“There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.”
I didn’t know that phrase as a kid. The one certainty in my life as a young Kentucky football fan was beating Vandy. No matter how bad the Cats were, if you could survive the late November elements for a Vanderbilt game, you were at least rewarded with a win.
That hasn’t been the case in recent years.
During James Franklin’s tenure the Cats consistently got crushed. Last year’s win over Vandy was the first win over the Commodores since 2010. During the three-game losing streak that followed, Kentucky was outscored 100-14 and was outgained by an average of 145 yards.
The worst of the worst came in 2012. On Senior Day Kentucky took a savage 40-0 beating in the rain. There were so few fans in the stands, the majority of the stadium relocated to join the lonely Patrick and the KSR crew in Section 206. The following day Joker Phillips was fired as head coach.
Sorry for raining on your parade, but it needed to be said. Saturday’s game will not come easy either, with Derek Mason’s defense ranked 12th in the nation in scoring defense, 19th in total defense and 4th in 3rd-down conversions. To see a silver lining, their offense is abysmal.
It sets the game up to be a brutal sight to see. UK’s offense is struggling and their defense will be good enough to keep Vandy out of the end zone. The difference? Kentucky has something to play for.
A win on Saturday would give Kentucky their third SEC victory and ensure a bowl birth for the first time since 2010. A win for Vandy means nothing. They can’t reach a bowl because they won’t beat Texas A&M or Tennessee. The only thing they could hang their hat on is that a win would even the overall series at 42-42-4.
Even though many may not be confident, I believe we’ll see a re-energized and motivated team take the field Saturday in Nashville with a postseason bowl birth on the line.