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Seven: The Magic Number for Kentucky Football Fans

Woodson quarterbacked the best UK team of my lifetime to seven regular season wins in 2007.

Woodson quarterbacked the best UK team of my lifetime to seven regular season wins in 2007.

Woodson quarterbacked the best UK team of my lifetime to seven regular season wins in 2007.

Entering the 2015 Bye Week, the Kentucky football team was 4-1 and second in the SEC East.  Our imaginations began running wild with the possibility of not only making an elite bowl, but potentially doing something UK has never done before – represent the East in the SEC Championship Game.

Even the craziest of the crazies knew that was a stretch, but many believed seven or eight wins could and should happen.  The preseason expectation of “let’s just got to a bowl” had been replaced by “let’s win seven.”

The new expectation has led many to desert the team after three consecutive losses.  It’s a shame.  Winning seven regular season games would make this team one of the greatest team’s this program has ever seen, in only Mark Stoops’ third season.  That is not an exaggeration.

Since joining the SEC in 1933, the Kentucky football program has had just 15 seven-win season.  Six of those happened under Bear Bryant.

Kentucky’s 7-Win Regular Seasons

  • 1946: 7-3 Bear Bryant
  • 1947: 8-3 Bear Bryant
  • 1949: 9-3 Bear Bryant
  • 1950: 11-1 Bear Bryant
  • 1951: 8-4 Bear Bryant
  • 1953: 7-2-1 Bear Brant
  • 1954: 7-3 Blanton Collier
  • 1976: 9-3 Fran Curci
  • 1977: 10-1 Fran Curci
  • 1984: 9-3 Jerry Claiborne
  • 1998: 7-5 Hal Mumme
  • 2002: 7-5 Guy Morris
  • 2006: 8-5 Rich Brooks
  • 2007: 8-5 Rich Brooks
  • 2009: 7-6 Rich Brooks

*Records include bowl game. 

Blanton Collier had seven the year following Bear’s departure.  In the next four decades, the Cats would only win seven games four times.  Guy Morris preceded to get to seven with the help of Jared Lorenzen and Derek Abney.  Rich Brooks could not have achieved it in his final season without Randall Cobb.  Brooks coached the best team in my lifetime, Andre Woodson’s 2007 squad, yet would only get seven regular season wins.

Was it unrealistic to expect seven?  Based on history, hell yes.  Did the schedule favor the Cats more this year?  Yes.  However, comparing to the other teams to reach the seven-win mark, this year’s team would have overachieved more than any of the greats in the past.

The foundations of those teams were led by upperclassmen who had some of the greatest players to ever put on the Blue and White.  Tim Couch was a Heisman Trophy Finalist.  Jared Lorenzen broke SEC records for passing yardage AND had the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Artose Pinner.  Andre Woodson was one of the most efficient passers in SEC History and still holds the record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception.  His team had more than a dozen NFL players that we are still watching make plays on Sundays (Woodyard, Tamme and Stevie Johnson to name a few).

This team is almost entirely led by underclassmen, with Patrick Towles and Josh Forrest as the exceptions.  Those underclassmen have won as many games this year as they did in the previous two.  Their best work is ahead of them.     

Even though this team lacks maturity and consistency from their playmakers, they can still overachieve and reach the magic number of seven by winning three of their last four.  There’s still a very good chance they can fulfill the preseason expectation of “just make it to a bowl” by beating Charlotte and splitting the Louisville and Vandy games, two teams that are both beatable.

I understand the fans’ frustrations after two blowout losses.  I’m frustrated, Freddie’s frustrated, and the team is more angered than anyone else.  But that doesn’t mean this season is a wash.   Mark Stoops’ massive undertaking to rebuild the program should be considered a success with a bowl game in year three.  If they put the cherry on top with seven wins, you can call them overachievers.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 Comments for Seven: The Magic Number for Kentucky Football Fans

  1. CoolFrood
    10:33 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

    Give Stoops and the players the support they deserve! We are respectable this year, which we have not been for far too long. Next year will be even better if the fans just hang in there!

  2. football?
    10:34 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

    Fair points. I’m done with football for this year, better for my blood pressure. Besides, it’s time for basketball.

