I haven’t found a single “expert” on college football who has chosen Kentucky to beat Florida on Saturday. And I guess that’s with good reason considering we haven’t won since 1986.
There comes a point in time where it’s just tough to bet against a streak. The streak acts as a 12th man of sorts. It’s always lording itself over the program and game just to remind you how bad you’ve been for nearly three (3) decades. That you no matter what you change, you’re still losers. At least to us anyway. It’s nasty.
But perhaps the greatest asset the Kentucky Wildcats will have, the one thing that can counter the streak, is our own 12th man: the fans.
Yep, the fans. That’s us folks. Many of us are beyond ready to see this streak end and most of have a friend or know someone who constantly reminds you about this streak or that streak. This is the last one.
If we can pack Commonwealth Stadium and get that place rocking, it just might be enough, might be a little stronger, than the 12th man that Florida brings with them: The Streak.
Listen, I’m a realist when it comes to the odds of Kentucky beating Florida but I’m also not so naieve to not see how it could happen.
It doesn’t hurt that along with the absence of QB Jeff Driskell and DL Dominique Easley, QB Tyler Murphy is making the first start of his college career and it’s in a tough environment on the road. I like our defense’s chances.
It took WR/QB Matt Roark’s amazing drive to end the streak against Tennessee on November 26, 2011 and a similar feat of excellence against Spurrier when we finally beat him in 2011. The oppression of a streak seems almost suffocating to some of the older football fans because another generation of your family could have come along in the time between victories! That’s tough for any other program in the country to comprehend because we currently hold the lead for greatest amount of time in futility against another team. It’s sad.
But hold on. I don’t know if this is the year, but a quick look at some ESPN stats seems to indicate we could be poised for the end.
Nationally, Kentucky is ranked higher than Florida in all offensive categories:
Total Yardage: 490/26th 403.3/68th
Passing Yards: 276.7/36th 203.7/90th
Rushing Yards: 213.3/39th 199.7/47th
Points Scored: 26.7/76th 23.7/91st
The rub is that on defense we allow almost as many points (23) as we score while Florida’s (14.7) is a TD and FG less than the score.
Translation: Their defense has played better in some cases, though the Wildcats D-Line has been outstanding thus far. We are a little thin in the secondary but Florida doesn’t pass so we can make do. Since we are led by frosh in most offensive categories, save for our QB, their fearlessness should give us an advantage. They haven’t carried around the streak for all these years.
Bottom line is that Kentucky will need to play flawlessly on both sides of the ball and on special teams to pull out a W on Saturday but if there is anything that will propel this team forward it’s you. The fans.
Our 12th man.
On, On U of K!