Kentucky Wildcats 2012 Preview Blog by Mark Sickling

Kentucky

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is known for many things.  Kentucky is home to Mammoth Cave; Cumberland Falls; Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, Churchill Downs, and Rupp Arena.  But, one thing Kentucky is not known for is a championship football program at the University of Kentucky.

While UK was the first SEC school to offer football in 1881, its teams have rarely been able to compete with the football powerhouses of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida.  Kentucky’s all time record is 567 wins, 558 losses and 44 ties.

UK did win a SEC Championship and National Championship in 1950 under the direction of a young coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant.  The legendary Bryant led the Wildcats to 8 winning seasons, amassing a 60-23-5 record in the process.  His 60 wins as coach of the UK football team is a record that seems pretty safe at this time.

UK kicks off its 2012-13 season against in-state revival UL in what has been dubbed, “The Governor’s Cup.”  UK holds an all-time series lead of 14 wins, against 10 losses to UL.  But, UL won last year’s battle by defeating the Wildcats 24-17 last season in Lexington.

Coached by Joker Phillips, the Wildcats finished the 2011 season with a strong performance against Georgia and a season ending victory over Tennessee.  The Cats return 45 lettermen from last season, including 23 on offense and 20 on defense.  Leading the offense for the 2012 Cats will be sophomore quarterback, Maxwell Smith.  Smith finished the 2011 season completing 84 of 153 passes for 819 yards and four TD’s.  He will be flanked by senior wide receiver, La”Rod King and senior tailback Coshik Williams.

Defensively, UK returns five starts from last year and hopes to improve upon last year’s efforts in yards allowed, takeaways and points allowed.

In full disclosure, I might not be the best person to write about the chances of the 2012 Kentucky Wildcat football team.  After all, I rarely watch them play.  In fact, I, like many in the “Big Blue Nation” only have two goals in mind for this team: 1)  Beat UL and 2) Beat Tennessee.  The difference between and good season and a poor season for the UK football team is directly related to those two games on the schedule.  If UK beats UL and TN in the same year, in my book, they have had a successful season.

After all, the real season for UK fans doesn’t begin on Sunday, September 2, when the Wildcats take the field against UL, the real season begins on Friday, October 12, when the defending national champion men’s basketball team takes the floor for Midnight Madness.  In other words, for me, and for many UK fans, the football season is just a preseason warm up for the real season…hoops; roundball; college basketball.

Best of luck to Joker Phillips and the UK football team, but this UK fan can’t wait until John Calipari and the UK basketball team takes the court.

 

Go CATS!

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