Kentucky defensive tackle Corey Peters
says winning a national title would have been nice, but "baby
steps" are what really motivate this team.
The No. 14 Wildcats' national championship hopes were likely
dashed with their loss to Florida Saturday, but several smaller
goals remain alive.
Kentucky's players entered the season talking about making a
bowl game, competing in the Southeastern Conference and even
winning it. The discussion in Lexington about challenging for the
national championship game came much later, after the Wildcats
toppled then-No. 1 LSU.
If the Wildcats were LSU or Florida, Peters says, missing out on
that goal would have been crushing. Kentucky, with a far more
limited history of football success, has humbler objectives.
"I guess we have smaller goals," Peters said. "I guess their
fan base in football is kind of like ours in basketball. If they're
not winning national championships, it's a failure. For us, it's
taking baby steps. SEC first and national championship down the
Although the Wildcats have two losses, so too do Florida,
Georgia and South Carolina, the teams in front of them in the SEC
Win out, and Kentucky could be back in the picture for the SEC
title. Lose Saturday to Mississippi State, and that's probably gone
During his news conference Monday, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks
was asked whether his Wildcats were the "real deal."
"I think we're a team that can compete and can have the
opportunity to beat anybody we play," Brooks said. "If that's the
real deal, maybe we're the real deal."