It’s a weird kind of nervousness awaiting tomorrow’s game against Georgia because it’s a situation none of us have ever faced. Even the old timers haven’t seen a game like this because since the SEC added a title game in 1992, Kentucky has never had a legitimate shot at winning the title. Best I can tell, you have to switch the results of at least 2 games in any season to find a time UK could have made the title game. This year, it is all coming down to one game.
What’s strange is I really, really, really want Kentucky to win tomorrow but still suffer from the scars of many years and wonder if now will be the time that fate will knock us back down to Earth. Are we good enough to beat Georgia? Of course we are. Are we favored to beat Georgia? Of course we’re not. They are defending national runners-up for crying out loud. And Kentucky has faced that kind of game many, many times over the years. Good enough to win, not favored to do so. And we rarely come through. Except for this year. 3-4 times that has occurred this year: Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Missouri. Not favored in any of these games but good enough to win them. And we did.
Look at the number of SEC East titles since 1992:
Florida: 12 (7 wins)
Georgia: 6 (3 wins)
Tennessee: 5 (2 wins)
Missouri: 2 (0 wins)
South Carolina: 1 (0 wins)
There is a clear line between the have’s and have not’s in the SEC East. Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee went to every SEC title game between its inception in 1992 and 2010. Every. Single. One. But then in 2010 South Carolina rode the Steve Spurrier train to the SEC title game and 4 years later Missouri rode the Gary Pinkel train (gross!) to the SEC title game. And guess what? We are now 4 years removed from that. I say we keep going with the 4 years trend of the have nots of the SEC East getting a shot in Atlanta. Hell, give Vanderbilt a shot in 2022 for all I care.
But this year is our year! The stars have never aligned more than they have for us this year. Much of it is “self-inflicted” meaning we have caused the good luck. But some of it is just the fates working in our favor. All of the errors Missouri made at the end of that game. Those normally happen against us but this year, for some weird reason, they are happening FOR us.
In truth, even if we lose tomorrow, it is does not lessen this season. This is the best UK season in my life. Losing to a Top 10 team is no shame. And normally I would think UK just doesn’t win these type of games. But I think there is something different going on here. Maybe it will just be 2018 and then back to regular UK football after that. Missouri came back to earth. South Carolina came back to Earth. But for one magical season, things came together all the way to Atlanta.
This is our time! The stars are aligned but metaphorically and literally as Benny and Josh might two of the greatest to ever play here. Georgia has had plenty of times and now we take the reigns.
Cats 23, UGA 17