Well, here we are again facing the #1 team in the nation. It's become pretty much a rite of passage for Kentucky, as well as most teams in the SEC, as this conference seems to have a national championship contender every single year. It's what makes the SEC indisputably the greatest football conference in America.
Be sure to read Ken's outstanding pregame just below, then come on with me past the jump for our Saturday tailgate.
First, y'all look like you need a drink. This is an early game, and I think every early game ought to start out with one of these:
Bloody Mary time (via sarae)
Yeah, no fancy glasses here, we do the red cups at the ASoB tailgate. It's tradition.
Today's virtual tailgate menu, in honor of the LSU Tigers and Louisiana, will start off with some Cajun pork belly. Mmm, boy howdy:
Cajun Pork Belly (via Marshall Astor - Food Pornographer)
Hope you took your Lipitor today. Pork fat rules.
And when you're done with that, we have a whole mess o' mud bugs for you to feast on, the highlight of the tailgate:
Crawdads! (via ThreeIfByBike)
Whooee, them crawdaddys look tasty, all seasoned up and ready to pinch and suck. We have some lemons around somewhere if you need them, a little citrus to cut the spice. For our side today, we have another traditional Cajun favorite:
Red beans and rice (via Elaine Vigneault)
And of course, it wouldn't be a tailgate without cold beer:
Cold beer! (via keithloaf1961)
Now that you have your food and drink, let's talk Wildcat football.
I know most UK fans think this game is a formality with a pre-determined outcome. Heck, one LSU sportswriter for the Shreveport Times calls this a day off for the Bayou Bengals:
The team, though, needs a mental and physical break because so much has happened on and off the field. This is where Kentucky comes in. The Wildcats will supply such a respite before the season grows in difficulty with Florida coming in next week, followed by a road trip to Tennessee, a home game against Auburn and the BCS Supreme Court decision at Alabama on Nov. 5.
He goes on to confidently predict LSU will shut out the Wildcats, 47-0. Obviously if that happens, I won't be happy. Kentucky needs to show it can score on SEC teams, and the paltry 10 points they put up against the Florida Gators haven't shown a thing.
As we say in horseracing, the Wildcats are "eligible to improve" in this game, although only UK fans would consider such a long shot bet. But if UK can keep the margin under three touchdowns, that would crush the spread and show us all that there are signs of a heartbeat in this team. It's also comforting to remember that when basketball season gets here, we're going to be on the other side of this kind of mismatch all season. So as fans, we have to take the good with the bad.
If Kentucky manages to show improvement in this game (and doesn't lose half the team to injuries), the 'Cats might make it interesting against South Carolina. But what they desperately need is to believe in themselves, especially the offense. That belief could start with a stronger than expected performance today.
It's likely that LSU is coming into this game supremely overconfident given the highly negative press the Wildcats have received so far this season, and deservedly so. That will give UK an opportunity to make a game of it if they can find the courage and confidence to play like winners instead of victims. Unfortunately, the other side of the press and fan malignment can sap the will from a team and make games like this pro-forma at best.
In any case, we are what we are, and this game is not likely to end with us on top. What we have to cheer for today is improvement that could make the more manageable back-end of the season more interesting.
Finally, just to pump us up a bit:
Enjoy the virtual food, and go, 'Cats!