On Saturday, history is on the line in college football. And if you’re a Kentucky fan, it’s the wrong kind of history. That’s right, when the Wildcats head down to the Swamp to take on the Florida Gators, they will be trying to end one of the most embarrassing streaks in sports: They have lost a staggering 29 games in a row to Florida. 29! That streak dates back to 1986, at a time when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Top Gun and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off were in movie theaters and the SEC had just 10 teams. So yeah, it’s been a long time since Kentucky beat Florida. Here are 15 incredible facts about the Gators’ 29-game win streak over Kentucky.
The last time Kentucky beat Florida, not only had currently Wildcats’ head coach Mark Stoops not started his coaching career, he was actually still a college player himself at Iowa.
Current Florida head man Jim McElwain was well into his coaching career — as a second-year graduate assistant at Eastern Washington. He’d graduated from the school three years earlier.
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Across the country, Urban Meyer was at Ohio State ... as a graduate assistant as well. He’d return to Columbus as the head coach 26 years later, and in between go 6-0 against the Wildcats when he was in Gainesville.
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Even the guy who preceded Meyer, Ron Zook was undefeated against the ‘Cats. His 3-0 record versus Kentucky accounted for nearly a quarter of his total SEC wins before being fired in 2004 (he went 16-8 in conference during his time at Florida).
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The win streak for the Gators is so long, it started four full seasons before Steve Spurrier even got to Florida as the team’s head coach. He went 12-0 against the Wildcats as head coach, including the biggest win during this entire streak, when the Gators beat Kentucky by an almost surreal score of 73-7 victory back in 1994. Ironically, Saturday’s game will be 22 years to the day after that game was played.
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While no other game has come close to that 66-point margin, it hasn’t been pretty for the ‘Cats. Of the 29 losses, 20 have come by double-digits. Only six have come by a touchdown or less, but the good news is, two of those games happened in the last two years.
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Beyond just this series, but here is how dominant Florida has been in the college football landscape over this time: During Florida’s 29-game win streak, the Gators have had 14 total seasons of 10 wins or more. Kentucky has two in school history, and zero over the same stretch.
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Put another way, Kentucky has three total bowl wins over the last 29 years. Florida has three outright national championships, and 14 bowl wins overall.
During the streak, Kentucky has had six total players named to an All-American team. Florida had six All-Americans on its 2009 team alone.
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The Wildcats’ best player during the streak was arguably Tim Couch, who went on to be the first overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Couch was just nine years old when the streak began. He went 0-3 against the Gators during his career.
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Florida’s most famous player during the streak, Tim Tebow, wasn’t even alive when it began. He was born a year after it started, and in the time between wins for Kentucky, he has gone on to win a Heisman, two national championships, and sign a baseball contract with the Mets. Yikes.
Florida’s win streak over Kentucky is the longest in SEC history. It broke the previous mark of 26 straight wins Tennessee had ... over Kentucky.
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It is also the longest active streak over any one team in FBS football against another. The next closest is Texas A&M’s 24-game win streak over TCU, though the teams have not played since 2001.
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That 29-game win streak is the fifth longest in FBS history.
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The good news for UK fans? They’d have to lose 15 more times to Florida to break the all-time record set by Navy, which suffered 43 straight losses to Notre Dame from 1964 to 2006. And who knows? Maybe this is the year it finally ends.