Kentucky trying to turn back the clock to 1984 vs. Volunteers

Tennessee Volunteers

Ronald Reagan had just won a second term as president in an historic, landslide manner.

The Berlin Wall was years away from being torn down and crumbled into a heap.

A gallon of gas was around a buck-twenty, and a dozen eggs would set you back another dollar.

Loaf of bread? Couple quarters.

The point in this history lesson? All those data points matter this week because 1984, November 24 of that year, to be precise, is the last time the Kentucky Wildcats won a football game in Neyland Stadium.

In 24 hours, the 12th-ranked Wildcats are favored to do so once again.

Here’s why that isn’t going to happen:

In Tennessee’s historically putrid start to the 1988 season, when an 0-for-six skid marked the season’s opening two months, the Vols still found a way to beat a Kentucky squad that already had knocked off 11th-ranked Georgia that season and needed to beat the Vols to punch a bowl berth.

Kentucky led for much of that afternoon, but the Vols found a way to steal a 28-24 triumph that ultimately ensured decades of Big Blue ‘Wait Til Basketball Season’ chants.

It had to be hoops refrains, because the Wildcats since then have squandered every single chance to beat the Vols in Knoxville.

Even current Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney owns a career undefeated record as the head coach at Tennessee, for the method in which Chaney’s one-game Vols of 2012 absolutely eviscerated the hapless Cats on the heels of Tennessee’s firing of Derek Dooley.

Kentucky isn’t going to win this game, either.

Homefield advantage still matters, and Tennessee is still attempting to steady itself enough to find a first-season bowl berth for new coach Jeremy Pruitt. For all the Vols’ struggles this season, and there are too many to enumerate them in this particular offering, Tennessee is not prone to back-to-back poor performances with Pruitt & Co.

Instead, the Vols usually bounce back. They built off a galling home loss to Florida and a more competitive, but nonetheless no-doubt defeat at Georgia by upending an Auburn team that suddenly finds itself back inside the College Football Playoff rankings’ Top 25.

After just getting thrashed by Alabama, Tennessee regrouped and commanded a 12-point lead at South Carolina before it unraveled late in the game. Losing at the Gamecocks, in Year 1, even to erstwhile nemesis Will Muschamp, isn’t particularly crippling to Tennessee. It’s easy to forecast that 2019 game inside Neyland Stadium as very winnable.

This game, right here, right now, also is very winnable for Tennessee. The Wildcats are defensively impressive this season, but licking their wounds a good bit after last week’s revealing setback at home against Georgia, during which the Bulldogs’ offense oftentimes seemed to be toying with Kentucky.

Now, Tennessee’s offense isn’t remotely good enough to toy with anyone; we know this for many reasons, most recently including a putrid one-touchdown output against Charlotte.

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