&..."/> &..."/>

Kentucky Wildcats Football: Kyle's 2011 Season Prediction


The 2011 season will kick off this week and before I dive into the Western Kentucky pre-game coverage, I thought I would take one last look at the 2011 season as a whole and where I believe the Cats will end up.

September 1 – Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
This game has me a little worried. I know that Kentucky’s talent exceeds Western’s pretty much across the board, but this will be a unique game for the Cats. They’ll be playing very late (9:30 PM) on a Thursday in what amounts to a road game. Western’s fanbase will likely come out in droves and this contest should be the highlight of their season. All that considered, UK is just too talented to lose to WKU and I think the cats win in a rout.
UK 49 – WKU 14

September 10 – Central Michigan Chippewas
While the MAC schools seem to be the favorite whipping boys of the BCS conferences, Kentucky has had more trouble with them than most fans would like to admit. Remember Ohio knocking off the Cats a few years back? No game is ever a guarantee. Still, Kentucky should be way too dominant at every position for Central Michigan to put up a real fight and the Cats are likely to be amped for their first home game of 2011.
UK 56 – CMU 3

September 17 – Louisville Cardinals
The Louisville contest seems to always be a close on and the Cardinals have put up a real fight in the last three years despite being overmatched. I honestly believe that this will be the year where Louisville finally feels the impact of Kragthorpe’s recruiting inadequacies and the Cardinals will struggle to reach .500 this season. They lost 25 seniors from last season’s team and while most of the guys they lost were not world-beaters, it’s always going to be tough to replace that much experience. Louisville will make it closer than it should be, but poor overall team depth, youth and inexperience throughout the depth chart, and a patch-work offensive line will keep the Cardinals from really challenging the Cats.
UK 31 – UL 17

September 24 – Florida Gators
Most Kentucky fans are accustomed to Florida giving the Cats an annual beat down, but this isn’t the Florida team of the past two decades. The Gators are going through some serious turmoil down in Gainesville and will be working under new coaches, in new schemes, with a ton of new players. Kentucky will get the Gators in Commonwealth, in their first away game of the season and a week after the Gators play a scrappy Tennessee squad. I don’t think Kentucky will win this game as much as I think the Gators will loose it. The road-atmosphere will be too much for the young Florida team, and Kentucky will rely on their big offensive line to open holes and give Newton time to pick apart the inexperienced Florida defensive backs. Self imposed mistakes and turnovers will cost the Gators in the end.
UK 24 – UF 21

October 1 – Louisiana State Tigers
Well, I actually thought LSU had a great chance to win the national championship this season, but now half the roster is going to be lucky to stay out of jail. I no longer think LSU will be in the BCS bowl picture, but I still think that an away game in Death Valley is more than this Kentucky team can handle. The Tigers could lose half the roster and still have backups as talented as a lot of Kentucky’s starters and their coach always seems to make some bone-headed call that ends up somehow miraculously working. I’ve made the score a little closer than I did pre-brawl, but I still think the tigers take down the Cats.
LSU 27 – UK 20

October 8 – South Carolina Gamecocks
After knocking off the top-10 rated Gamecocks last year in Commonwealth, the wildcats will be traveling to Columbia this season. The talent level on roster is really just absurd for a team like the Gamecocks and they have possibly 10 future NFL first-round picks at various positions. Kentucky will still play South Carolina closer than they’re really comfortable with after gaining some needed confidence with last season’s win, but the 2011 Gamecocks will be one of (if not THE) best teams the Palmetto state has ever seen.
USC 24 – UK 21

October 22 – Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Kentucky will take on Jacksonville State after their bye week and that should help keep the Gamecocks from sneaking up on the Cats the way they did Ole Miss last year. While most Kentucky fans were hoping to never see Washaun Ealey again after his career game against the Wildcats last season as a Georgia Bulldog, his transfer to Jacksonville State put him on the schedule again this year. Ealey isn’t going to be as scary this season though, as he won’t have the Georgia offensive line blocking for him, and he won’t have the Georgia defense to keep the Kentucky offense in a stalemate. Kentucky should route Jacksonville State this year.
UK 51 – JSU 17

