On Oct. 18, someone who looks remarkably like me wrote that our state's major-college football programs — Kentucky, Louisville and Western Kentucky — were on the verge of making the commonwealth The Worst Major College Football State In The Country.
At the time, our state's three FBS schools were a combined 6-12 with zero quality wins.
Kentucky (then 2-4) had been outscored 137-20 in three conference games.
Louisville (2-4) had lost at home to Florida International and Marshall and did not have a single victory over an out-of-state foe.
WKU (2-4) had been obliterated 44-16 by Indiana State of the FCS (formerly I-AA) in Bowling Green.
At the time, I noted that it appeared to be an all-out duel between the commonwealth of Kentucky and the state of New Mexico to determine which was the absolute pits of major college football in 2011.
What's happened here in Kentucky since is exactly what we all expected, right?
Louisville has gone 3-0, including a road victory over a ranked foe.
WKU has gone 3-0, and is suddenly contending for its first bowl appearance as a Bowl Subdivision member.
UK has gone 2-1, and the game it lost (Mississippi State) might have turned out to be the most advantageous because, in true freshman Max Smith, the Cats might have discovered a quarterback they can build around.
So since someone who looks much like me provided our state's teams with the motivation of saying they stunk worse than a family of skunks, they have gone a combined 8-1.
Memo to Charlie Strong, Willie Taggart and Joker Phillips: You are welcome.
There are two primary lessons, I think, from the great state of Kentucky football turnaround of 2011.
First, football seasons are long. In our Twitter world of constant and instant analysis, we all tend to draw "lasting" conclusions far too quickly.
Second, isn't it amazing how much difference a little belief makes in competitive athletics?
Louisville had lost three in a row and four out of five when Rutgers gave the Cardinals an early Christmas present in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. In what became a 16-14 U of L win, the Scarlet Knights threw two interceptions on their first four passes, missed two short field goals and dropped a sure fourth-quarter touchdown pass with the receiver alone some 10 yards behind the defense.
That one victory seemed to instill confidence in the Cardinals. They proceeded to plaster Syracuse and then score the most significant victory of Strong's two seasons as U of L head coach when they won at No. 24 West Virginia — the school the Big 12 Conference just chose over Louisville.
WKU began its season 0-4 before the Hilltoppers finally eked out a double-overtime victory at rival Middle Tennessee State. Starting with that win, a Western program that had gone 2-26 in its first 28 games in the FBS is 5-0.
Given some belief, the Hilltoppers (5-4) have beaten a Louisiana-Lafayette that is now 8-2. They have won a road game in overtime after blowing a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter (at Louisiana-Monroe). Last Saturday, the Toppers won 10-9 on a field goal at the buzzer by kicker Casey Tinius — who had missed eight straight field-goal attempts before hitting the game-winner.
UK's turnaround hasn't yet been as dramatic, with its two wins coming over Jacksonville State of the Ohio Valley Conference and a Mississippi that has played so poorly it cost Houston Nutt his job. Still, after enduring that three-game debacle against Florida, Louisiana State and South Carolina, the Cats haven't quit on the season and have gotten better.
Behind the play of true freshman QB Smith, walk-on running back CoShik Williams and comeback-kid wideout Matt Roark, Kentucky (4-5) at least enters the final three games of the season with a long-shot chance to extend its five-year bowl streak.
After UK's all-systems meltdown at South Carolina, what were the odds of that?
Alas, for our erstwhile "rivals" in New Mexico, the plot of the 2011 major college football season has not contained such a pleasing twist.
Since Oct. 18, the New Mexico Lobos have gone 0-3 and been outscored 146-7. They are 0-9 on the year.
Meanwhile, New Mexico State (3-6) has also gone 0-3 in the same time frame, having given up 45 points or more in all three losses.
Memo to The Land of Enchantment: For a fee, someone who very much resembles me would be willing to go west and write that your major-college football teams have placed your state in contention for the title The Worst Major College Football State In The Country.
You'd be amazed at what can happen after such a claim is put in print.