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Florida vs. Kentucky, Game Thread: The Streak is on the line

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Florida hasn’t lost to Kentucky in decades. Does that stay true?

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Florida vs Iowa
(Yes, I know the picture is old. It’s not the point.)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last 31 years, when the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats have met on a football field, the Gators have won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won and won.

Florida will try to maintain that streak, the longest active one for one program against an opponent in college football, this Saturday night (7:30 p.m., SEC Network | Watch ESPN | ESPN+) in The Swamp.

The Gators would seem poised to do that. Their dominant win over Charleston Southern last Saturday may have been a chomping of a cupcake, but it was emphatic — something that Florida wins mostly were not under Jim McElwain — and it featured a new and improved Feleipe Franks, who thrived in his first full fall game in Dan Mullen’s scheme.

Kentucky, meanwhile, had to exert itself to pull away from Central Michigan last Saturday — a Central Michigan team that has since gone on to lose to a Kansas team that inaugurated its own 2018 season with a loss to Nicholls State.

For Florida fans, there’s been precious little reason to fear Kentucky over the last three decades — for me, that’s been true for my entire lifetime. Kentucky’s only even gotten within a touchdown of Florida a handful of times over the course of The Streak, and the Wildcats doing so in Gainesville, like they did in a 36-30 overtime loss in 2014, is the exception, not the rule.

Good Kentucky teams have not beaten bad Florida teams. Average and bad Kentucky teams have often been routed by merely decent Florida squads. And so when we talk about this game, we are mostly pretending that this Kentucky team, which looks to have a ceiling of average, could beat this Florida team — because anything is possible in college football, not because there’s any real reason to believe this specific thing is.

Kentucky could beat Florida tonight. Sure, that’s possible. Anything is.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.