By LARRY VAUGHT
No one has to tell Mark Stoops about the significance to this Saturday’s game against Louisville after the Cats lost 42-13 at Georgia.
Both Kentucky and Louisville will bring 7-4 records into Saturday’s game that is schedule to kick off at noon.
“It’s very important. Just to get another victory and to get our eighth win is big. We haven’t done that in awhile and it’s important for us to play against Louisville — our rival — and play at home and to finish the season,” Stoops said after the Georgia loss.
“I have no doubt, that’s what I told the team. Give Georgia credit. They sat there a week ago in the locker-room, much like us, and took a loss, and they responded like we knew they would.
“And I told you guys that all year, told the team that, that they need to get a shower, get cleaned up, and get on the bus, and get on the plane, and go home, and regroup and get ready to play a game, and I’m sure we’ll respond the right way.”
Kentucky has plenty to play for other than the Governor’s Cup it won last year. Kentucky is bowl eligible but eight wins in one season are rare at UK and a win would also enhance UK’s bowl position.
Many seem to believe that UK would not play in the Music City Bowl Dec. 29th because the game is scheduled to start not long after the UK-Louisville basketball game ends in Rupp. Kentucky may have felt that way earlier, but apparently that changed after the last-second loss to Ole Miss.
Sources tell me a Kentucky-Iowa matchup appeals to the Music City Bowl — and UK has indicated its open to playing in the game. And if UK is left to choose beween the Music City Bowl and Liberty Bowl, it would be foolish — and unfair to the football team — to go to Memphis. Fans going to bowl games go for a two- or three-day experience. Fans going to the bowl won’t be the ones at the UK-Louisville basketball game and there are plenty of fans to go around.
Beating Louisville could enhance UK’s bargaining power. Remember last year few believed UK could get into the TaxSlayer Bowl with seven wins — also remember I was one who kept telling you it could happen — but athletics director Mitch Barnhart pulled it off. Give him eight UK wins and maybe another Florida bowl might jump into the UK talk.
But just don’t believe all the chatter about UK definitely having no interest in the Music City Bowl.