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Liberty Bowl Open Thread: Kentucky Wildcats Vs. East Carolina Pirates

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So here we are at last -- the third bowl in a row for the Wildcats, this time the Liberty Bowl after two Music City Bowls, both victories. This is a first since the Bear Bryant years, and we are all justifiably proud of the Wildcats for getting there despite what has been a trying season. Many, maybe even most pre-season projections had UK missing a bowl this year, so by that standard, we have to consider this team a great success.

But this year is one of those filled with, "What could have beens." What could have happened if Dickie Lyons were still on the team? What could have happened if the freshman wide receivers had developed better? The answers to these questions will never be known.

This is a huge game for Mike Hartline, and I believe his future at UK largely rides on his performance today. With two stud quarterbacks slated to matriculate to Kentucky next year and Randall Cobb still interested in the job, This is a game where Hartline needs to stake a claim to the position for the coming year, even if he will have to fight for it again in the spring.

Will that month off be the difference between an struggling UK team and a competent one? Will the Pirates still be as hot as they were when the season ended? Are the Wildcats really hungry for this, or do they see just getting here for the third time as the main achievement?

These questions, and many others, will be answered in the coming couple of hours. So sit back, strap in, get on your Wildcat gear and let's do football for the last time this year, and do it well.

Go, 'Cats!