Georgia On My Mind

For the University of Kentucky football Wildcats, last Saturday (Oct. 27) was an off day. Off as in not playing, not off as in not playing well.

The Cats needed the time - to lick their wounds and wounded, and also to refresh and refocus.

That's the good news.

Ironically, that there was no game last Saturday is also the bad news. No chance at new blood for players to wash the bad taste of the Georgia game from their maws. No chance at redemption.

Only more time, too much time which ticks - no, trickles - down incredibly unhurriedly after any loss, especially one before an open weekend.

More time for wondering. For what ifs, for why nots. More time for coulda/shoulda/wouldas.

In other words, dangerous time(s).

Losing prior to an off week has been status quo for Wildcats for five consecutive years now. Four of those pre-off-week defeats have been at the hands (or, to be anatomically correct: paws) of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Kentucky fans no longer think of Georgia as UGA, but as U-G-H, as in ugh, as in %*#@, as in why in the world can't we beat these guys? (Streak: 5 straight L's.)

1997, at Georgia, Georgia ranked 16. Frustrating thing: instead of going into the locker room tied at seven, Kentucky tries to pass with one minute left in the first half. Tim Couch's ball is tipped at the line, and Georgia intercepts and takes it in for a TD. Other frustrating thing: Kentucky out-gained Georgia 436-275. Score: 23-13.

1998, at Kentucky, Georgia ranked 11. Frustrating thing: instead of kicking a field goal from the one-yard-line on fourth down in the first half when it was up 10-0, Kentucky tries a naked boot leg, and Couch is sacked. Other frustrating thing: snap and hold are bad, and the game-winning field goal attempt (which wouldn't have mattered if Kentucky would have kicked in the first half) never gets off the ground. Score: 28-26. P.S. Kentucky out-gains Georgia 533-332.

1999, at Georgia, Georgia ranked 14. Frustrating thing: Kentucky immediately falls behind 14-0 after a blocked punt on the first series and a failed 4th-and-12 attempt (from their own 18) on the second series. Other frustrating thing: Georgia, which only had 12 sacks in its previous 6 games, has 11 that day on Dusty Bonner. Score: 49-34.

2000, at Kentucky, Georgia ranked 12. Frustrating thing: Kentucky jumps to a 13-0 lead. Other frustrating thing: Georgia backup QB Cory Phillips tosses for 400 yards, offsetting Jared Lorenzen's 528 passing yards (and numerous records) and UK's 620 yards against the defense ranked eighth in the conference and tops in the SEC. Score: 34-30

2001, at Georgia, Georgia ranked 17. Frustrating thing: Kentucky races to a 22-7 lead. Other frustrating thing: Kentucky turns over the ball twice in the fourth quarter, including a fumble on Georgia's one-yard-line. Score: 43-29.

What all this means is that for the most part of most of the games over the past five years, Kentucky has been better than Georgia. But that's not at all comforting; rather, that's frustrating - because each time, although the Cats seem to have it in the bag, the Dawgs still have their day.

And also, it's mysterious two-fold. What makes Kentucky consistently play so well, so close against Georgia but not against the other beasts of the SEC East, Florida and Tennessee?

For the solution to the conundrum, one may turn to either one of two great pillars of American culture: Bob Dylan, who said, "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind," or the voice on the Tootsie Pop commercial, who (which) said, "The world may never know."

That is, there's no good explanation. At least, one's not known here.

But what I do know is that, with the exception of the South Carolina game, Kentucky has improved with each week. The Cats should - note that - should defeat Mississippi State this Saturday in Starkeville. And Kentucky will beat Vandy at Vandy in two weeks. And then there's Tennessee, which can be beaten by the Cats in Lexington. Top the year off Dec. 1, at Indiana, and coach Morriss' Cats could close, realistically, at 5-6, same count as coach Mumme's first season.

Hello. The Cats are a better team than their record has shown and than most folks realize.

So, I probably shouldn't have even brought up a thing of the past like that whole why-can't-Kentucky-beat-Georgia-deal. I'm sorry.

But with the Cats off last weekend, I had time, too much time.

Time for wondering.


Renowned album cover artist Howard Finster passed away last week at 84. A native of Athens, Georgia, Finster became a preacher at the age of 16. He abandoned preaching in 1976 after receiving a vision which he interpreted to be a message from God to create "sacred art."

Employing a style that was spontaneous and unrefined, Finster's paintings quickly developed a cult following. Entirely self taught, Finster became the most noted member of the "outsider art" movement. His work is best known for appearing on the album covers of the Talking Heads' Little Creatures and R.E.M.'s Reckoning. Finster later released his own records in the mid-90s. His music, based in traditional folk and incorporating pieces of Finster's sermons, was closely tied to his paintings and beloved among his audience. -Danny Tenkman

Go, Gatewood, Go

There's never any lack of Gatewood gossip circulating the Lexvegas sociopolitical loop. And now an unofficial/official new/not-new tidbit: Gatewood Galbraith, perennial candidate, MIGHT BE at it again. Last week, Galbraith released a statement enigmatically implying his possible participation in the 2002 race for Lexington-Fayette County Mayor, but stated that he was not officially entering in light of the current political climate stemming from September 11. His final decision will come in mid-December. Always a man of the people, Galbraith welcomes any commentary on current events ruffling the feathers of cantankerous citizens to be voiced on his internet opinion forum at -Martha Mullholland

And the real winners are
everyone who quit!

Six Kentucky tobacco users quit and won cash and prizes by participating in the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department sponsored "Bluegrass Quit and Win" contest. The cash prize of $2,500 for first place and five runners up prizes of $500 were donated by Lexington Health United. Every "pack a day" smoker who quits can expect to save over $1000 a year - not to mention the money saved on trips to the doctor because of smoking related health problems. "Overcoming tobacco addiction is one of the most difficult things a person can do. These people earned every penny," said Todd Warnick, Director of the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program at the health department. -Joshu Goebeler