I have not spent time this week breaking down the Kentucky game tomorrow for a couple of reasons.
First, Florida has won the past 21 games in the series, so being a 23-year-old, I am not wired to consider the Wildcats as a threat in football. I know UK has gotten a lot better in the past couple of years under Rich Brooks; last year’s game was a real battle. That’s just the way it is with me.
Second, and more rationally, it’s because Kentucky has been ravaged by injuries as of late while Florida has been getting healthier. Jim Tartt is still going to be out, but Carl Johnson has helped pave the way for the largest two-game rushing count for Florida under Urban Meyer. Emmanuel Moody may get a couple snaps, but Kestahn Moore is listed as the No. 1 running back and of course Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Chris Rainey, and Jeff Demps will get carries.
Meanwhile in Lexington, Dickie Lyons, Jr. and Derrick Locke have been lost for the season in consecutive weeks. DT Myron Pryor will be out for the game, and OT Justin Jeffries will sit out with him. Three linebackers are banged up but will go; the same goes for two defensive backs.
Let’s be honest here. After demolishing LSU and jumping up in the polls, Florida is not just back to being a premier SEC contender but a national title contender as well if Penn State loses. If a newly-healthy Florida team loses to a shorthanded Kentucky team, we’ve got some real issues that run a lot deeper than whether I am taking the Wildcats seriously enough.
UK has enough of a defense this season to give the Gators some fits if it’s healthy. With an important starter missing and five guys not at 100%, it should not be able to do a whole lot of damage. The Kentucky offense should struggle because Mike Hartline is not good enough to beat a powerhouse on the road without his two best skill position players.
Yes, Kentucky gave Alabama a great game in Tuscaloosa in a game that the Tide didn’t fully show up for. They also needed a semi-miraculous comeback to defeat Arkansas just last week. I just don’t see any way that the hurting Wildcats ruin homecoming for Florida.