Teams trying to avoid streak talk
Florida, Kentucky talking around the Gators' 25-game series winning streak
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp wouldn't even wait for the question to be finished.
Linebacker Jon Bostic didn't know what to say.
UF's 25-game winning streak over Kentucky -- and the opportunity for No. 26 when the teams meet on Saturday at Florida Field -- is apparently a touchy subject.
It's easy to understand why Phillips and UK's players don't want to talk about the streak. It's the nation's longest current winning streak in FBS by a team over a major opponent in an uninterrupted series. The Wildcats haven't beaten the Gators since 1986 and haven't won in Gainesville since 1979.
They have been outscored 200-31 in the last four meetings, and the Gators have won games 73-7, 65-0 and 63-5 during the streak. UF's margin of victory has been three points or less only once in the 25 games, and that came in 2003 -- when the Gators scored 21 fourth-quarter points in quarterback Chris Leak's first career start to win 24-21.
"In '07, we were close [a 45-37 loss], just couldn't finish, which is one of our good teams that we had around here," Phillips said. "There's not anything that I could put my finger on as to why we haven't (had) a chance. We just haven't."
None of the players on either team were alive the last time Kentucky won in the series. Bostic isn't even able to wrap his head around what it must feel like to be facing the other side of the streak.
"To tell you the truth, I really don't how to answer that," he said. "I don't know."
Safety Josh Evans, however, did have an answer.
"It would suck," he said.
Bostic does know that the Gators (3-0, 2-0 SEC) aren't taking the Wildcats (1-2, 0-0) lightly. That happened last season against Furman, and the Gators struggled for three quarters and flirted with what would have been the most embarrassing loss in program history.
"We can't look at it (as) we've beaten them so many times," Bostic said. "It's a team that is going to line up and try to beat us as well. We can't try to look down on them.
"We're not going to let down just because we've beaten them so many times. They're going to come in here and try to beat us as well. They're an SEC East opponent. They're trying to get back in the running to be on top."
Evans said nobody has even mentioned the streak in meetings or in the locker room. It's almost as if it doesn't even exist.
"I think it's 25 years in a row we've beaten them or whatever, but that statistic is thrown out the room," he said. "It's a new year, and anything's capable of happening in the SEC. We're taking it step by step. We don't look at their bad plays and look at what they need to work on. We look at what we need to work on and what we can do better and how we can win this game."
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease has a unique view of the streak. He was Kentucky's offensive coordinator in 2001 and 2002. The Gators won the first game by 34 points but only won the second by seven.
"Coach (Steve) Spurrier was here and the kids that they had at that time, I remember the three receivers and (Ben Troupe) at tight end and Taylor Jacobs and Reche Caldwell," Pease said. "They had some very talented, talented kids. I don't remember the defensive kids' names specifically, but I know they were big and fast. I know when I was at Kentucky our kids had to go out and compete, and they did. We played well and we got beat in the end. I think (Keiwan) Ratliff intercepted a ball and took one back. We knew at that time we had to be on our game. We couldn't have a lot of mistakes. We had to keep the game close."
There haven't been many close ones since '03, as UF's average margin of victory in the last eight meetings is 29 points.
Muschamp, however, doesn't want to hear that stat, or any other that shows how dominant the Gators have been in the streak. All he did was shake his head when it was brought up and started to answer before the question was even finished.
"None of those wins or losses have anything to do with 12:21 (p.m.) on Saturday," he said. "Zero."
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