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UK football: What happened to the streak?

Kentucky players celebrated Saturday’s win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

It must have been something in the water – or maybe in the air – on Saturday. Maybe it was an unusual amount of solar activity that caused an exceptional release of gamma rays that day. Or maybe the moon was extremely close to Earth and lined up with Venus or Mars.

What am I referring to? Saturday, September 8th – also known as streak busting day. That’s the day that several major college football streaks ended. Most of you know about the 31 game losing streak that the Kentucky Football Team had against the Florida Gators. Those Florida Gators. The ones that always seemed to pull a rabbit out of the hat at the last second. A football team that – against the Wildcats – always seemed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Time and time again those slithery reptiles seemed to catch a break – expired play clock, uncovered receivers, blocked punt run back for a touchdown, winning field goal that falls barely short, touchdown pass with two seconds left on the game clock – and the list could go on. But it won’t. Not anymore. Not after the performance by the Wildcats in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday night.

On Saturday night the Kentucky Wildcats – after 31 years of futility – exorcised that demon of losing. They found the silver bullet to kill the werewolf that had become their nemesis. The Streak. Drove a stake right through the heart of that streak.

And not just the streak of 31 losses in a row but several other streaks as well. How about ending the streak of not beating Florida in Gainesville since 1979. Thirty-nine years of not beating Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. In Kentucky’s previous thirty-two trips to The Swamp UK’s record was 4-28. Starting today it is 1-0. Streak broken.
Also Florida had won 13 in a row SEC season openers. In fact Florida had only lost in The Swamp to six other SEC East opponents since 1990. Twenty-eight years and only six losses to SEC East opponents at home. Make that seven now. Add the Kentucky Wildcats to that list. Florida is now 0-1 in SEC season openers.

Did I also mention that a UK Football Team had not beaten a ranked SEC opponent on the road since 1998 when they beat No. 21 LSU in Baton Rouge? Twenty-year streak broken.

Remember those extra gamma rays I mentioned earlier. Well they must have had an effect across the country because one more streak ended Saturday. But this one involved one of UK’s arch-rivals, the Kansas Jayhawks Football Team. You know, the Kansas team that lost to an FCS team -Nichols State – in Lawrence, Kansas last Saturday in their season opener. The Kansas team that had only beaten one FBS team in the last four years. The Jayhawk team that had lost an FBS record 46 games in a row on the road. That team.
Well, their streak ended on Saturday also. They beat Central Michigan – in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan – by a score of 31-7. Streak broken. Forty-six road game losing streak over. Just like that.

Like I said, it must be something in the water or solar flares or something. Or maybe – just maybe – in the case of Kentucky’s streak – its football players and football coaches dedicated themselves to becoming a better football team. Mentally tougher. Physically tougher.  Maybe it has nothing at all to do with gamma rays or the planets aligning or anything else like that. Just hard working players and coaches working hard to get better – and win. That’s what I like to think.

But if that’s the case, how do you explain Kansas breaking their streak?

2 comments

  1. Glad the streak is broken, but I am not getting too excited about anything just yet. This team still has a long way to go, and Florida does not really look all that good; not compared to Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, etc.
    I want to see how UK does against Miss. St., and if they can at least keep from getting embarrassed by Georgia.
    UK is better this year than last, and a lot of improvement from week 1 to week 2; but as I said, still a long way to go and a long season ahead.
    I have seen Stoops teams look great the first half of the season and fold the second half. I’ll wait to celebrate.

  2. I have to admit that when Florida had the ball with 9 seconds to go I still expected the Cats to lose. After so many crazy losses against Florida in the last seconds of the game it seemed all but inevitable. Steve “Superior” Spurrier said it well when he said UK seemed to be snake bit playing against Florida. But really it isn’t just Florida. I don’t want to go through the crazy ways the Cats have found to lose but I will mention one – The Bluegrass Miracle – which wasn’t against Florida.

    I am plenty glad to see the horrid streak end. It should have ended so many times but it didn’t. I was probably more glad to see the streak against Tenn. end though to be honest. To me UT is still an arch enemy of the Cats.

    Stoops has accomplished a lot at UK. Ending those two streaks has meant a lot. No more constant chatter from the talking heads during the game about “the streak, the streak, the streak”. I’m sorta glad the announcers were especially bad about it during the game because they had to eat “doit” (Yankee for dirt).

    Now on to bigger and better things. Yes Stoops teams have fallen apart in the second half of the season but to be fair the main time that happened the back half of the schedule was loaded with SEC powers. They lost 5 in a row all to SEC teams that year. They won one then lost to a good Louisville team. It wasn’t like they were losing to cream puffs though they could have beaten both Auburn and Vandy that year.

    Still it has been a growing process and the team has improved every year IMO. Even when they were expected to drop off last year they didn’t. They found a QB that could get the job done when they were expected to be lacking in that department.

    I’m all in for Stoops at this point. I would give him another 5 years to build a program even if he had an off year. It’s not about one good year. It’s about having a winning tradition instead of a snake bite tradition.

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