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    If – The largest 2 letter word.

  4. Joe
    9:30 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    UK went 7-5 in 2009, so the two wins would’ve put them at 9-3 and in the Outback Bowl.

  5. UKfanNKY
    9:37 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    This year will be special. GO CATS RISE!!!

  6. Hairsley
    9:39 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    Thanks for reminding us about those close, tough, bitter losses. Memories, like the corners of my mind, misty-blue water colored memories…of the way we were/are.

  7. big blue
    9:44 am August 17, 2011 Permalink


  8. bluesince66
    9:51 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve followed UK football my entire life and something I’ve noticed that everyone will call excuse making. I reffed football for about 20 years, so I am pretty much up on the rules and do realize they vary a little at each level. It’s how one missed call can and does change the momentum of an entire game. When we were not very good and would come out and play above our heads and be competive seems a call would go against us or one just be entirely missed. I was at the UK UT game when we should’ve won with Lorenzen QBing. UT was set for a large bowl game and the one call I remember is UT had 3rd down on about our 40 and threw to the endzone, the ball went over the recievers head thru the endzone incomplete. As the players are leaving the endzone to return to their huddle a very late flag gets tossed. Pass interfernce UK 1st and 10 at the 25 and UT goes on and barely wins. I don’t know how many times this has happened to UK either a flag against us or a no call against the other team. I know it sounds like I’m crying the blues, and maybe I am , but I’ve watched it for years.

  9. John McClane
    10:03 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    Ahh, the old “What if we won all the close games that we lost, but still count all of the close wins we had in the same year argument.”

    Never fails!

  10. guest1
    11:03 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    What separates good teams from great teams is winning close games. There are countless 7-5 teams every year you could say this about. Horrible post.

  11. Joe
    11:09 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    To that end that #9 proposes…

    In 2006- What if Lyons’s great TD isn’t corrected to a catch on review, If Matt Stafford doesn’t panic and throw a pick to Trevard Lindley, and that UL-Monroe two point conversion works, and they beat us in OT. Then we’re 4-8 instead of 7-5 and Brooks gets fired. Needless to say, if that happens, the new coach would’ve been somebody who would’ve scrapped what was in place and radically changed everything. But just for the sake of this game…

    In 2007- What if Stevie didn’t get loose vs. the ‘Ville, Trevard Lindley didn’t get a gift TD vs. Arkansas to get us back into that game, Colt David hit the 57 yard field goal that he missed by an inch to win for LSU, and Vandy’s last drive in Nashville had ended in a TD instead of crapping out around the 15 yard line? Instead of 7-5, we’re 3-9.

    In 2008- What if Robbie McAtee doesn’t make the tackle on the last play at the 1 vs. MTSU? What if Arkansas doesn’t completely fall asleep after kick out butts for about 53 minutes of the game? What if Mississippi State’s kicking game hadn’t taken a vacation? Then we’re 3-9 again.

    In 2009- What if Louisville’s punt return could catch the ball? What if Auburn hadn’t fallen in love with Chris Tood past the point of sense? What if Joe Cox hadn’t gone turnover crazy in Athens? Then we’re 4-8.

    In 2010- What if Louisville had played the first half? What if Lattimore hadn’t crushed his leg and Spurrier gone crazy? Then we’re 4-8.

    I suppose that the GOOD point of UK football now is that we can have this conversation as easily as the other one. We at least win some of the winnable games. Now we need to have that year where the ball bounces right every time instead of sometimes…


  12. Kanter Banter
    11:24 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    Stupid article again by BTI….UK football is “FAR” away from turn the corner in football. This year will prove me right. The way that the cats ended the season last year was an absolute JOKE…pun not intended. Cats pad the schedule with cream puffs to get their 6 wins and BTI thinks we aren’t as far away from turning the corner. PLEASE. BTI you’ve shown over and over again that you really truly don’t know anything about what you are talking about. ………I’m sick of the What ifs….that everyone likes to bring up. IF’s mean I Failed….so if we did this or if he did that means…we had the opportunity and we failed. PERIOD. UK football behaves like its second class and the fans need to get used to it…its only been 50 plus years of mediocrity….Wake Up!

  13. kentuckyfan
    11:56 am August 17, 2011 Permalink

    This changed record stuff is ridiculous and means absolutely nothing. The author should be eliminated and possibly find someone who knows how to write somethng worth reading. If you had one down year maybe talking about what should have been would be relevant. However since 50% of the D1 teams go to a bowl, it doesn’t prove much when you squeak in to something like the music city bowl. Write an article about getting rid of the current imitation coaches UK has and talk about bringing in someone who can both recruit and coach then maybe you will have written something worthwhile. Until then this type of garbage is a shame and discrace.

  14. Bulldawg
    2:12 pm August 17, 2011 Permalink

    The national champions beat UK by 3 points last year! I thought it was a good post BTI.

  15. TampaCat
    4:32 pm August 17, 2011 Permalink

    Come on down Cats! I am here in Tampa waiting for ya! Go Big Blue!

  16. Pointless
    6:25 pm August 17, 2011 Permalink

    UK-34 MSU- 31
    UK-24 UGA- 20
    UK-42- Lous Monr- 40
    That would make our record 4-7

    UK-40 UL-34
    UK-43 LSU- 37
    UK-27 Vandy- 20
    Record 4-7

    UK-28 MTSU-20
    UK-21 Ark-20
    UK-14 MSU-13
    Record 3-8

    Uk-31 UL-27
    UK-21 Aub-14
    UK-34 UGA- 27
    Record 4-7

    Uk-23 UL-16
    Uk-31 USCjr- 28
    record 4-8

    Article meant nothing we could have easily not made a bowl the last 5 year’s also

  17. KD
    9:37 pm August 17, 2011 Permalink

    What if in a some of those wins GA freshman Qb doesn’t throw a int, Garcia same too, UL covers receiver at last minute bottom line useless info what if goes both ways sorry.