Saturday’s game with Arkansas is big. It is the first game of the SEC season, marks a potential to begin the season 4-0 for the first time in ages and gives the Cats a national audience, ready to see their Heisman-contending quarterback. However there is much more at stake than all of that, for tomorrow marks the chance for Kentucky to become a legitimate 2007 contender. The win against Louisville was great and will go down as likely the most memorable of my lifetime. However it was a rivalry game at home with much more at stake than simply what was happening on the field. While the win showcased just how far Kentucky has come in the past year, it was just as much a win filled with emotion as it was one filled with an improvement of talent and determination.
However Saturday’s game with Arkansas is different. Winning Saturday shows that the Cats are ready for that next step into legitimacy. If you go on the road, in the SEC and beat a good team at their place, you are ready to be called a contender. Kentucky has virtually never done that. Occasionally they pull of a win at home or on the road against Vandy or Mississippi State, but generally, the Cats lose every game away from Commonwealth and hope to steal a few at home. But if they go to Arkansas and beat a team with a Heisman favorite on the roster, and do so by outplaying the Hogs at their place…..well then this team is more than for real. There is a lot at stake Saturday…..while beating Louisville put Kentucky on the national map, beating Arkansas can keep them there….and make people take notice that, as Rich Brooks said in the preseason, even if the Cats arent an SEC title contender, they will have a say in who is. I cant wait for the game and I hope the Cats show what they are made of…..the program taking the next step requires it.