    • Nick Roush
      10:40 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

      I can respect that. There’s something about football that rises the blood pressure unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in basketball (except the 2014 National Title run. I can’t believe I didn’t have a heart attack during that month).

  3. Mathlete
    10:41 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

    Can we stop calling it a “rebuilding” effort and just call it a building effort? 15 seasons north of 6 wins in 6 decades would indicate that UK had never really had more than sporadically successful teams, and never what you’d call a winning program.

    • Mathlete
      10:43 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

      I started counting the 6 decades from the first one on the list and the 7th isn’t quite complete from there, no sense in piling it on with semantics.

  4. L1CWhore
    11:13 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

    Nick, why did you remove my post? Did I strike a nerve?
    You allow some questionable post but if I point out the obvious it hurts your feelings, and to think I used to respect you.

    My hope for you and Matt is that one day you will grow up and learn how to accept criticism.
    How many times have you used this forum for “clicks” concerning politics? I know you have lost so many regulars that you quit asking for a login so the Tardinals would continue to click and respond. But when Matt is questioned you delete the post. That’s similar to a state run media.

  5. Kentucky Joe
    11:25 pm November 3, 2015 Permalink

    Nick please tell Jeff Brohm the UK job is his and that Stoops is out after the last game

    • UKBlue1!
      10:10 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

      Brohm would be a great coach. I am afraid by the time UK makes a move he will be gone from WKU and on to bigger and better things. I also don’t believe Brainfart would have the sense to hire him. He should have fired Joker after his second season. Then passed on several qualified candidates for job the last time.

  6. John
    12:03 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

    Since 2006, UK has won at least 5 games- 7 times. I’m tired of being mediocre. Just making a bowl game is okay. But no one should be satisfied with that.

  7. Blue Shirt
    12:28 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

    Bear Bryant coached in 30 bowl games in his long career, mostly at Alabama …….He also had failures in his career. Will not comment on that. But you can Wikipedia for the facts.

    Experience counts. Before he was hired at Alabama, he coached Kentucky to 4 bowls during his 8 years at Kentucky. The rest is history.

  8. Eric
    8:47 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

    You guys at KSR are ridiculous when it comes to football. After every game this year the post have been “Do we give up on this team”….. “We won, things are better” the SEC is tough, and all we see is improvement, Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor is a football team. I hope the players don’t read this site!

    And your post says QTY (4) 7 win seasons since Collier….. Reading your own post, I count QTY (8)????

    • CATandMONKEY
      9:22 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

      “In the next 4 decades…” Only four 7+ win seasons in the 4 decades following Collier. He then goes on to recount the 4 that followed after those 4 decades.

  9. UKBlue1!
    10:03 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

    UK plays 12 game schedule now. 25-30 years ago it was only a 11 game schedule. 60 years ago I am sure it was a 10 game schedule. Winning 7 games with a 10 or 11 game schedule is having a good to great year. Winning 7 games with 12 game schedule and a bowl (13) should be considered a minimal standard. I’ll put it in basketball terms that Tubby apologist should understand. Adolph Rupp winning 20 games a year while only playing 25 is great. Tubby winning 20 games a year while playing 32-34 games is mediocre.

    • Nick Roush
      11:01 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

      That was Freddie Maggard’s first response when I shared this stat on the podcast. It’s fair, but when you go back and look through the old records, 6 was extremely rare as well, with 5 and under as the most commonplace.

    11:25 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

    YES! Thank you! We should keep in mind that no respectable program was ever built in the matter of 3 years. It took decades of doing things right for Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, FSU, OSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Southern Cal, etc. to be consistently good. It is unreasonable to believe that we can get on their level in less than 3 years. We will get there but it takes facilities, recruiting, coaching, developing, and yes, fan support to get that level.

    Its difficult when fans bail 2 1/2 years in to building something great. We don’t do that for basketball. Even in our NIT year, many of us hung there until the very bitter end. Why don’t we give the football team the same commitment? Its ridiculous!

    11:28 am November 4, 2015 Permalink

    Winning seven games this season would be a tremendous accomplishment. All of us want more but please keep perspective. These teams that we have had poor showings against have been doing things the right way for much longer than we have to include fan support.