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Kentucky’s best seasons in program history feature wins over Florida

Kentucky has never had double-digit wins in a season without beating the Gators.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What a ride it’s been for Kentucky football under the watch of Mark Stoops.

When Stoops arrived at Kentucky in 2013, the program was in the midst of one of its darkest periods ever, going 2-10 in back-to-back seasons, marking the first time in program history Kentucky lost 20 games over a two-year stretch.

Things got so bad that the Wildcats lost to EKU in a summer 7-on-7 scrimmage prior to Stoops’ first season in Lexington.

Kentucky was also enduring what would end up being a 31-game losing streak to the Florida Gators. That streak consistently kept Kentucky at or near the bottom of the SEC East.

And even in the years the Wildcats had good teams, Florida consistently helped keep them from winning more than eight games in a season from 1985-2018.

Boy how things have changed, as the Wildcats have now taken down the Gators three times in the last five years. And in the previous two wins — 2018 at The Swamp to end the streak and 2021 in Lexington for the first home win over Florida since 1986 — Kentucky hit the 10-win mark, just the third and fourth time that’s ever happened in program history.

In fact, Kentucky’s four seasons of 10+ wins all-time — 1950, 1977, 2018 and 2021 — all featured wins over Florida.

Now, Kentucky is in great position to hit double-digit wins yet again after taking down the Gators in The Swamp and should be making a big jump in the latest top 25 polls and power rankings.

Looking ahead, Kentucky figures to be favored in seven of their remaining 10 games while potentially being a slight underdog at Ole Miss and at Tennessee.

Then there’s Georgia, the team Kentucky has yet to beat under Stoops and hasn’t won against since 2009. Thankfully, that game is in Lexington this season, though the Dawgs will be double-digit favorites in just about every game this season.

All told, the path is there for another 10-win season for Kentucky thanks to another win over Florida, and Kentucky could even be in the College Football Playoff mix going into the final weeks of the regular season.

But first things first: Beat Youngstown State.

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