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?