I don’t know about you, but yesterday’s show was exactly what I need to move on from the basketball team’s trip to the Bahamas and focus on football. With the season opener less than ten days away, here are five things I want from the Cats this year. (A bowl game is obvious.)
1. Benny Snell break Sonny Collins’ rushing record
Through two seasons, Benny Snell has 2,424 rushing yards and needs 1,411 more to pass Sonny Collins as the school’s all-time leading rusher. If Benny has the type of season I believe he will, he’ll be gone after this year, and although he already owns the rushing touchdown record (32), breaking Collins’ record would further cement his legacy as one of the best to ever come through the program.
So, 118 yards per game or 109 if you go to a bowl. That’s no easy feat, but if anyone can do it, it’s Benny.
2. UK win at least one game it’s not supposed to
After last year, I’m done getting my hopes up that Kentucky will beat Florida. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me 31 times, shame on me. That being said, I do think the Cats are capable of winning a game they’re not supposed to. The biggest would obviously be Georgia at home, but the memory of last year’s 42-13 shellacking in Athens won’t let me dream that big. The next candidate would be Texas A&M at Kyle Field, but I’ve been to College Station enough times to know that good things don’t usually happen for Kentucky there. What about Mississippi State in Lexington? The Bulldogs aren’t exactly a sexy squad, but they’re ranked 18th going into the season and Nick Fitzgerald is a star. Upset them and you’ve quite a bit of buzz headed into the South Carolina game.
3. The emergence of Kash Daniel
Kash Daniel has all the makings of a folk hero: Eastern Kentucky background, wrestling persona, ridiculous biceps (complete with American flag tattoo), love of fishing, dip permanently in cheek…but we’ve yet to really see that translate on the field. Last year, he had only seven tackles as a backup to Courtney Love. With Love now gone, Kash has the opportunity to dominate at middle linebacker this season. Time to unleash that mountain monster, Kash. I know it’s in you.
4. Lynn Bowden to finally return a kick for a touchdown
I watched Lynn Bowden run practically 120 yards to go 93 on his kickoff return at Vanderbilt. It’s time for the sophomore to finally get six on a kick. The NCAA’s new rule regarding kickoffs — any ball fair caught inside the 25-yard line will be a touchback — makes that unlikely, but Bowden’s speed and fearlessness give me hope. The last time Kentucky had a player return a kickoff for a touchdown? Derrick Locke vs. Louisville back in 2009. Bring it back, Lynn!
5. A win at Tennessee
We’ve conquered the mental hurdle of beating Tennessee; now, it’s time to do it at Neyland. I’ve been banned from covering games in Knoxville because I’m bad luck (between basketball and football, it feels like the Cats are 0-200 when I’m in attendance), so Nick Roush will make the trip on our behalf. Between that and a daunting rebuilding effort for Jeremy Pruitt and Kentucky could get its first win in Knoxville since 1984. Few things would be sweeter.