KY writer mystified by Cats' losing streak

On October 7, 2008, Mark Story posted a story for the Kentucky Herald-Leader: Gamecocks' Grip on Cats Most Puzzling.


Comparing Kentucky's eight game losing streak to South Carolina with Kentucky's much longer losing streaks against Florida (21) and Tennessee (23), Story wrote, "But of all the negative losing streaks associated with University of Kentucky football, the most perplexing is that the Wildcats are oh-for-the-21st Century against South Carolina."

Puzzling, perplexing, confounding... the Kentucky sports writers do not have a clue.

Despite an overall 6-12-1 record against the Gamecocks, the Kentucky writers still look at "South Carolina" on the Kentucky football schedule and figure Kentucky wins the game easily. They did the same thing last year (2007) when Kentucky (then ranked 4th nationally) was favored to beat the Gamecocks in Columbia. It didn't happen.

If the Kentucky sports writers really want an answer to the perplexing question, then they need to look inward.

They should look to one of their own... Billy Reed.

Billy Reed, like Story, was a sports columnist for the Herald-Leader.

Kentucky's last win (30-10) against the Gamecocks came in Columbia on October 9, 1999. Soon after that blowout victory in Columbia, Billy Reed asserted that the Gamecocks ought to be expelled from the Southeastern Conference because the program was inept. Reed wrote, "The Gamecocks have brought virtually nothing to the table in football. They are the SEC family's embarrassing cousin."

The comments by Reed stung the Gamecocks and the Carolina family very harshly. The words were a bitter pill because at the time, the Gamecocks were suffering through Lou Holtz' winless 1999 season.

The Carolina fans love the Gamecocks. The fans stuck with the team through this dark time, selling out most of the games despite the streak. We tried to be good fans, smiling graciously with difficulty as opponents celebrated in our stadium. We were good hosts, weren't we? And, we even brought plenty of fans on the road to the stadiums around the Conference. I don't think anyone would say we were anything but fans of minimally satisfactory merit. Wasn't that trial of football losses enough to earn a right to be part of the Southeastern Conference?

Speaking from the heart, I remember that watching my beloved Gamecocks lose game after game in those years was incredibly tough. Thus, Reed's caustic comments stung when they appeared in the Kentucky sports pages. Reed's words were hurtful to me in a monumental and particularly cutting way. I cannot imagine how much they hurt the players and coaches, and their families.

If Mr. Story needs a reason for the Wildcats ongoing losing streak, then I have an answer for him.

It's called justice.


Please visit the writer's blog here: Edwin Turnage's Blog


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