Cocky Cats

Kentucky's football team has lost 20 consecutive games against Tennessee, yet the Wildcats should be a confident bunch heading into Saturday's match-up at Lexington.

The Big Blue has won two of its last three games, whereas the Big Orange has lost five of its last six.

The Big Blue recently beat a Vanderbilt team in Nashville that Tennessee couldn't defeat a week later in Knoxville.

The Big Blue has been scoring points (nearly 30 per game the past three weeks), while the Big Orange has not (12 ppg over the last six weeks).

And the Big Blue has the advantage of playing at Commonwealth Stadium, where it gave UT fits in 2001 (losing 38-35) and in 2003 (losing 20-7).

Given all of these factors, the Wildcats are sure to be pumped up for this game.

As Vol head man Phillip Fulmer noted: "Everybody has a target on us because we've done really, really well … particularly when you've done really, really well against people over a long period of time.

"It would only make common sense to me that they'd really want to beat Tennessee … or Vanderbilt (would) after 22 years … or Alabama (would) after nine out of 10 years or whatever."

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, who will be back for the 2006 season despite a 9-24 record in three years at UK, says the series with Tennessee doesn't even qualify as a rivalry these days.

"This rivalry hasn't been much of a rivalry," he said. "Joker Phillips, my offensive coordinator, played on the last Kentucky team that was able to beat Tennessee (1984), so that doesn't speak very well for our side of the rivalry."

Still, Brooks concedes that his players fully appreciate the opportunity before them. Tennessee is vulnerable, and Kentucky smells blood in the water.

As Brooks put it: "It's a huge game for us if we could get back in the rivalry and actually win a game."

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