Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days
Glory days yeah goin back
Glory days aw he ain't never had
Glory days, glory day
I'll have to admit that I didn't think we had much of a chance at winning the football game and even posted those thoughts in this very space last week. I was one of the few, the proud, the shell-shocked that made the long trek to Baton Rouge last fall to witness that 49-0 epic beat down on the bayou. That game was on par with anything Hulk Hogan ever did to Iron Mike Sharpe on a Saturday morning in the 80's. We were flat owned. Our offense could get absolutely nothing going against their lightning fast defense in Death Valley. Walking out of Tiger Stadium that night it was probably the first time that I started to wonder whether Rich Brooks & Company could get the job done and if Kentucky football would ever turn the corner. I sure as hell got my answer on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. Wow. Just wow. What a football game.
Frustration. That pretty much sums up my feelings as I sat there and watched LSU convert one third and long after another on Saturday. When they went up 27-14 I thought we might be done. The most points that LSU had given up thus far this season had been 24 to Florida last weekend. Even a UofL football transfer knows that 24 is less than 27. To win the game Kentucky would have to score more points than anyone had all season on LSU. In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 2005 SEC Championship Game in which Georgia rang up 34 to find a game in which LSU had given up at least 27 points. It would take an epic performance from the Cats to do just that and they delivered.
It wasn't a fluke. LSU didn't sleep walk through the game. It wasn't played under some absurd weather condition like a torrential down pour or a 12 degree kickoff temperature. No it was just two damn good football teams lining up and going blow for blow. Andre' Woodson. Stevie Johnson. Derrick Locke. Lonas Seiber. Braxton Kelley. Time and time again it was a Wildcat player stepping up to make a big play and answering the bell. In the end, as has become common place, the Kentucky Wildcats had their arms raised in victory. Are we the better team? Probably not. Are we in the conversation? Most definitely. Can we play with and defeat anyone in the nation? Absolutely.
Or maybe not. Just like last week we come off a game against a top tier opponent and look up to find another juggernaut standing in our midst. This week it is the University of Florida Tebows, also starring Percy Harvin. The Tebows are pissed off too. They're coming off an 0-2 stretch that could have easily been a 2-0 stretch. Their chance to repeat as mythical national champions has been laid to rest. They had the week off to sit at home preparing for this game and licking their wounds or whatever a Tebow might lick...
The Florida Game
The conversation begins and ends with Tim Tebow. The man may not be human. Stop him and you win. The only problem is there isn't a piece of Kryptonite on Earth powerful enough to do that, much less a collegiate defense. So now what. How about the time honored tradition of the long sustained drive? Yeah. That's the ticket. Relegate him to spectator and he can't hurt you. Honestly, I think we match up fairly well with Florida. Our offense is probably the only unit in the conference that can stand toe to toe with them in a shootout. That still may not be enough. There are so many factors outside player matchups to consider. I just can't pick against a top ten caliber team coming off of consecutive losses for the first time in Urban Meyer's brief tenure in Gainesville. Couple that with their bye week and our own emotionally draining victory over LSU and it's a very favorable recipe for a Florida victory. My prediction: Cats 38 Florida 45.
I feel it is my duty as a Kentucky fan and internet blogger to belabor this point until we reach the end of the known internet. If you're in the Southeastern Conference and you win, you will get all the exposure you can handle. True Story. No need to play on holidays, week nights, or on the VS Network. CBS and ESPN will come calling if you win in the SEC. The local media, led by Courier-Journal columnist, Rick Bozich, had a feeding frenzy at the expense of Mitch Barnhart and Rich Brooks when it was announced they were moving the annual game against UofL. What?!? How could you possibly do this? No one will see the game. The program needs exposure. National Television. RATINGS!
In fact, Bozich even made it a point to include the television ratings for this year's game in his column following Kentucky's defeat of our Jewish Brethren from the fair city of Louisville. Hopefully, he will continue that trend and at some point this week print the ratings from Kentucky's defeat of LSU on lowly CBS. A win that led to, you guessed it, more exposure. CBS has picked up next week's game against Florida as their SEC Game of the Week. Alabama (Bear's other school) and Tennessee (Rising basketball school) are relegated to the regional 12:30 broadcast on Lincoln Financial.
ESPN's College Gameday Live will emanate from the shadows of Commonwealth Stadium on the campus of the University of Kentucky this Saturday. Yeah. That Gameday. The original. Not the basketball knockoff with Digger Phelps and his awful ties and highlighters. You know the one where Lee Corso wears the head of the mascot of the team he picks to win and the ass of a horse. Get ready Wildcat fans. This is your chance to prove to the nation that football indeed does live here and that Kentucky fans aren't basketball fans on a football bandwagon.
One of the time honored traditions of Gameday are the creative signs that intoxicated students wave in the background of the set. Here are a few
suggestions to those of you who are going to be in attendance.
1) Don't wave anything that concerns the University of Louisville,
Tom Jurich, Steve Kragthorpe, Brian Brohm, the criminal justice system, or anything else connected to the team down I-64 West. Let them make their own damn signs. No reason for us to give them free national exposure. I'm sure a program of their stature has already benefited from numerous appearances by the Gameday gang in Louisville, they don't need our help.
2) Don't knock off someone else's well known sign.
Seriously. Nothing is more lame than trying to emulate an idea that's already been done to death. We've been waiting years for this chance, there must be a few original thoughts in the Commonwealth somewhere.
3) Leave basketball out of it.
IMO nothing would be more embarrassing than seeing signs prominently displayed touting Coach Gillispie, taunting Billy Donovan, or even mentioning a basketball school like Duke. This day is for the football program. Let's remember that when you're contemplating how to spell Krzyzewski.
4) Photoshop is your friend.
A clever, well put together photoshopped image can lead to years of infamy on the internet. Kentucky brought the world Fark
surely there are a few fans out there with serious photoshopping skills.
5) Spellcheck is your friend.
If you think you've got the most cleaver sing in the hestory of sprots, do the state a favor and run your frase through Microsoft Word's spellcheck at least once before putting marker to cardboard. Just like a good photoshop can live on forever on the web, so can a dumbass with no G.E.D.
Ring of Honor
In 1992 at Senior Day in Rupp Arena the University of Kentucky Athletic Department pulled off one of the classiest and most poignant tributes to a group of seniors ever witnessed in collegiate athletics by hanging their jerseys from the rafters in Rupp. It was a group that had sacrificed and stuck with the basketball program through probation and lean years before ultimately leading the Cats back to glory(sound familiar?) and the cusp of the Final Four. The athletic department now has an opportunity to bestow a similar honor on a group of seniors who have done even more for the football program than The Unforgettables did for our basketball program. Andre' Woodson, Keenan Burton, Rafael Little, and Wesley Woodyard deserve to have their names forever etched on Commonwealth Stadium in the Ring of Honor. I say to you, Mr. Barnhart write on that wall.