October 29 – Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs are one of the chic picks to surprise people this year and are coming off of a 9-4 season that saw them completely dismantle Michigan in the Gator Bowl by a score of 52-14. They will try to build on that momentum in 2011 and climb the ladder in the SEC West this year, and a win over Kentucky would be essential to any hope they have at a BCSMSU for two straight years and will need their defense to stop the running game and force Bulldog QB Chris Relf to beat them if the Wildcats hope to win. The game is in commonwealth Stadium, so I think Kentucky will pull off a mild upset in an epic contest.
UK 38 – MSU 35 in 2OT

November 5 – Mississippi Rebels
In what had to be the worst loss of 2010, Kentucky dropped the game against the Rebels due to sloppy play and turnovers. This year the Cats will get Ole Miss at home and should be out for blood in this game. If the Wildcats lose a game or two that I’ve picked them to win, a victory over the Rebels might be paramount to any post season hopes the Cats have. While Ole Miss has seen its roster depleted, there is still enough talent to give a couple of teams some trouble and they could be playing for Houston Nutt’s job by November. I still think the Cats overtake the Rebels this season, but I think it will be closer than it should be.
UK 24 – MISS 16

November 12 – Vanderbilt Commodores
Vandy and Kentucky have a historical rivalry for who will finish as the bottom dweller in the SEC East. A win against Vanderbilt is almost always necessary for Kentucky to have any hopes of a bowl game and beating the Commodores might be difficult in the near future if Vanderbilt can reel in the recruiting class they have assembled so far. The talent level on the current roster is really low though and Coach Franklin will head into the 2011 season with very little to work with. I think Kentucky knocks off Vanderbilt relatively easily in Nashville.
UK 29 – VU 10

November 19 – Georgia Bulldogs
If the Kentucky staff keeps recruiting the state of Georgia the way they have the past two years, this game might become even more heated than it has been in the past. The Wildcats will have nearly a third of their scholarship players on the 2
011 roster coming from the state of Georgia and you can bet that they’ll be ready to show the team that overlooked them what they missed out on. The Bulldog’s roster is deep though, and while they aren’t anywhere near the dominant teams Georgia has had in previous years, they will still be a tough opponent for anyone they face. The Cats will make this a close one, but I think taking down the Bulldogs in Athens will be too tall of a task for Kentucky this year.
UGA 31 – UK 27

November 26 – Tennessee Volunteers
It’s hard to talk about Kentucky playing Tennessee without bringing up the fact that Kentucky has managed to lose to the Volunteers annually since 1986. The Vols have fallen on some hard times as of late and the Wildcats have still found a way to lose despite having equal or arguably more talent on their team on any given year. This season the Volunteers will be doing some rebuilding again to try and repair the cluster-you-know-what Lane Kiffin left behind and Kentucky should have a great chance to beat them again. Even though the game is in Lexington this year, I still cannot pick Kentucky to win this one until they actually do it. A lifetime (literally) of watching the Cats get close only to shoot themselves in the foot must have finally caught up to me.
UT 29 – UK 27

I’ve got Kentucky beating Michigan State in the Gator Bowl.

So this puts the Cats at 9-4 on the season, third place in the SEC east behind South Carolina and Georgia, gives us wins over a rival in Louisville, breaks a two decade+ losing streak (Florida), and sends the Wildcats to their sixth straight bowl game. I know that I might be spinning some things a little too positively for some of our readers’ tastes, but the closer to kickoff we get, the more optimistic I get about this campaign.

Keep following www.http://wildcatbluenation.com for the best in Kentucky basketball and football news, rumors, and opinions. By Kentucky fans for Kentucky fans