As with most years since the Rich Brooks era, the UK football season usually revolves around only a couple games, if the team’s ultimate goal is to make a bowl. But, on a season to season basis, those games often switch. Last year, it was the Mississippi schools that decided the season, and with those 2 losses, it became impossible for UK to have a stellar year. Our good friends at Sea of Blue released an article by Glenn Logan that says there are 4 games that are the pivotal, make or break, games of the year. Here is a quick excerpt from that article:
Vs. the Louisville Cardinals, 9/17/2011 — The game is in Commonwealth, so the Wildcats have an edge there, but this is a big-time rivalry and taking anything for granted in this game can be the highway to Hell.
-Win this game, and the Wildcats head into SEC play 3-0 at home against the Florida Gators.
-Lose this game, and that win has to be replaced by an SEC victory. That should tell you all you need to know about the mountain a loss to Louisville lays at the paws of the Wildcats.
Vs. the Florida Gators, 9/24/2011 —Will Muschamp is the newly-minted head coach of the Gators. They have a very young, if very talented squad, and at this point in the season they will still be learning the schemes of the new coaching staff. This is as vulnerable as the Gators are ever likely to be.
-Win this game, and Kentucky not only breaks a 24-game losing streak but picks up their fourth win depending on the outcome of the Louisville game. With FCS squad Jacksonville State still on the menu, Kentucky can almost count this as their fifth win, needing only one more for bowl eligibility. Win this game, and it’s not hard to start dreaming about an eight or even nine win season.
-Lose to the Gators, and UK will likely be either 3-1, or 2-2. 3-1 is no big deal (except for that darned streak), but 2-2 puts them behind the eight ball big time.
At the Vanderbilt Commodores 11/12/011 — As usual, Kentucky’s post season hopes will likely live or die with this game.
-If UK can manage at least 2 wins between Louisville, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi St. and Ole Miss, this game puts UK into the bowl eligible group.
-If UK comes into Nashville with 3 wins, this game means almost nothing. If they come in with 4, it is an absolute must-win, because Tennessee is weak enough for UK to beat in Lexington.
Vs. the Tennessee Volunteers, 11/26/2011 — The way I see it, this is the biggest game of the season. It is important no matter what Kentucky’s record is.
-If UK has less than 5 wins at this point, the game is important only for ending the 26-game losing streak, but that is very important indeed. The same is true if UK has 6 or more wins coming in.
-Tennessee is still in a bit of a rebuilding program, but because UK gets them this late in the year, they will either be very tough, or banged up — you just never know. With 5 wins, this game takes on double importance and becomes the nexus upon which much glory or disappointment rests — the 25-game streak, and the post-season streak all on the line.
I think UL and Tennessee are givens, because Louisville will be the first real test of the year, and Tennessee could potentially decide a bowl game or not, plus ending that damn streak. I am not so sure Florida is a pivotal game, although they do get the Gators when they are slightly down and at home. And Vanderbilt better be a win. What are your thoughts? Which game(s) are the most important in the UK season?