The Kentucky Wildcats vs. Florida Gators football game this weekend brings up an important time in my 70 years as an avid UK fan, in all Big Blue sports.
Like many UK fans, I am sure, I have developed a list of teams I dislike (dare I say for some, hate) the most.
And yes, Florida is on my list.
Here are my top 10 most disliked foes.
No. 1: Louisville Cardinals
For lots of reasons. The UK-UL war really heated up in the 1980s when former high school coach and Louisville WHAS sports talk show co-host Jock Sutherland became embittered against UK. His constant pro-UL and anti-UK vitriol polarized the state, with those feelings carrying through much of the state to today.
No. 2: Tennessee Volunteers
This is almost a 1A for me. The Wildcats have pretty much dominated the Vols in basketball (except for Ray Mears and the Ernie-Bernie era). So many heart-breaking football losses. Fortunately, the Cats have improved to the parity level in recent years.
No. 3: Duke Blue Devils
Coach K. Lots of valuable recruiting losses. Christian Laettner. Need I say more?
No. 4: North Carolina Tar Heels
Dean Smith. Four corners. That 2017 Elite Eight. Battle with UK for most all-time basketball wins.
No. 5: UCLA Bruins
Still ahead of UK for most NCAA basketball championships.
No. 6: Indiana Hoosiers
Bobby Knight. Bobby Knight, Bobby Knight.
No. 7: Kansas Jayhawks
That 150-95 loss in 1989 was the worst-ever blemish on UK basketball history. And UK is still battling the Jayhawks for the most all-time wins.
No. 8: Florida Gators
Too much football dominance. Steve Spurrier for his many cruel pile-on wins over UK football (such as going for a last-second passing TD when leading by more than 30 points).
No. 9: Ohio State Buckeyes
Tough to beat the Buckeyes for best recruiting talent. But inroads are being made by Mark Stoops’ staff. The Wildcats have also never beaten the Buckeyes in football (0-3).
No. 10: Memphis Tigers
Under Penny Hardaway, Memphis has become a real recruiting foe and a thorn in the side of Kentucky, who just lost Jalen Duren to the Tigers.
I am sure many UK fans have some other teams they have a major dislike for (Vandy? Notre Dame? Alabama?).
(Ken Mink is a former Herald-Leader sportswriter and frequent Sea of Blue contributor. He is a native of Perry County, near Hazard. He has spent 58 years as a journalist and is an author with 26 books in circulation).)