Playing Southern Miss In Hattiesburg Is the Perfect Season Opener For Kentucky Football

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Playing Southern Miss In Hattiesburg Is the Perfect Season Opener For Kentucky Football

Photo: Andrew Bishop,

If you’re anything like me you’re shocked that the calendar has already flipped to June and you’re eagerly anticipating Kentucky vs. Southern Miss in Hattiesburg as well as all the other SEC football season openers.

Saturday Down South posted this tweet more than a week ago! In most years it seems like it takes forever to get to the point where we’re 100 days away from the start of the season. This year I wasn’t even aware that we were already well below the century mark.

I think a lot of this can be attributed to the thrilling, historic run that the Kentucky baseball had this season. Big Blue Nation rode with them through their journey to the SEC tournament, Lexington Regional and the Super Regional in Louisville where they fell just two games short of going to Omaha for the College World Series.

This year I think Kentucky fans and Houston sports fans have quite a bit in common. How so? The Houston Rockets’ season ended a little sooner than they would have hoped. So that left a huge amount of time until the Houston Texans begin to kick things off in the fall. The Houston Astros have stepped in and put together a great campaign thus far. They are 44-19, lead their division by 13 games and they have won 13 out of their last 16. They are doing a fine job of bridging the gap between the end of basketball season and the beginning of football in H-Town.

Stephen Johnson will be looked upon to lead the Cats to a strong start out of the gate. Photo: Andrew Bishop,

Coach Nick Mingione and the baseball Cats did the exact same thing. They grabbed everyone’s attention and never let it go for one second.

Now as we shift our focus toward Kentucky football we suddenly realize that SEC Media Days are right around the corner. After that the light at the end of the tunnel begins to get brighter. It might not seem like it at the time, but the wait is a bit more manageable at that point. This season, Kentucky baseball deserves a ton of credit for making the wait a lot more bearable.

When the wait finally ends and September 2 arrives the Kentucky football team will find themselves in the perfect place for them to be, Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Some fans have expressed reservations about playing Southern Miss in their house after the Golden Eagles came to Lexington and left with a 44-35 victory. This is the ideal opponent to keep the guys grounded, humble and focused during summer workouts and fall camp.

Kentucky bounced back from an 0-2 start to win seven of their last 10 games to earn their first bowl bid since 2010 and the first winning season of Mark Stoops’ tenure.

It could be easy for them to get the big head and rest on their laurels just a bit. You and I both know that Coach Stoops isn’t having any of that. He has already uttered the phrase “reset button” during his speech at the Governor’s Cup luncheon. Last season is in the rear view mirror. If that’s not enough, the fact that Southern Miss is first up on the schedule should motivate them and keep them ultra focused on exacting a little revenge and starting the season off on the right foot.

I was able to talk with UK football color analyst Jeff Piecoro earlier in the spring and it was cool getting his insights on this very subject.

Yes, it may seem like the Kentucky football season is never going to get here but you can tip your cap to Kentucky baseball for making that wait much easier to handle.

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