There is a lot of story left to be written in the UK football season. Even though the Cats have lost at least one game that they should have never blown (Ole Miss), one it could have won (Auburn) and one that saw a disappointing set of mistakes (Georgia), the possibility still exists for UK to achieve the rare “8 regular season wins” plateau. But as it seems to happen every year, the makeup of the campaign could hinge on what happens in Starkville. Kentucky has the very rare opportunity to finish with three of its most beatable opponents of the season. With Vanderbilt and Charleston Southern weak and Tennessee in its worst predicament in decades, the Cats can legitimately expect to be favored (or at least close to favored) in their final three games. Thus beating the Bulldogs on Saturday makes eight wins (and the accompanying “out of Tennessee” bowl game) in full grasp.
But we have been here before. Remember 2007, when Kentucky beat LSU, had Gameday arrive for the Florida game and then found a way to lose in the rain to the Bulldogs the next week? Or what about last year, when the Cats beat both Georgia and Auburn on the road, only to return home and watch Anthony Dixon feast on the pitiful run defense for an entire miserable game (some things havent changed). But it hasnt always been negative against the Dawgs. In 2006 and 2008, bowl games were salvaged by wins on the road in Starkville. Both seasons saw UK come into the game needing a big victory and in both cases, UK rose to the challenge. As a matter of fact, if the history of this game in recent years has taught us anything it is this…whichever team looks to be coming in with the most momentum, finds this game to be its roadblock.
I want to play a game not in Nashville….I need a Bowl game not in Nashville. But I also want to beat Tennessee and end that streak. For both of those facts to come true, we have to beat MSU, get a bid to the Outback Bowl and everyone visit Beisner in Tampa. That shouldnt be too much to ask. Randall Cobb, Mike Hartline, the front 7 on Defense and many others will determine whether it becomes reality.