Suddenly, Kentucky’s second-half got tougher

Boy oh boy, upsets went viral in the SEC on Saturday. Missouri cold-cocked visiting Florida. Tennessee's last second field goal made Steve Spurrier pay for his own cuteness. Vanderbilt rallied from a 13-point deficit to shock Georgia. Ole Miss kicked a field goal at the horn to upset LSU.

Did we mention that Kentucky still has Missouri, Vanderbilt and Tennessee left on its schedule?

After four straight games against four straight Top 20 teams, Kentucky hit the midway point of the year with a 1-5 record and a consolation prize. No way the second half of the year be tougher than the first.

And now, while the second half strength of schedeule may be a bit easier than the first half, it won't be easy.

Kentucky plays host to Missouri on Nov. 9. Gary Pinkel's Tigers took total control of the SEC East with its 36-17 win over floundering Florida and those losses by Georgia and South Carolina. Missouri is 3-0 in the SEC. South Carolina, Florida and Georgia are each 3-2. And Missouri's backup quarterback, Maty Mauk, picked right up where injured starter James Franklin left off.

The Cats then travel to Vanderbilt on Nov. 16 and the Commodores got it back in gear Saturday, rallying to beat visiting Georgia 31-27. Vandy is now 4-3 overall, 1-3 in the SEC. And, not to be a broken record, the 'Dores have beaten Kentucky by a combined 70 points over the last two seasons.

Kentucky finishes the season on Nov. 30 by playing host to a Tennessee team that just snapped a streak of 19 consecutive losses to ranked teams. New coach Butch Jones has the Vols pointed in the right direction. The huge win over the Gamecocks will only accelerate the process.

On a side note, Spurrier's arrogance came back to bite him Saturday. Up 21-20 with just under three minutes to play, the Gamecocks faced a fourth-and-two from their own 26-yard line. Twice Spurrier kept his offense on the field as if he was going for it on fourth down, only to call back-to-back timeouts after seeing how Tennessee lined up. Finally, South Carolina punted.

Next thing you know, Tennessee's freshman receiver Marquez North made an unbelievable 39-yard catch that put the Vols in position for the winning field goal. As Jones ran down the clock, Spurrier had just one time out left to stop the clock. The Ol' Ball Coach could have used those wasted timeouts.

So Kentucky gets back at it today — Mark Stoops' team practices this afternoon at Nutter — in preparation for Thursday's game at Mississippi State. Then comes a home game against Alabama State. After that, however, it's really back to the grind — Missouri, at Vanderbilt, at Georgia, and Tennessee.

No rest for the weary.

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