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Ryan Clark: UK season can still be a dream — but team must be a goldfish

“Be a goldfish.”

Now, if you’ve watched the television show Ted Lasso, and you should because it’s only the best thing on TV, you understand that quote.

For those who have not been watching, let me explain. Ted Lasso is the coach of a soccer team, and after a particularly heartbreaking loss, he asks a star player this question:

Which is the happiest animal in the world?

The answer: A goldfish, because it has a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish, Lasso says.

Forget about it.

Ryan Clark has been writing sports stories and books for 20 years. After graduating from Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky, he went on to write for The Clarion-Ledger, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Kentucky Sports Radio, WCPO.com, Saturday Down South and ESPN.com, among others. He’s covered Kentucky Wildcats basketball, Ohio State football and the Cincinnati Bengals for various outlets. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including the local bestseller 100 Things Wildcats Fans Must Know & Do Before They Die.

Kentucky’s players have said all the right things after their 30-13 loss to No. 1 Georgia last weekend.

One of the things I’ve heard the most is that there are no moral victories anymore, and I would agree. Kentucky should not be satisfied with its performance in Athens. It does not make anyone happy that the Cats hung with the Bulldogs for a half.

But there was a lot to be proud of, and that shouldn’t be ignored, either. One wonders how the game could’ve been different if Kentucky could’ve caught a break here or there. Yet the season moves on, and the Cats find themselves at a crossroads.

Incredibly, Kentucky is 6-1 and ranked No. 15 in the nation. They will be favored in each of their remaining five football games. While they may not have won the SEC East, they can still finish the regular season 11-1, which would be the team’s best record in decades. It would also land them in a coveted major bowl, like the Peach, Sugar or Fiesta.

I’m amazed just typing those words. The important thing now is to keep focus. Mississippi State has been a regular thorn in Kentucky’s side, and in order to keep the season rolling, UK must travel to Starkville and get a win.

Then they must do the same against Tennessee in Lexington. Two easier – but never guaranteed – contests follow against Vanderbilt and New Mexico State before the Cats end the season by traveling to Louisville.

How much will the Cards want to derail a Kentucky season — one where the Cats could be in the top 10 and staring at the possibility of the biggest bowl game of our lifetimes? And Louisville could also be playing for the right to go to a bowl game.

But, again, in order to keep that setup, Kentucky must keep their end of the bargain. And that starts by keeping their eyes on the prize.

Coaches say that you must make sure one loss does not turn into two or three losses. Essentially, it means that when you lose a big game, you must put it behind you quickly, so you don’t carry that disappointment into any other contests.

Forget about it. Move on. Remember that a loss against the best team in the land does not define you or your season. The possibility of a dream year is still here for the taking.

You just have to be a goldfish. 

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