'The Streak'

Nobody covers the Tennessee-Kentucky border rivalry like InsideTennessee.com. Sign up or subscribe now to read this in-depth look at the Big Orange-Big Blue series.

Some truly memorable events occurred in 1984. For instance:

— Apple introduced the "user friendly" MacIntosh personal computer.

— Ronald Reagan got 59 percent of the popular vote in defeating Walter Mondale for the Presidency.

— Doctors began using ultrasound to detect the gender of fetuses.

— The Supreme Court ruled that videotape recordings do not constitute a violation of copyright laws, prompting VCR manufacturers to celebrate.

— Hewlitt-Packard revolutionized the workplace by introducing the desktop laser printer.

— Miami Vice, The Cosby Show, Kate & Allie and Murder She Wrote debuted on network TV.

— Action flicks Beverly Hills Cop and The Terminator captivated movie audiences.

— Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, Madonna's Like a Virgin and Tina Turner's Private Dancer were hot-selling record albums.

— Owner Al Davis moved the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles and won the Super Bowl.

Michael Jordan scored 16 points in his NBA debut.

Doug Flutie completed the most famous "Hail Mary" pass ever, giving Boston College a 47-45 defeat of Miami.

— Millions of Americans became hooked on a new board game called "Trivial Pursuit."

— Vanessa Williams was stripped of her Miss America title because she stripped for a suggestive photo shoot a few years earlier.

Kentucky beat Tennessee 17-12 in football.

That last item didn't seem like a big deal at the time but it has become quite a landmark in retrospect. That's because the Big Blue hasn't beaten the Big Orange in the 26 years since, giving UK the longest continuous losing streak to one rival in all of college football.

The Wildcats are determined to end "The Streak" on Saturday in Lexington, and Tennessee's players certainly can understand why.

"I'm pretty sure it's on the bulletin board and everywhere ... coaches talking about it, players talking about it," senior tailback Tauren Poole said. "I'm sure they do (get up for Tennessee). I would, too. I don't blame 'em at all."

Senior linebacker Austin Johnson concedes that suffering 26 losses to one team has got to weigh on a lot of Big Blue minds.

"That's quite a number," he said. "I know that gives them a lot of motivation and encouragement to try and break that streak but our seniors want to keep that streak going."

Senior defensive end Ben Martin confirmed as much.

"Obviously, that's a motivation for any team — to try and get over that hump and break that streak — because nobody wants to have a record like that," he said. "We know they're going to give us everything they've got."

Senior defensive tackle Malik Jackson agreed, noting: "It's a lot of motivation for them. They're going to come with a lot. We've just got to come with our game, like we did with Vandy."

The Vols can empathize with Kentucky to an extent. They know how it feels to be on the wrong end of a one-sided rivalry, having lost seven years in a row to Florida.

"We've struggled with them since I've been here," Martin noted. "You almost have them, then they beat you. We know Kentucky is going to have a chip on their shoulder, and a team with a chip on their shoulder is a dangerous team, so we've got to be ready."

Naturally, the 2011 Vols don't want to be remembered as the team that suffered the first loss to the Wildcats in 27 years.

"We don't want to be that class that loses to 'em and breaks the streak," Johnson said. "But we had the same issue this past week (going in 27-1 in the past 28 games versus Vanderbilt) and it didn't affect us at all."

Basically, losing to Kentucky is an ugly thought that most of the Vols simply don't want to consider.

"You can't get lost in stuff like that," Martin said. "If you do, you lose sight of what's important — fundamentals, techniques and execution. As long as we focus on those things, we'll be fine. This year we're trying not to think about the streak ... just getting the win."

Most likely, ending the streak is a bigger concern for Kentucky than extending the streak is for Tennessee.

"We don't worry about that," Jackson said. "We don't know anything about the streak, to be honest with you. We just go out there and try to win every game we can."

At 4-7, Kentucky cannot qualify for a bowl game. So, the only incentive the Big Blue has this weekend is to (a) end The Streak and (b) saddle the 5-6 Vols with a losing record that costs them a bowl bid.

"I expect Kentucky to come out and try to spoil things for us," Jackson said. "They don't have a bowl game but that don't mean they don't have nothing to play for. They can say, 'Yeah, we didn't go to a bowl game but neither did Tennessee because we beat 'em.'"


Inside Tennessee Top Stories