Of course, the most obvious example of Kentucky's link to the two new SEC teams was an above-average football coach.
Looking at how well each team knows the conference's newest members
|Kentucky History vs. New SEC Teams|
|First Meeting||Last Meeting||Record vs.|
When it comes to Kentucky's history with Missouri and Texas A&M, there is one thing that's clear: This is just about as new to the Wildcats as anybody else. Just how new has been, at least in one respect, a matter of some debate.
First, the easy one. Texas A&M and Kentucky played a home and home in 1952 and 1953, with the Wildcats winning the 1952 game in College Station on a 10-7 score and the Aggies taking the Lexington edition of the series by a 7-6 score.
The final game must have impressed the Texas A&M brass nonetheless; before the 1954 season, they hired the Kentucky coach, a guy named Paul Bryant, who would suffer his worst season that year (1-9) before rebuilding the program and going on to have some success in College Station and a place called the University of Alabama. (In fact, that 1954 season is the only losing one that Bryant had in his head coaching career.)
Kentucky's history with Missouri is a bit more confusing. Everyone agrees that the Wildcats played the Tigers in 1965, beating them 7-0 in Columbia (MO), and in 1968, winning a 12-6 game in Lexington. But it's a much, much earlier game that brings up an interesting discrepancy in the official versions of each team's history.
According to Missouri's media guide [PDF], the two teams met a third time -- or a first time, really -- in 1904, a brutal 37-6 shellacking in Columbia that would make the Wildcats a still-solid 2-1 against the newcomers. It would also mean that only Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Arkansas have played the Tigers more often than Kentucky.
But there's no account of the game in the Kentucky media guide [PDF]. There is certainly an account of the 1904 Kentucky team, which went 9-1, it's only loss coming against Cincinnati. But there is no record of a trip to Columbia or a game with a 37-6 score.
It appears that Kentucky is right in this particular case. Mark Story explains.
According to The Kentucky Encyclopedia, the school we now call the University of Kentucky was known in 1904 as "State College." That was who was in Cincinnati losing on 10/22/1904.
The same day, Missouri was in fact putting a pounding on "Kentucky University." However, in 1904 the school then called "Kentucky U." is the one we know today as Transylvania University.
That means Alabama has also played Missouri more than Kentucky and the Wildcats are in a tie with Mississippi State and South Carolina for fifth in terms of the number of times each current SEC team has played the Tigers. And Kentucky is 2-0. The real third game between the two teams will take place Oct. 27 in Columbia.
So both teams are relatively new to Kentucky. And Kentucky -- at least the right one -- is new enough to Missouri officials to require a rewrite of the school's media guide.