UK Beats Cards Gain National Ranking In Polls
By - Ira D. Combs
Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.
In what has to be considered the most entertaining and exciting win for UK in at least the Commonwealth Stadium era of UK football Rich Brooks steadily climbing and improving Wildcats beat their arch enemy the # 9 Louisville Cardinals 40 - 34 saturday night in front of over 70,000 rabid fans and a nationally televised ESPN Classic audience .
From the opening kickoff which Louisville fumbled away to set up the Cats first score to the last play of the game , a Brian Brohm hail mary pass that was completed but tackled just 11 yards short of the goal line , it was constant heart throbbing college football excitement play after play at it's highest level .
What sticks out the most in this columnist eyes ?
Never in my wildest dreams and most optimistic moments over the past 35 plus years of watching as a fan and now covering UK football as a journalist have i seen a program make a change in the mindset department .
I'm now convinced this is a different breed of Wildcat folks .
Don't know just yet if it's due to Rich Brooks and his assistants make up and leadership or just a different breed of the new brash modern day athlete but this bunch is different in the play making & confidence department and maybe of more importance the overcoming of in game adversity and game situation department . Andre Woodson , Keenan Burton , Wesley Woodyard & company have just simply refused to let the negativity of past UK cultures influence them .
The new UK started when this years senior class stepped on campus but it took 2 1/2 years of those players constant daily battles on the field convincing teammates fighting day after day for respect from their opponents and the media and the fanbase and at one time fighting for their coaches jobs with administration until fate finally gave in around mid season 2006 . Since then they're one play away from last years Tennessee game of being on a 9 game winning streak and in that streak conquered programs like Georgia - Clemson - Louisville all ranked in the top 15 at one time during 2006 or 2007 .
They've taken this football programs hardest hits in modern day history and now after saturday nights latest triumph against one of the most explosive football programs in college football i'm convinced this particular team and uprising program is headed toward consistent winning football in 2007 and of more importance into the future as well .
Latest New Challenge
The final piece to label the Wildcats completely rebuilt is to go on the road in conference and beat somebody other than Vandy or the two Mississippi schools . The first opportunity comes this saturday night at Fayetteville , Arkansas . UK obviously will be coming into this game on a huge high while the Razorbacks will be as mad as an ole wet hen from a last minute loss at Alabama .
The game will be televised live ( ESPN 2 - 6:00 P.M. ) .
Keep your eye on UK's new found running game early , if it's clicking UK should have a legitamite shot at winning . Also , Arkansas's ground attack must be slowed to some degree and forced occasionally to throw the ball . As in all road games the turnover department can't start flairing up or all bets are off . Overcoming adversity at home is one thing but on the road that's a different animal .
As for my money i'm convinced Woodson & company are capable of anything and if they can pull out a win this saturday or in two weeks at South Carolina Big Blue Nation will spend the holidays somewhere south of Nashville & Memphis .
More Cat Coverge In Mountains
If your one of those diehard Cat fans and can't ever get enough news on your favorite college football & basketball team you might want to search out the magazine rack at your local grocery store or the nearest Wal Mart . The Kentucky Sports Report is a monthly publication that covers the Cats on a daily and game by game basis . Several of the participating columnist are longtime Wildcat followers and been on the Wildcat beat for many years . Larry Vaught , Lonny Demaree & Keith Taylor are all extremely talented sports journalists for the Ky. Sports Report and cover the Cats on a daily basis .
NFL Coming In Big Numbers To UK
In the pressbox at Commonwealth Stadium saturday for the UK - UL game was 8 NFL scouts representing the franchises from Denver - Atlanta - Cleveland - San Francisco - Tampa Bay - Cincinnati - New York Jets & Giants . While i tried to contact the SID department at Michigan to require information on the number of scouts at the Notre Dame - Michigan game saturday i had no response at presstime but i'm wondering if there was 8 up their evaluating those two programs that have fell on hard times . Bet you never thought you would see this day did you that being more NFL scouts at a UK - UL game than a Fighting Irish - Wolverine game on the same day .