Defeating a perpetual power that just so happens to be the program you guided to such status, is enough to make anyone's head swell. ‘The Ol' Ball Coach' finds himself the toast of the SEC once again and further illustrates how ominous Kentucky's ascent to SEC stardom really is.
There is Little doubt that Kentucky has garnered a late season burst of confidence; especially since the announcement that they would not have to endure yet another coach and another system. The Cats are quickly proving they have the tools to be competitive in the league.
The squad that spurned Mississippi State's final efforts, racked up more yardage on a stout Auburn foe than any other team all season, and reminded Vandy that they were still Vandy (for three quarters anyway), is not the same team of first-half fright. However, a team's record is only as good (or bad) as the conference in which they compete, and the SEC is showing no signs of frailty.
Even with an improving, fully healthy team, UK's record would likely remain sub-par. Rafael Litt…I mean UK…is still forced to play a ranked opponent seemingly every other week. Juggernauts like Louisville, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, and now South Carolina, aren't going anywhere.
To prove this point, look no further than our friends due West in Louisville. A near perfect season last year in Conference USA made Louisville a sexy pre-season BCS pick. But a jump to the slightly better Big East Conference this season exposed the ‘Cards as more hype than bite. The same can be said for the Seminoles of Florida State. With a 5-3 conference record, the ‘Noles obviously enjoyed the ACC much better before the addition of Big East defects Miami, Boston College, and Virginia Tech.
The Hal Mumme/Guy Morriss regime proved two things; First, enough money can buy a lot more than a steak from Outback, and second, UK can get the talent to win a few games in the SEC (come on, not every recruit got checks in the mail).
However, if Kentucky hopes to realize its dream of perennial SEC title contenders, they still must out-maneuver the powerhouses for prime talent…and right now, on some Columbia golf course, there is "fun-n-gunnin', bottom-lip-biting, flea-flicking, clipboard throwing, National Championship ring toting icon making it that much harder.