It has been nearly 27 years since the Kentucky Wildcats have beaten the Florida Gators in football. Kentucky’s last win over the Gators came on Nov. 15, 1986 when the Wildcats pulled out a 10-3 win. Since then, Florida has rolled off 26-straight wins in the series.
In many cases, the game hasn’t really been close. Former Gators’ boss Steve Spurrier loved to run the score up on Kentucky in the early 1990s. Florida won by scores of 73-7 (1994), 65-0 (1996) and, more recently, 63-5 in 2008.
It seems like nearly every season since the streak started that Kentucky has gone into its annual contest against Florida with virtually no shot of winning. The Gators have been a Top-25 program for much of that 26-year span, while Kentucky has largely lived near the bottom of the SEC standings.
This season, Kentucky is starting from scratch, with new head coach Mark Stoops trying to build the UK program after last year’s 2-10 season. So this doesn’t seem like the year that Kentucky will be able to stop the streak.
However, Kentucky looked better, especially on defense, in its last game, against the Louisville Cardinals. The Big Blue defense contained Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater, especially in the first half. However, the offense was not able to do much against Louisville, especially after the injury to quarterback Maxwell Smith.
Kentucky fans are an optimistic bunch, and some of them see this as the year that the streak against Florida ends, especially now that Jeff Driskel, Florida’s starting quarterback, is out for the season. And, on Thursday, the Gators announced that starting defensive tackle Dominique Easley had torn his ACL and is out for the season. Those same Kentucky fans are hoping that Smith is healthy and that the week off helped Kentucky come up with a game plan to stop Florida and put this streak to rest.
While it’s not likely, at least Kentucky goes into this game with some hope, something they have not always had during the 26-game losing streak to the Gators.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.