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October 2014
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Kentucky and Florida: The Silver Anniversary Of Losing Edition

Before the season, while I was making my preseason predictions, I had two sneaking suspicions. One was that Kentucky would lose to Louisville. The other was that they would bounce back and upset Florida the following week.

I’d like to say I had compelling reasons for either pick, but for the most part, I didn’t. As the first month of the season has played out, Kentucky has proved to be a lot worse than I imagined. In fact, I was one of the people who before the season thought this team would hold its own and win more games than they would lose. Had I known they were going to look like this, I would have guessed they would lose to Louisville and Florida and I obviously would not have been alone.

Of course there’s still that little bit of hope that somehow everything changes tomorrow. Am I stupid for not completely giving up? Probably. But that’s part of what makes sports great. Every game the score starts tied at zero.

So as we hope for a miraculous turn of events and fear for the worst/expected, I have a question for you: Which of the twenty-four losses hurts the most?

There have been some big ones. These are embarrassingly big losses. Florida won 73-7 in 1994, 65-0 in 1996 and 63-5 in 2008. Those are scores that make the routine 25-plus point win (of which there have been five more) seem like nothing.

But is being embarrassed worse than getting your heart broken? Sounds like a question better suited for a country music song. Sadly, True Blue Fans have plenty of experience in both. The second loss of the streak in 1988 was 24-19. Jerry Claiborne’s bunch lost another close one the following week to Tennessee. A win in either would have qualified the Cats for a bowl game and at least shortened either streak.

The short-lived Ron Zook Era at Florida was the Golden Age of Almost for the Cats during the streak. In 2002, Zook’s first year (he lasted three) a 4-0 Kentucky team narrowly missed winning in the Swamp, losing to the No. 7 Gators 41-34. The next year was the infamous “Lorenzen Game,” when Kentucky blew a 21-3 fourth quarter lead. It was an epic meltdown for the Cats that featured Florida scoring on fourth down and a NSFW sort of ugly interception by Lorenzen that set up the Gator’s go-ahead score.

Since then the only close call was in 2007, when No. 8 Kentucky lost to No. 14 Florida 45-37. That one wasn’t even as close as the score suggested, although it was a heartbreaker for many gamblers.

So which one hurts you the most?

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