Death, taxes and beating Kentucky

The year was 1986.

Galen Hall’s Gators’ started the season with a win at home against an overmatched Georgia Southern team before losing to Miami, Alabama, Mississippi State and LSU to fall to 1-4 on the season. They may not have been very good but Hall’s Gators showed fight winning their next four games to move to 5-4 before heading up to Lexington to take on the Wildcats of Kentucky.

That’s when — for someone my age — the unthinkable happened. Florida lost to Kentucky, 10-3 in Commonwealth Stadium.

The year was 1986.

A gallon of gas cost just 89 cents, which sounds even more unbelievable now than a loss to Kentucky in football. President Ronald Regan was embroiled in a scandal involving his administration selling arms to Iran and Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in the world, back when being the heavyweight champion of the world meant something.

The year was 1986.

Out of Africa won the Oscar for best best picture, while Tom Cruise had men across America calling their buddies Goose and Maverick. By the way, the average price for a ticket to go see Top Gun or Platoon in theaters was $3.71. Can you even get a water bottle for that price at the movie theater these days?

The year was 1986.

Aerosmith and Run DMC blended the worlds of hip-hop and rock with a new rendition of “Walk This Way” and Boston’s “Amanda” was topping the charts the week that Florida last lost to Kentucky. The Swedish band Europe released a song called “The Final Countdown” that is still played at sporting events and in the show “Arrested Development.”  Today we have a group of DJ’s called Swedish House Mafia and music called dubstep.

If you’re keeping score at home:

1986 – 1

2013 – 0

The year was 1986.

Bill Cosby’s “The Cosby Show” brought a very successful African American family onto television and into living rooms across America. Cheers, Family Ties, Growing Pains, Murder She Wrote and the Golden Girls were also on TV. Today, shows like Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty rule the ratings.

You win 1986. You win.

The Internet was in its’ infant stages, as was two-year old creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. If you heard the words face and book in the same sentence, it was probably your parents telling you to get off of your SEGA Master System and study for school.

The year was 1986.

My parents were just beginning their lives together after both graduated from the University of Florida and I wasn’t even a thought that crossed their mind, not even a glimmer in their eye. In fact, no player on either Kentucky or Florida’s roster was alive in 1986. No, not even Jeremy Brown, who has been rumored to have been on the team when Spurrier was throwing passes.

The year was 1986 and the University of Florida lost to the University of Kentucky on the football field. Since the loss, the Gators have ripped off 26-consecutive victories in the series – the longest active winning streak over one opponent in college football. Back in 1986, Will Muschamp was a 15-year old at Oak Hall School in Gainesville and Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was a freshman defensive back at Iowa.

Internally, the Gators have tried to downplay the streak. The team doesn’t bring it up; they don’t want or need the pressure of 26 straight years of victory potentially crashing down on their heads. Nobody wants to be on the team that lost to Kentucky for the first time in more than two decades.

The year is 2013.

It is the eve of Florida’s bi-annual trip to Lexington, Kentucky. Strapped to their back is the weight of 26 consecutive wins and the pressure to make it 27. Florida is a double-digit road favorite and if they play their game should be able to continue the streak.

In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” If good ‘ole Ben Franklin was around in 2013, he might amend that to include a win over Kentucky.

And that’s a bad joke that Florida fans would love to repeat on Sunday morning.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. A VERY enjoyable read! I was a lawyer in my third year of practice. This year I celebrated my 30th year practicing law. Amazing what reading a sports article will make you think about. Where were you the last time the unthikable happened…a loss to the pussy cats!