UK Football

Georgia beat UK for the 10th year in a row. That doesn’t change the Cats’ outlook.

Kentucky’s loss to Georgia on Saturday was the Wildcats’ 10th straight to the Bulldogs and caused them to fall to 1-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

Here’s a further look at what the outcome means beyond the scoreboard.

Bowl path

Kentucky’s easiest road to six wins at no point this season included a victory over Georgia. It would have been a signature win — for the program and for the season — but beating the Bulldogs was never a must when it came to bowl attainment.

Taking care of business three straight weeks against a Tennessee trio — Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Tennessee-Martin — gets UK to bowl eligibility. UT could be coming to Lexington with its bowl life on the line; the Volunteers were 2-4 entering Saturday night with games against Alabama and South Carolina left to be decided before UK hosts them on Nov. 9. Vanderbilt is the worst team in the Southeastern Conference. UT-Martin is an FCS program. That’s a winnable slate of games.

It also doesn’t include next week’s game against Missouri — a home game in which the Tigers will likely be favored — or the regular-season finale against Louisville, another one at Kroger Field that could potentially see both squads vying for a sixth win. UK has a chance to not be in that position; for the sake of fans’ nerves, let’s hope it’s not.

See ya, SEC East

Kentucky would have needed to win out in the conference and a ton of help, but it still could have conceivably played for the SEC championship this season. The loss to Georgia nixed that for good.

Even at 5-3, though, it would have not been realistic. UK would have needed Georgia to lose at least one more conference game, as it would have owned a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bulldogs. It also would have needed South Carolina to lose one more conference game.

Florida also owns the tiebreaker over Kentucky. It’s 4-1 after Saturday’s win over South Carolina; the Gators would have had to lose out in order for UK to have remained in contention.

If it had gotten what would be a massive assist from Florida (the Gators’ next conference game is against Vanderbilt), Missouri would have been a hurdle. The Tigers are 2-1 in conference play with a trip to Lexington up next. UK would have needed to beat them, root for them against Florida and then hope that at least two of Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas defeated the SEC East’s newest member.

UK now can finish no better than .500 in league play with three games left.

It required many “ifs,” but there was a path to the SEC championship game for Kentucky. That dream died Saturday.

Top 10 games

Mark Stoops is still searching for his first victory over a top-10 team as a head coach.

UK fell to 5-15 against ranked opponents under Stoops, who’s been in charge since 2013. Kentucky hasn’t defeated a top-10 program since 2010, when the Cats beat No. 10 South Carolina, 31-28, at home.

The victory was Georgia’s 10th consecutive win over the Wildcats, matching its longest win streak ever against them (1978-1987). It is UK’s longest active winless streak against a conference opponent.

If Georgia were to win next year, it would tie an 11-game win streak over Vanderbilt from 1974-1984 as the program’s second-longest against an SEC foe. The Bulldogs defeated Mississippi in 12 straight meetings from 1977-1988.

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Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.