By: bterhune, cooncat, and TheProfessor
UK has both the schedule and the talent to get six wins and return to school record fourth straight bowl game. Many outside observers might believe that UK should be satisfied with this sustained mediocrity in the SEC. However, UK wants more than just six wins and another post-season journey into Tennessee this year. 2008 was a rebuilding year and six wins along with a third consecutive bowl victory in the Liberty Bowl over East Carolina were adequate to sustain their new found progress in football and to provide the footing for the next step up the SEC ladder.
UK is prepared to take another step up that ladder in 2009, and needs to do so to keep their recruiting ball rolling. In 2008, Kentucky started too many games slowly effectively sealing their fate in important, winnable games, falling behind early. Overall, opponents outscored the Cats 101-34 in the first quarter, and in the second quarter, UK and its opponents both scored 71 points. However, in the second halves of games, the Cats outscored opponents 189-107. This 67 point first quarter scoring deficit occurred in the following four games.
* Alabama 14 Kentucky 0; Final Alabama 17 Kentucky 14
* Vanderbilt 14 Kentucky 0; Final Vanderbilt 31 Kentucky 24
* Georgia 14 Kentucky 7, Final Georgia 42 Kentucky 38
* Florida 28 Kentucky 0; Final Florida 63 Kentucky 5
This 7-70 start in those four losses arguably contributed mightily to the losses in three of these four games. In 2009, the Cats need to begin games as the aggressors, prepared to set the tone of the game in the first quarter on both sides of the line of scrimmage.