Cats at Crossroads

The University of Kentucky 2008 football season is both at its midpoint and at a crossroads.

The Wildcats are coming off a debilitating 24-17 loss to South Carolina. They lost their top receiver, Dicky Lyons, Jr., to a knee injury. And they have major issues on offense.

If that wasn’t bad enough, what had looked a likely win against Arkansas is now looking like a potential barnburner. After getting beat in its first three Southeastern Conference games by a combined score of 139-31, Bobby Petrino’s Razorbacks went to Auburn and stunned the previously-ranked Tigers 25-22. The Hogs (3-3, 1-2) are now suddenly back in the picture for bowl eligibility, while the postseason seems less of a certainty for the Wildcats than it did a couple of weeks ago.

The Cats’ second half of the season has gone opposite ways the past two seasons. In 2006, the Cats lost at home to South Carolina, also by a score of 24-17, to fall to 3-3 on the season.

UK went 4-2 on the back stretch that year and beat Clemson in the Music City Bowl to wrap up an 8-5 season.

Kentucky’s first loss of the 2007 season came also came in the sixth game to South Carolina. The Wildcats would beat No. 1 LSU the following week but lost three of its final four regular season games and finished with the same 8-5 record as the year before.

“You’ve got two ways to go,” Brooks said on Sunday. “You can go back to the drawing board and work harder at getting better, or you can give in to frustration and disappointment and screw up the rest of your season. We’ve been in both situations.”

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