How should we feel about what transpired earlier? Sure we lost, but depending on what sports book you use, we covered the spread, and a win never really seemed too far out of reach. How should Big Blue Nation be feeling about that game? After sleeping off a couple of bowls of loud mouth soup, I think I’m ready to distinguish a few reasons why Kentucky fans should feel pretty good about today’s game against their arch-nemesis.
Louisville is good–probably really good (though we won’t find out until their bowl game)–and we only lost to them by 14 points in a game that could have been a lot closer without some very fixable mistakes. Look, the bottom line is that we are less than one year removed from a 40-0 shellacking at home against Vanderbilt. Kentucky, whether we want to accept it or not, is not supposed to be very good this year. Louisville on the other hand may be fielding the best team in the history of their program. They have a Heisman trophy candidate at quarterback who more importantly may be the top pick in the NFL draft when his time comes. They have a wide receiver in Devontae Parker who is arguably one of the best in college football this year and they have a slew of other talented offensive weapons that should have completely exploited this Kentucky team. They didn’t though.
For the most part, this game never completely got away from the Cats. Though there was never a point where I thought, “We are going to win this game,” there was also never a point where I thought I was going to have to get into an altercation defending Kentucky’s honor on my way out of the stadium. Who knows, without the large number of dropped passes and the turnovers, this game may have turned out very differently.
The biggest difference between these two teams appeared to be the quarterback position. There were a lot of missed passes to open receivers that would have resulted in large gains and potentially could have gotten the offense going similarly to last week’s showing. Even if Smith was completely healthy, I think I came to terms today with the fact that neither of our quarterbacks are extremely viable options if we want to win games that we technically shouldn’t have a chance to. Both Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow are just good enough to keep us in these games, but neither of them will be the guy that will lift our underdog team to a big victory. Maybe I’m wrong, and I’d certainly like to be, but I just don’t think that they are talented enough to pull off a big upset against a good team like Louisville.
In the end, Kentucky hung around with a good Louisville team. If things had gone just a little bit differently–fewer dropped passes, some conversions on third down, etc.–you may not be reading this right now. I’d be at a local drinking establishment celebrating a big win instead of sitting on my couch with a sunburn nursing a lemon-lime Gatorade lamenting what could have been. Stay positive. This wasn’t a bad loss, though that doesn’t make it any less crappy. Cats.