In 25 tries, Vince Dooley’s Georgia Bulldogs lost four games — and tied one — against Kentucky. By contemporary Dog-Cat standards, that makes Dooley a comparative slacker. Ray Goff was 6-1 against Kentucky; Jim Donnan was 4-1. Mark Richt is 11-2.
Running the numbers, we find that Kentucky has beaten Georgia eight times in 57 years. I’d say that qualifies as domination, not that dominating Kentucky in football is any big deal. But it bears repeating now, seeing as how Georgia fans are, in their post-Florida fret, fearing that something awful will transpire at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
My advice — borrowing from Aaron Rodgers — is to relax. When Kentucky is involved, the worst that can happen invariably befalls the Wildcats, not their opponent.
As you know, I’m a UK grad. I also covered the 1980 Wildcats for the Lexington Herald-Leader. That team went 3-8. Four of the losses came in the final minute. One came with 18 seconds remaining — Steve Corso, son of then-Indiana coach Lee Corso, caught the winning touchdown pass. (Lee claimed he and Steve had worked on the play in their backyard years earlier. He called it “The Pine Tree Shot.”) One came at the horn — Florida kicked the winning field goal after a Cris Collinsworth reception was ruled inbounds, which it might actually have been. One came after the horn — Tulane was gifted an untimed field goal after two pass interference flags of dubious worth.
I’ll concede that this Kentucky team is, by UK standards, not awful. It took Florida to triple overtime in Gainesville. It beat South Carolina in Lexington. I also note that the Big Blue is not yet bowl-eligible and, with games awaiting at Tennessee and Louisville, might not get that way. Mark Stoops is recruiting well and coaching hard, and Kentucky is no longer a day-at-the-beach opponent; it shouldn’t, however, beat Georgia anywhere.
My guess eight days ago was that this would be a dangerous game only if Georgia was riding high after beating Florida and peeking ahead to Auburn. As it happened, Georgia didn’t quite beat Florida. It lost 38-20 in a game gaining traction as the absolute worst performance — nosing below Central Florida! — under Mark Richt. Some Bulldogs have conceded that they paid little heed to the Gators, who were essentially playing not to get embarrassed. Thus did Georgia wind up being embarrassed.
I’m thinking we won’t see such largesse on display a second week running. (If we do, there’s something rotten at the heart of Georgia football.) I’m thinking Georgia beats Kentucky — not with ease, but with some room to spare. I know what you’re saying: “Aren’t you the guy who said Georgia wouldn’t lose to Florida?” I am indeed. I’m not right, goodness knows, all the time. But I am right some of the time.