As you read this, you are awakening to a big day for Kentucky football. The Cats play the #2 ranked team in America on national television with an entire college football nation following the game to see if the Tide are for real. In many ways it is a no-lose situation for the Cats….no one really expects them to win, and if they can even come up with a good game the pundits will be impressed. Even if they get blown out, then they are in a similar position with Clemson and Georgia and have the ability to bounce back. So what could possibly go wrong?
Well as an initial matter, the Cats do need to prove to folks that the program is on a new level. The last two years have been a forward move for the program, but for naysayers, they can simply point to Woodson, Burton, Little, etc and say that it was a lucky streak of talent and not a progression for UK football. But this year is different. Without that top-notch offensive talent, the Cats arent perceived to be a better program….even though they are. A good performance in Tuscaloosa however tells the world that Kentucky football is not the old Kentucky (that is the new Tennessee). Thus what is on the line is respect….a trait hard to earn, but easy to lose.
So what will the Cats will do? I think the Cats will play well, keep it close, but ultimately lose by a decent margin….because they will have trouble moving the ball. I think the Cats will show they are an SEC-level program on defense, but not strong on offense. The game stays close, the Tide score 24 and the Cats get 7-10. Not a bad performance and a good game to build on for more winnable SEC games (Tennessee, Miss State). Either way, I will be pulling hard against the Tide and for the Cats. And hey, any day with Verne Lundquist is a good day.