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Dr. Saturday

Doc 5: College football teams that could learn from their Sweet 16 counterparts -- No. 2 Kentucky

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.



There are few collegiate basketball programs that have the pedigree of Kentucky. It has the most all-time wins and the highest winning percentage of any collegiate basketball program. It also boasts the most NCAA tournament appearances, the most tournament wins and sits just behind UCLA in national championships.

Kentucky is also home to one of the most dismal football programs in the country.

Having these two teams co-exist in Lexington can’t be easy for football coach Mark Stoops, who is definitely in the shadow of basketball coach John Calipari and his consistently highly-ranked team.

Kentucky is a basketball school and might always be a basketball school regardless of any progress the football team makes. But making progress is still something for which Kentucky’s small football fan base is hoping.

Kentucky football hasn’t had a winning season since 2009. It hasn’t won more than eight games since 1984 and it’s only won eight games twice in that 30-year span. It’s best and only double-digit win season came in 1977 when the Wildcats went 10-1.

There’s no history to draw on and no good feelings to conjure up. The Wildcats have won four games in the past two years while the basketball team has surged time and time again.

It’s easy to think there’s nothing the football team could learn from this year’s basketball team. After all, Kentucky is the school known for recruiting freshman phenoms and then shipping them off to the NBA. Kentucky football is still working on bringing in that kind of talent.

Still, one thing that has helped Kentucky get to the Sweet 16 — beyond the talent — is getting up for big games.

Kentucky basketball played its best game in the third round against undefeated Wichita State — a game that had them 4.5-point underdogs. For all its talent, Kentucky learned some hard lessons during the season and it resulted in bad losses to the likes of Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina. It learned that it had to show up every week if it wanted to be successful and it couldn’t rely on talent alone.

So what does that have to do with the football team? Well, the football Wildcats aren’t strutting onto the field relying solely on talent, but they also aren’t believing they can win every game they play. In some ways, Kentucky basketball is just as much a giant to slay as any of the SEC programs the team faces and knowing you can compete with those teams is half the battle.

Kentucky football is heading in the right direction. It had the No. 17-rated recruiting class last season and No. 29 the year before. The wins will come, Stoops just has to find motivation and believe to get his guys to realize they didn’t always have to play second fiddle to its basketball brethren.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter

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