Yesterday, you might have seen that I had a chance to hit a hole in one for a million dollars and I was quite nervous. If the contest had been to hit it in the woods for a million dollars, I wouldn’t be writing this post and instead would be booking my flight to the Bahamas. But alas, the reaction above perfectly describes my feelings. I have an even greater respect for the pro and college athletes who have to play in front of thousands. I probably hit that ball in front of 200 people and my legs were weak. But I’ll own up. It was a choke. Not the worst choke of the day, but a choke nonetheless.
So let’s flip this over to UK world. What are our biggest chokes in the last 30 years? Just from memory, I jotted down quite a few from the basketball and football world. What am I missing and which one stung the worst?
2019: Tennessee 17, Kentucky 13
Kentucky led 13-0 after 1 quarter and never scored again. Despite that, they drove to the Tennessee 6 with under 3 minutes, got to 3rd and goal from the 1 and then were unable to punch it in, leading to another in a long series of choking losses against UT.
2009: Tennessee 30, Kentucky 24 (ot)
Randall Cobb never touches the ball in overtime. Morgan Newton throws two passes instead. Enough said.
2007: Tennessee 52, Kentucky 50 (4ot)
Lonas Seiber has a field goal blocked in the 2nd overtime for the win.
2019: Florida 29, Kentucky 21
Cats outscored 19-0 in the fourth quarter.
2017: Florida 28, Kentucky 27
Cats decide 10 players in enough on defense. Multiple times.
2003: Florida 24, Kentucky 21
UK blows 21-3 lead and Lorenzen throws one of the worst interceptions in school history.
1993: Florida 24, Kentucky 20
Chris Doering. And maybe the worst defensive execution we’ve ever seen. At least with 11 guys on the field.
OTHER FOOTBALL HEARTBREAKS
2002: LSU 33, Kentucky 30
1993: Clemson 14, Kentucky 13
Poor Marty Moore.
JOHN CALIPARI SUB-CATEGORY
2015: Wisconsin 71, Kentucky 64
It’s not just that UK threw away a 38-0 season, it is that they had the game in hand with under 4 minutes to go. So it was a double choke. Choked away history. And choked away the game the choked away history. Might have been significantly easier if Wisconsin had just blown our doors off.
2019: Auburn 77, Kentucky 71
2018: Kansas State 61, Kentucky 58
2010: West Virginia 73, Kentucky 66
A three pack of NCAA chokes in the past decade.
TUBBY SMITH SUB-CATEGORY
2003: Marquette 83, Kentucky 69
2004: UAB 76, Kentucky 75
These back to back NCAA Tournament losses really could have completely changed Tubby’s career at Kentucky. Make the Final Four either of these years and he probably could retire at UK. But those losses, followed by another Elite 8 loss in 2005 led to a quick exit just a couple years after.
BILLY CLYDE SUB-CATEGORY
2007: Gardner Webb 84, Kentucky 68
2007: San Diego 81, Kentucky 72
2008: VMI 111, Kentucky 103
Those 3 scores man. Whew, that was a bad era.