SIMPSONVILLE — For all who came of age after the 1950s, this will seem less likely than swine flight.
There is a living, breathing University of Kentucky quarterback who beat Tennessee three years in a row.
Bob Hardy led UK past the Volunteers in 1953, '54, and '55. He was recognized Thursday at the annual Governor's Cup Luncheon at The Cardinal Club.
Hardy, 76, was asked which of his three wins as a Kentucky starting quarterback over UT was his favorite.
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"The first one," he said.
"The second one."
"And the third one."
Also honored Thursday at the luncheon, which previews the UK-Louisville football game, were former Kentucky linebacker Joe Federspiel, former Louisville QB John Madeya, and ex-U of L star cornerback Frank Minnifield, a Henry Clay High product.
Among Hardy's wins over Tennessee, he said he was partial to 1954 because A.) it came (14-13) in Knoxville; B.) it was secured when Hardy hit star end Howard Schnellenberger with a late touchdown pass.
For all of Bear Bryant's immense success at Kentucky, his 1953 victory (27-21) over Tennessee was the Bear's only win against UT in eight tries (1-5-2) as UK head man.
"I think by 1953, Coach Bryant finally realized that we could just do what we would normally do in that game," Hardy said. "Before, when it got to Tennessee, he'd make a lot of changes to both the offense and the defense. It's hard to take all that in in three days."
The significance of Hardy's three straight wins over the Vols has grown exponentially as UK victories over UT have proven increasingly rare. As folks in these parts know all too well, UK has lost 24 straight to the Rocky Toppers.
When Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks took the podium for Thursday's news conference, he addressed Hardy.
"Bob, I need you to come play quarterback for me against Tennessee," Brooks said.
Kragthorpe hot seat?
In Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview, the analysis of U of L head coach Steve Kragthorpe ends by proclaiming "he is clearly the coach on the biggest hot seat this year."
After inheriting a program coming off a 12-1 season and an Orange Bowl victory, Kragthorpe has gone 11-12 in his two years.
With U of L set to unveil an expanded Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (up to 60,000 seats and 45 new luxury suites) for 2010, the conventional wisdom in the punditocracy is Kragthorpe needs at least a bowl trip in 2009 to secure his job.
Tom Jurich, the U of L athletics director, kept repeating the phrase "stay the course" when asked about Kragthorpe's future Thursday.
"I want to see improvement in the program," Jurich said. "We're not putting any measurement on that, any more than I would tell Coach (Rick) Pitino he has to at least go to the third round of the (NCAA) tournament."
Jurich said the new Southeastern Conference TV deals with CBS and ESPN "have clearly raised the bar for the other conferences. It should be a recruiting boost (for SEC schools), but we still have to compete and get the job done."
■ Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear attended the luncheon. Just as he did at last year's UK-U of L football game, Beshear wore neutral colors and a green shirt.
■ Proceeds from Governor's Cup activities — which also include a cocktail party, an auction and a golf classic — go to the Visually Impaired Pre-School Services, which is dedicated to providing aid to the families of young children who are blind or visually impaired.