As hard as it is to believe another college football season has essentially come and gone. From the hot and humid days of August to the frigid coldness that is late November, in the blink of an eye the season has went from what might be to what is.
And what is is pretty darn nice.
Preseason only the most optimistic of Cats fans would have predicted nine wins and a New Years Bowl game in a warm location. Many had six wins to be a struggle. Some media types (the same one’s whose opinion is 100% certain UCF shouldn’t be in the playoffs) suggested UofL was better and wondered how UK would muster even 5 wins.
Yet here we are.
And as a longtime UK fan, let me say how grateful I am.
What we have witnessed has been historic to say the least. Josh Allen and Benny Snell have rewritten the record books. The team as a whole finished above .500 in conference for the first time in forever. The Cats beat Florida. At Florida. Handily.
And, they beat Mississippi State. Handily. And South Carolina. Handily. And they thrashed UofL.
Some may argue that more was on the table. Perhaps. But who cares? The only game of the 12 UK would like to have back is Tennessee. But sports are like that.
If Ohio State gets left out in the cold I am sure they would love to have the Purdue game back. I am sure most teams when the season is over will have one game where it just couldn’t get it going. It happens.
But, even in defeat, UK and UT have essentially traded places. UT is now Billy Ray and UK is now Louis (or is it the other way???). The Cats finished ahead of the Vols again, UT again lingers at the bottom of the SEC East. I’ll take it.
Overall, it certainly was fun dreaming the impossible dream. After all, that is mostly why we fan right? To have that one opportunity at the glorious season? And for the first time in my lifetime we were afforded at least the opportunity to believe.
UK is now ranked 15/16 in the major polls and has been for 10 consecutive weeks. At one point the team was legitimately in the conversation for the playoffs and the national title. Heady stuff.
And now we are left to a beautiful bowl game in a tropical locale. Poor us. And we are likely to get either the Big 10 runner-up Northwestern in a tasty rematch of the Benny Bowl or longtime Blue Blood Penn State. Yes, please!
Regardless of the outcome of the bowl, this is not the same program most of us grew up with. This is a team that now wins close games rather than finding ridiculous ways to lose them. This is a team not built on tricks and smoke and mirrors. It is a physically legit group that can play. How wonderful!
This is a team whose record will last the test of time and to whom the fan base owes a particular and significant debt of gratitude. What a year for Kentucky Football. What a year indeed!
And if you don’t believe it is so, remember that at one point this season we were writing things like this….what a long way we have come: