Will 'the streak' end tonight?

In case you've forgotten 1984, here's a brief refresher course:

- Ronald Reagan was President and George Bush was Vice President.

- The average American income was $12,497.

- The average price of a new car was $6,294.

- A gallon of gas cost $1.21 and a postage stamp went for 20 cents.

- Brigham Young was voted NCAA football champion.

- The Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII.

- The Philadelphia Stars beat the Arizona Wranglers 23-3 to win the United States Football League title.

- North Carolina's Michael Jordan was picked third in the NBA Draft, behind Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon and Kentucky's Sam Bowie.

- Russia boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics.

- Fuzzy Zoeller won the U.S. Open golf title.

- The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Tennessee Vols 17-12 in football.

Normally, a regular-season football game wouldn't qualify as one of a year's most significant events but the 1984 UT-UK game was special. It was the last time the Big Blue beat the Big Orange. The Vols have won 24 games in succession since then, the longest continuous streak in all of college football.

Given the above, some Big Orange fans are assuming a Vol victory when UT and UK square off tonight at 7 o'clock at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin says those who do so are making a grave error.

"The history of this series means nothing to this game," the first-year head man said. "I'm sorry; it doesn't. Those players that were playing in that streak aren't here anymore."

He has a point. Tennessee had noticeably superior personnel in most of the 24 previous games vs. Kentucky. That is no longer the case. Each program posted 30 wins and 20 losses from 2006 to present. Kentucky has played in three bowl games during that span, Tennessee two.

Certainly, this Kentucky team (7-4) has no reason to fear this Tennessee team (6-5), especially with the game being played in Lexington. The Vols are 0-3 on the road this fall. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have won five of their past six games, with impressive road wins at Auburn, Vanderbilt and Georgia.

"This is not the old Kentucky team," Kiffin noted. "This is a team that had gone 34 years without going down to Georgia and winning (prior to last Saturday). This is a different Kentucky team, and that (streak) really has nothing to do with this team."

Because most of the players have been in Tennessee's program longer than Kiffin, the Vols give "the streak" a little more significance. They don't want to be remembered as THE TEAM THAT LOST TO KENTUCKY, so they are acutely aware of the series history.

"Of course," senior defensive tackle Wes Brown said. "We know about it. We know Tennessee history. We know the rivalry and we want to keep that going, obviously. But we've got to go take care of Tennessee, and that will take care of itself.

"If we get too caught up in streaks that'll end up biting you."


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