Mike White's only 59 games into his career at Florida, but Saturday night was witness to the biggest win -- by a freaking mile -- of his career with the Gators.

Florida announced its legitimacy on a national level by punting No. 8 Kentucky back to Lexington, the 24th-ranked Gators winning 88-66 and continuing a winning streak that's turned into one of the most dominant four-game conference stretches we've seen from any team this season.

With wins at LSU and Oklahoma, plus a killing of Missouri at home earlier in the week, you combine those three with the Kentucky beatdown, and Florida's won its past four games by an average of 32 points. Uh, yeah, that's abnormal. The Gators are now 18-5 overall with an 8-2 record in the SEC.

They might win the conference which, if it happened, would be a year, two, maybe even three ahead of schedule.

It's funny how things can change, perspectives can twist on us throughout a season. It wasn't even a month ago that I was lamenting the weakness of the SEC and Kentucky's inevitable sleepwalk through the conference. And now, Kentucky doesn't even look like the league's best. Florida put on a real show and played like it would've defeated anybody -- except maybe Oregon -- it played on Saturday.

White's one of the really talented, hard-working, do-it-right coaches in the sport. He guided Florida to a completely acceptable 21-15 finish last season, which included a trip to the NIT. Now the Gators are not only headed to the NCAAs because of this Kentucky win, but Florida fans can dream a little bigger than that.

Mike White and the Gators will absolutely be in the NCAA tourney. USATSI

The Gators' D was awesome, and I didn't think it would be possible to see the third-ranked offense in the country (that's what Kentucky was entering the night) be so stifled. It had been years since UK looked that out of sorts. It's not just that Kentucky was bad from the field -- Florida forced UK into some weird shots, and the way KeVaughn Allen, Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza clicked? It made a lot of people take notice.

We've long been used to seeing Florida be good. For the previous two seasons, neither of which included the team making it to Selection Sunday, the Gators drifted a bit.

Saturday night could be the return. This might last a month -- or maybe this goes down as the game that kick-started the Mike White era, and who knows, maybe Florida's destined to make the next five NCAA tourneys because UF athletic director Jeremy Foley, again, picked the right guy.

Listen, how good is Florida? I'm not saying they're Final Four-good or anything grandiose, but now they're certainly a team worth paying attention to as we float into February. The broad takeaway is that it was no easy task to replace Billy Donovan. He was a two-decade guy there, and he changed what it meant to be Florida's basketball coach. When he left, the difficulty of that job -- where it stood in the greater environment of college basketball -- was unknown. But you win by 22 over a top-10 Kentucky team? Not even Donovan pulled that off.

Florida will never own this conference in basketball, but Gator fans can now, for the first time under White, at least start talking about how they'll have a chance at boxing with the Wildcats for league supremacy.