[Moderated by Matt Jones]
The expectations for the football team are bleak to say the least. The first two seasons under Coach Phillips have been disappointing and we face one of our toughest schedules in quite some time. There are lots of reasons to have a negative outlook for the upcoming season but I’m not going to do it. I’m going to channel my inner Johnny Short and become a mega optimist. There have been lots of great times for the Cats and there isn’t a better time to remember them than the slow summer months.
The early fifties were a great time to be a fan of the Cats. The legendary Bear Bryansaw as on the sidelines and the Cats were constantly ranked in the top twenty. 1950 was one of the best years in the history of the program. The Cats amassed a 9-1 record with their only loss coming against 9th ranked Tennessee which was good enough to give us our first SEC championship. That season they finished seventh in the AP poll. That seventh place ranking earned them a spot in the Sugar Bowl against number 1 ranked Oklahoma.
Oklahoma was a football powerhouse then much like they are today. They were riding a 31 game winning streak that dated back to September of ’48. They had been named national champion in 1949 and entered the Sugar Bowl ranked first looking to repeat. Kentucky made sure that didn’t happen. Bear Bryant and the Cats pulled off the upset, winning the game 13-7. UK finished 10-1 for their best record in school history. Oklahoma and Tennessee were named national champions and the Cats ended their season on a high note. That is, until forty years later when Jeff Sagarin used his rating system on every year prior to the national championship game. His rankings put the Cats on top and the NCAA recognized UK as co-national champions.
We have five months until the start of football season. While I don’t expect the success we had in 1950 perhaps the Cats will find a way to exceed our expectations. There have been alot of bad times in UK football history but during the bad times I like to focus on the good. From now on I will be approaching the season with a positive outlook.
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