Someone Forgot To Tell Kentucky They Had A Game Today
Posted by Matt on October 25, 2008
Discuss this article now over at ACC vs. SEC!: Someone Forgot To Tell Kentucky They Had A Game Today
The last time the University of Kentucky Wildcats were ran out of a football stadium it was a 49-0 loss on the road to LSU during the 2006 season. At that moment the Cats were 3-4 and at an impasse, if you will, on the season, forced to dig deep in order to recover. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kentucky decided to finish strong, going 5-1 in their remaining six gamest including a victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl, the Wildcats’ first Bowl game in seven years (at the time) and first Bowl victory since 1984.
Fast forward to 2008. After an electrifying, albeit very late, 13 point comeback in the final five minutes of last week’s game against Arkansas, the Cats looked poised to turn their season around with quarterback Mike Hartline’s new found confidence — he did, after all, earn an ESPN helmet sticker for his two touchdown passes in the final four minutes against the Razorbacks.
Today, Kentucky took their 5-2 squad and 7th ranked scoring defense in to The Swamp to take on the mighty Florida Gators team that hung 51 points on the road against the same school that last dismantled my Wildcats. The problem is someone forgot to tell Kentucky they had a game today.
Florida scored 28 points in the first 12 minutes of the game — including two one-play touchdown drives on the heels of back-to-back blocked punts of Kentucky’s Tim Masthay. Trust me, it didn’t get any prettier after that. Add another blocked kick in the form of a Lones Seiber field goal attempt to go along with a Mike Hartline interception returned for a touchdown to start the Second Half and you have yourself the ingredients for a world class blowout.
Throw in some other random plays that were probably poorly defended (sorry for the lack of detail but I just couldn’t bear to watch) and you have a final score of 63-5 with a special thanks going to Florida punter Chas Henry for the botched punt that nearly doubled our score with a safety late in the 4th Quarter. We needed all the help we could get.
After today’s embarrassing loss — coming two years to the month after the aforementioned spanking at the hands of LSU — many fans may be asking: where do we go from here?
Contrary to what some my expect, I am going to leave the crucifying to another blogger and go out on a limb and say that rest assured, Kentucky can still go up; the wheels haven’t fallen off just yet. Coach Brooks still has this team in a much better position now than it was when he inherited it in 2003 and anyone who disagrees can look directly at the recruiting classes between 2002 and 2009 (not to mention those two Music City Bowl victories he has lying around).
According to Scout.com, the 2002 recruiting class for the University of Kentucky contained 1 4-star, 1 3-star, and 17 1-star recruits. In contrast, Brooks’ current class of 2009 high school graduates is comprised of 1 5-star, 1 4-star, 11 3-stars, 5 2-stars recruits, and only 1 1-star recruit, good enough for the 23rd best recruiting class in the Nation.
Unfortunately some reading this will say that the 2009 class cannot help us now and they’d be 100% correct. But this blogger is not giving up on what the Wildcats still have on the field this year, understanding that there is a lot of talent that is no longer on the field thanks to injuries — most notably ones of the season-ending variety to super play makers Dicky Lyons, Jr. and Derrick Locke.
Kentucky is just a mere win away from being Bowl eligible for the third straight year and if the Wildcats can manage to squeak in to post-season play this season, it will be the first time since the Paul “Bear” Bryant era of the 1950s that this team has gone to three straight Bowl games, adding to the history the Rich Brooks-led Wildcats have already made.
At the end of the day Big Blue Nation never expected to beat Florida today, let alone win the National Championship this year, but what fans of Kentucky did expect is another Bowl appearance and another Bowl victory and both are still well within reach and that is what is most important, especially for recruiting.
Nevermind today’s loss; what is done is done and fans need to quickly move on because a loss by 58 and a loss by less than 8 are both still losses. As embarrassed as I am by today’s performance, as many Big Blue fans are, we must implore the team to press on and come home from Starkville with a victory next week, setting the table for a three game stretch that includes Georgia and Tennessee with (hopefully) Bowl eligibility already in hand.
Despite the fact that the first exhibition basketball game is just 12 days from today, I urge the Wildcat faithful to not look towards basketball season too quickly. Granted someone forgot to tell Kentucky they had a game today but I am confident that it won’t happen again.
Not, at least, with what is on the line for the Cats over the next four games: making history.
This entry was posted on October 25, 2008 at 6:34 PM and is filed under Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Football. Tagged: AUTHOR:MJ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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