What a win on Saturday for the football Cats. On the road. In Louisville. Ranked 11th in the country. A 4% chance to win. Many predicting that UL could pick their score. And we did it. We pulled off what may be the biggest victory in UK football history. But is that enough?
With this being my first post on Cameron Mills Radio, let me take just a second and introduce myself. I prioritize my life in this order ….. Faith, Family, Friends and then Everything Else. At times though, it seems as if UK sports might be the top priority! While it does at times consume chunks of my life ….. it’s only sports, right? I’m married to my high school sweetheart, we have 2 great boys, we live in Lexington and I am what some would call a Twitter junkie. I love my Tweeter. But, for the purposes of my first post (and future posts) …. I am a die-hard UK fan.
Being a UK fan for mostly all of my life, I (as most) have seen the ups and downs of both basketball and football over the years. The good. The bad. The ugly. Before I move on, I should also note that in my early teen years I actually rooted for UL. Don’t hate me for that. As I got older, I also got wiser! So back to UK sports.
As a fan, I like basketball but I love football. Give me a ticket and I will attend both, but I prefer to watch a football game versus a basketball game any day. As every other UK football fan, I have for many years spent my time and my money supporting the football Cats, but more importantly I have spent a ton of emotions on this program. I have experienced the heartbreak game after game, year after year. Honestly, at times I felt I had nothing else to give, whether it be money, time or my emotions. But I kept giving, believing and coming back as a fan.
This year, we renewed our season tickets (after a couple years of foregoing them but still attending games) with the same hope and belief that we were going to turn things around as a program. We had the coaches, the players, the facilities, new food options and so much more. Everything was in place for this to be the year! We (my boys and I) truly believed!
We lose game 1. We lose game 2. Going into a home game in week 3 against New Mexico State, would anyone show up? After dropping the first two games, this seemed like an absolute must win for Mark Stoops. Not only did UK win game 3, they would go on to win seven of their last ten games …. only losing to Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, with a chance to win against both Georgia and Tennessee. 7 out of the last 10, with 4 being wins over SEC opponents. IT STILL WASN’T ENOUGH FOR SOME.
So with virtually no chance to win this past Saturday against the #11 team in the country, and against a team that was potentially in the playoffs just a week prior before losing to Houston, the football Cats showed up in Louisville with one thing in mind: winning.
Win we did and in convincing fashion. We beat not just any Louisville team, but a Louisville team with the front running Heisman contender at QB. A Louisville team coached by Bobby Petrino who had never lost to UK. A Louisville team who was ranked in the top 10 virtually all year. A Louisville team who refused to say the word Kentucky or UK during the week leading up to the game. A Louisville team ready to control the whole game and name the score.
What Louisville didn’t prepare for was a Kentucky team that was disciplined and ready to play from the first whistle. A Kentucky team that battled until the very end (remember that
fumble by the leading Heisman contender with just over a minute to play when everyone thought the game was over?). A Kentucky team that had weathered a variety of storms and emotions after beginning the year 0-2. A Kentucky team that improved week after week, even after a rough start. A Kentucky team whose coaches 100% believed in our boys and instilled confidence and leadership in them both on the field and off the field every day. A Kentucky team that would use the air game when everyone was expecting a ground attack. A Kentucky team with a JUCO transfer QB who was (is) as calm and cool as anyone you’ve ever seen. Stephen Johnson is his name. From virtually unknown just a few weeks back (except to Darin Hinshaw) to hero.
Saturday, we were the better team and we proved it. But was it enough for some fans?
I think without doubt that any fans who were on the fence about our football program being in good hands can rest assured that Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran, Darin Hinshaw and all the other coaches have this program headed in the right direction. We are headed to a bowl for the first time in 6 seasons. We had a legit shot at winning the SEC East. We have secured a guaranteed winning record for the first time since 2009.
The future is bright for this football program and yes, Saturday’s win should be enough for any #BBN fans who had doubts.
Now, let’s go and get a W in this bowl game.