Kentucky Wildcats Football: 2012 Game Previews and Predictions

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September 22nd: Kentucky Wildcats at (#23) Florida Gators

Florida 2011 record- 7-6, 3-5 in the SEC, 0-5 against the top 25. Won the Gator Bowl against Ohio State.

Preview: Last year was an utter failure for the Florida Gators in the minds of their fans. For the first time in recent memory, the powerhouse was below .500 in SEC play and limped into a bowl game. Not to mention the fact that they went 0-5 against the top 25. Will Muschamp is on a tight leash this season, and things aren’t getting any easier. Although John Brantley failed to live up to the hype and faltered often, he was the starter and he is now gone. His back ups, sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel, were even worse than Brantley and now serve as the guys likely to split starts. Lightning fast running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are gone to the NFL and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is in Kansas trying to steer the Jayhawks back on the right path. It may be another down year in the Swamp, and that could mean Will Muschamp’s tenure is all but finished.

Prediction- Despite the fact that Florida was down, they still blitzed the ‘Cats in Commonwealth 48-10. Kentucky had no answer for Demps and Rainey. Florida will still have a great defensive speed and that will give Kentucky problems. No matter how good Kentucky is or how bad Florida is, the Wildcats always struggle in the Swamp. I expect no less this season. Gators win 38-10.

September 29th: Kentucky Wildcats vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina 2011 record- 11-2, 6-2 in the SEC, 2-1 against the top 25. Won the Capital One Bowl against Nebraska.

Preview: The tumultuous Stephen Garcia era is finally over in Columbia, paving the way for junior Connor Shaw. Shaw showed that he can play by amassing 1448 yards passing, 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions mostly all against SEC teams. Elite wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is gone but elite running back Marcus Lattimore is back from injury and should be 100%. Lattimore rushed for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns in only seven games last season. You read that right: almost 1,000 yards and he didn’t even play every game. USC lost a lot on defense but still return defensive stud Jadeveon Clowney.

Prediction- Connor Shaw saw his first start last season against Kentucky and he torched the Wildcats. He went 26-39 for 311 and four touchdowns. The entire South Carolina team embarrassed the Wildcats in one of the worst losses I have ever witnessed. Kentucky was uninspired in the 54-3 beat down. The game is in Lexington this season, where the ‘Cats always seem to play South Carolina tough. As a matter of fact, the last time Spurrier visited he and his visor left with a big L. That being said, I don’t think the ‘Cats have the horses to truly compete in this one. Gamecocks win 28-14.

October 6th: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State 2011 record- 7-6, 2-6 in the SEC, 0-4 against the top 25. Won the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl against Wake Forrest.

Preview: Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs were viewed as a dark horse pick in the SEC West but fell flat. The traditional powers of LSU, Arkansas and Alabama were not to be denied and the upstart Bulldogs were put back in their place. MSU is tasked with replacing stud running back Vick Ballard. Quarterback Chris Relf is also gone, but he much of his playing time diminished last season in favor of Tyler Russell. The Bulldogs are also embroiled in some NCAA issues as reports are leaking out that recruits and players were given gifts, one being a car, under Mullen’s tenure.

Prediction- This season could be a disaster for the Bulldogs as Mullen is under fire and their best player in now in the NFL. There are questions swirling around Starkville and by the time their game comes against the Wildcats, there may be some big shake ups on the team. Kentucky’s season often hinges on a victory against the Bulldogs. After two straight losses, the ‘Cats will right the ship and win 24-17 against the Bulldogs.