Tonight your Kentucky football Wildcats will face off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at 7PM EST. Hopefully you are able to be there to cheer your team on. If you have other responsibilities, that’s understandable. If you are “boycotting” or abstaining from Kentucky football for some misguided reason, that’s fine too, it’s apparently not your team. Enjoy rooting for whomever you actually like.
Tonight is an important game for the Wildcats. The Hilltoppers are coming to Lexington thinking tht they are going to win this football game. Some media types are agreeing with them. A recent email surfaced stating that UK fans should want WKU to win so that they can get their way and have a new coach. Las Vegas has set the line at 5.5 in favor of UK, which isn’t exactly confidence. They are all wrong.
Kentucky is going to win this game tonight. They are simply more talented than Western Kentucky, they have better football players than the Hilltoppers do. Those football players are mad. Mad that Western kept it too close last year. Mad that WKU LB Andrew Jackson had the nerve to yell “Dey ‘sposed be SEC!” directly into an ESPN camera. Mad that a Sun Belt school is coming to Lexington with confidence. And certainly mad that people, some of their own fans, want them to lose. Make no mistake, a loss tonight would cost Joker Phillips his job. The players know that too and those players will play for their coach. They love the man.
This is basically the same WKU team Kentucky beat 14-3 in Nashville last season. A game in which the ‘Toppers played aggressively and played fundamental football. They lost their best player in RB Bobby Rainey and added Florida cast-off Jonathan Dowling who will line up in the defensive backfield. QB Kawaun Jakes looks improved statistically, but most of his numbers came against FCS Austin Peay. Antonio Andrews is still dangerous and Jackson is a good linebacker. But this team isn’t a matchup for Kentucky barring a drastic meltdown involving multiple turnovers.
Kentucky’s defense has looked porous through two weeks. But Western’s offense has been turnover-prone through the same time frame. The Cats have looked solid on special teams. Andrews is a dangerous return man. But the real key here is Kentucky’s new high speed offense. The Wildcats have been running plays at a pace that rivals Oregon this season and the result is two-fold; 1.) It prevents the defense from substituting different packages in response to the offense, down & distance, etc. 2) A long drive can wear the defense out. This is especially key, because not only does WKU lack the talent that Kentucky has, but they certainly lack quality depth compared to the Wildcats. If the offense can have sustained drives, they should be able to score at will by half-time.
So come on out to Commonwealth Stadium tonight and watch your Wildcats put Western in their place. Or for any other reason to come watch. You can complain if things go wrong, (a Kentucky past time) just as long as you cheer when they go right.