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Kentucky Wildcats 30, Florida Gators 36: Post Game Lament

Sometimes, you deserve to win, and you don't. That's just sports for you.

Rob Foldy

Let’s just get one thing straight at the outset — the Kentucky Wildcats went down in triple overtime 36-30 to the Florida Gators, but the Gators know, and if they don’t know and admit it they are straight-up jerks, [That's just a little too strong. The alcohol was talking there. Florida fans have a right to defend their team - ed.] that they should have lost this football game. A bad call by an official was the only reason Florida gets to claim this as a win. That is an absolute, incontrovertible fact, and only a blind man or brain-dead partisan would even attempt to contest it. [Not quite a fact. It would have been 4th and 12 with Florida needing a touchdown (or a long first down) to continue overtime. So while it's fair to say that it likely cost UK the game, it wasn't a sure thing. Again, I blame the whisky and a 27-year losing streak for the overreaction. -ed.] I don’t like to be a sore loser, but when a transparently bad call likely costs you a game, you have a right to complain and demand recognition of reality. So I do.

Now that we have the reality out of the way, let’s just commiserate, because quite honestly, that’s all there is left to do. We were probably robbed of victory by incompetent officiating, and that’s just how things sometimes go. This is football, and sometimes the team that deserves to win does not. What we are obliged to do is congratulate the Gators on a tough football game, and on a victory. They did a lot of good things, and we need to acknowledge that. Florida is more talented than Kentucky, playing at home, and they were justifiably favored to win and they did. Whether or not things went our way, the Gators will get credit for the victory, and it isn’t as if they played horribly and somehow got awarded the game. They played every bit as hard as we did, and the dice just rolled their way.

Well, let’s move on to the good and bad, briefly. Patrick Towles proved himself an SEC-worthy quarterback, even if Kentucky’s fumble-fingered receivers still have a little bit of work to do. I mention this advisedly, because Patrick Towles will get credit for three interceptions, when two of them were the fault of receivers who he hit right in the hands. To be fair, it’s just young guys making mistakes that veterans don’t make.

On the other hand, Kentucky’s defense reprised what looked like a very good game against the Ohio Bobcats and translated that to an SEC level. The second half was a bit of a scoring-fest by both teams, but much of it was just tired defenses exposing their fatigue.

I’ll have the full postmortem tomorrow, of course, but I just want to say that Kentucky has clearly emerged as an SEC team. They are by no means the best, and there is no rational doubt that Florida is better, but not that much better — and that is a big deal. The outcome is what it is, but for Kentucky fans, we get to celebrate (after we get over the butt-hurt) a team that’s finally emerging from total futility to something significantly better than maybe we had a right to hope for. The rest of the season lies in front of us, but at least for the nonce, we have to be very encouraged even in "defeat."

Go, 'Cats!