Kentucky Wildcats

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Kentucky Football — Carolina Cold-Cocked

Carolina Cold Cocked—By John Huang

Road trips are tough. I’m not talking necessarily about the UK Football team traveling to away games with their cushy charter flights and first-class hotels. I’m referencing the trips made by the lowly sports journalist covering the team—travels punctuated by endless drives, budget accommodations, and greasy fast food.


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Kentucky Football — EK Who?

EK Who? —By John Huang

Saturdays in September have a uniquely distinct odor. Gone are the halcyon scents of summer, replaced by the pungent smell of football in the air. Whether it’s the aroma of the best pre-game breakfast burrito I’ve ever had, or the smoke from a tailgate barbecue, or the sweat from post-game interviews, I love everything about this special time of the year. You simply can’t beat the home opener for Wildcat Football and the excitement it brings to everyone in the commonwealth. Thankfully, Kentucky was playing EKU—a significantly lesser opponent incapable of pulling off the gargantuan upset and crashing the party.


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Kentucky Football — Mississippi Learning

Mississippi Learning—By John Huang

One game doesn’t make for a successful season, but a 24-17 victory over Southern Miss certainly steers the 2017-18 Wildcat football campaign in a favorable direction. Suffice it to say that a second straight season opening loss to the Shannon Dawson coached Golden Eagles could have sent the Mark Stoops bandwagon careening off the side of a big blue cliff. Deep into the fourth quarter, potential disaster was still looming. Long-suffering UK football fans have seen it all before—months of preseason hope and hype negated by a few minutes of inexplicable on-the-field football futility. Fortunately, that was NOT the case in Hattiesburg, as the Cats played well enough to notch victory #1 on their way to a possible breakout season.


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Kentucky Football — Beach Bowl Prediction

Beach Bowl Prediction—By John Huang

Hattiesburg, Mississippi, lies a scant 77 miles from the serene blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to covering Kentucky’s road opener, my plans were to spend a few sun-splashed days on the Biloxi beaches preparing my perilous prognostication for the upcoming Wildcat season. Perhaps some glorious sunrises, an abundance of succulent seafood, and a few well-timed luscious libations could conjure up an idyllic vision of how this UK football season will eventually materialize.


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Kentucky Football — Kroger University

Kroger University—By John Huang

Those of you old enough to remember the “Let’s Go Krogering” jingle know that the Cincinnati based grocery chain giant has never shied away from hokey marketing promotions. None of us should have been surprised, then, when we heard of Kroger’s latest takeover of the hallowed grounds of our beloved football venue. Out with Commonwealth Stadium and in with Kroger Field. For a mere $1.85 million per year, Kroger bought not only the naming rights, but a direct path to the mind, hearts, and wallets of the Big Blue Wildcat faithful.


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Kentucky Football — Media Day Buzz

Media Day Buzz—By John Huang

There’s something about UK Football Media Day that brings out the eternal optimist in all of us. Every August–at the end of talking season–hope springs eternal as die-hard Wildcat fans dream of “this finally being the year.” Perhaps it’s because the Cats are still undefeated in August, maybe it’s the fact that everyone’s energized and healthy, or maybe it’s just because Kool-Aid tastes sweeter at Kroger Field, but there’s definitely a notable buzz around this particular team. Everyone seems confident, from the casual fan to the most grizzled journalist.


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Kentucky Baseball — Role Reversal

Photo by Britney Howard/UK Athletics

Role Reversal–By John Huang

Early in the 1986-87 season, Kentucky basketball coach Eddie Sutton uttered the famous phrase that would forever vault the UK versus UL rivalry into the stratosphere. “Kentucky is like the big brother and Louisville is like the little brother,” the embattled coach proclaimed when asked about the antagonism percolating between the two schools. Understandably, that quip rankled many in the Louisville camp and for the subsequent three decades, UL fans have simmered like a petulant younger sibling, trying desperately to bury that well-fitting moniker.


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Kentucky Baseball — It Just Means More

Photo by UK Athletics

It Just Means More—by John Huang

The new Southeastern Conference slogan, “It just means more,” certainly applies to its baseball teams. Unbeknownst to many Big Blue basketball die-hards, America’s pastime has always surpassed hoops in both attendance and interest throughout the other 13 SEC campuses. Although the pigskin still reigns supreme on Saturdays down south, bleached cowhide consistently surpasses dimpled leather every other day of the week. In my first year on the baseball beat, I learned first-hand how every SEC school (outside of Kentucky) prioritizes baseball success over basketball dominance. It just means more, especially for SEC teams out on the baseball diamond.


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Kentucky Softball — For the Love of the Game

Photo by Gary Moyers TCP

For the Love of the Game—By John Huang

The UK Softball team advanced through the NCAA Lexington Regional on Sunday with an exhilarating 4-2 win over Illinois. The Wildcats, riding the golden arms of senior Meagan Prince and Junior Erin Rethlake together with the sizzling bat of freshman Alex Martens, swept through DePaul and the Illini twice this weekend to survive the double elimination format. Coach Rachel Lawson’s crew now stands with an impressive 39-17 overall record for the year. The unpredictable Wildcats were .500 in the always murderous SEC gauntlet, knocking off nationally ranked powerhouses such as Florida and Texas A&M along the way. Next up for Kentucky will be the NCAA Super Regional round, a familiar Wildcat stomping ground in four of the past five years. “The one thing that I can guarantee is that this team knows how to fight,” Coach Lawson recently said. As I covered the Softball Wildcats throughout this season, I frequently questioned what motivated the team to always battle and fight at such a high level.


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Kentucky Baseball — Blue Blooded Chemistry

Photo by Katie Dugan

Blue Blooded Chemistry—By John Huang

While all of BBN has been fretting over the Diallo decision and the Kroger corporate takeover, the UK Baseball team has been quietly and methodically winning games, mowing down traditional SEC powers and moving up the national polls en route to possibly the most magical season in program history. What’s making this team so special? What supernatural Gatorade have they been drinking? The same players who last year went .500 in the conference and missed out on post-season play suddenly have their sights legitimately set on Omaha.


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