Since it became possible in 2008, the commonwealth of Kentucky has never sent three teams to bowl games in the same season.
A year ago, Louisville and Western Kentucky each went bowling, and the Kentucky Wildcats were one win from joining them. So it's viable that college football fans in our state will experience a historic bowl trifecta in 2015.
Who must come through if all three of our state's FBS teams are going to taste the postseason in the same year for the first time? Let's take a look.
Last year: 5-7.
Player(s) I'm most anxious to see in 2015: Jeff Badet and Alexander Montgomery. As true freshmen in 2013, wideouts Badet (22 catches) and Montgomery (16) showed ample promise. Then they each missed last season due to injuries. With UK needing wide receivers to emerge as consistent playmakers, Badet and Montgomery have a chance to return and fill big roles.
Wildcat who must come through: Jason Hatcher. With Bud Dupree (7.5 sacks) and Za'Darius Smith (4.5) now in NFL training camps, UK has a big hole in its pass rush. Enter Hatcher? The 6-foot-3, 252-pound junior turned down Southern Cal to join Mark Stoops' first UK recruiting class. He now has an opening to become a star.
Game that could launch a special season: Florida. The Cats were achingly close to ending their losing streak against the Gators last year only to fall in triple overtime at The Swamp. (The skid is now 28 games.) In this season's third game, Kentucky gets another crack at UF. A UK victory could herald a breakthrough year three for Stoops.
Game that could send season off the tracks: At Vanderbilt. After UK went oh-for-James Franklin against Vandy from 2011-13, the Cats got the upper hand on the Commodores last year in Lexington. This year, Wildcats backers have a "W" penciled in for the return trip to Nashville. But no SEC road game is a certainty for UK — which has not won a conference away contest since 2009.
Last year: 9-4, lost to Georgia 37-14 in Belk Bowl.
Player(s) I'm most anxious to see: Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins. Former starters in the Georgia secondary, hybrid safety Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Wiggins each came to U of L looking for "fresh starts." With only four starters back on defense, U of L needs its ex-Dawgs to bring some bite.
Cardinal who must come through: James Quick. With DeVante Parker now catching passes for the Miami Dolphins, U of L has a vacancy at "go-to receiver." Quick, the former Trinity star, has the tools to fill that void.
Game that could launch a special season: Clemson. A season ago, Bobby Petrino's Cards got Florida State in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on a Thursday and put a scare into the Seminoles but could not finish the job. This year, in the season's third week, Clemson will be the ACC power in The Ville for Thursday night action. A Louisville victory would signal the Cardinals are legitimate ACC championship threats.
Game that could send season off the tracks: Houston. Tucked in between Louisville's ballyhooed season opener with Auburn in Atlanta and the meeting with Clemson is a Houston team picked by Phil Steele to win the American Athletic Conference West Division. The epitome of a "trap game."
Last year: 8-5, beat Central Michigan 49-48 in overtime in the Bahamas Bowl.
Player I'm most anxious to see: George Fant. An undersized (6-foot-6) power forward for the WKU men's basketball team for four years, Fant has gone "Antonio Gates" and is now listed as a 270-pound tight end on Jeff Brohm's football roster.
Hilltopper who must come through: Defensive coordinator Nick Holt. As prolific as WKU's offense (44.4 points and 535 yards a game) was last year, its defense (39.9 and 510 allowed) was almost equally porous. With Brandon Doughty and most of the key components of Western's offense back, a banner season could depend on whether Holt can engineer improvement.
Game(s) that could launch a special season: Vanderbilt and Indiana. The Toppers open at Vandy of the SEC, and in week three travel to IU of the Big Ten. An early sweep of Power Five foes would be big.
Game that could send season off the tracks: At Rice. A week before the Hilltoppers face rival Middle Tennessee State, they have a testy trip to Houston to face Rice. The Owls' David Bailiff is an unsung head coach whose team will take advantage if WKU is caught looking ahead.