Kentucky Wildcats Football: 2012 Game Previews and Predictions

4 of 5

October 13th: Kentucky Wildcats at (#10) Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas 2011 record- 11-2, 6-2 in the SEC, 4-2 against the top 25. Won the AT&T Cotton Bowl against Kansas State.

Preview: Put Arkansas in any other conference in the country last season and they would have been in the national title game. The Razorbacks only stumbled twice all season against LSU and Alabama, the two teams that played in the BCS title game. The Razorbacks return Tyler Wilson, who many think is the best quarterback prospect in the country not named Matt Barkley. Arkansas did lose their dynamic duo at the receiver position, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams, to the NFL. But don’t let that fool you; the Razorbacks have plenty of fire power. The big question mark has nothing to do with the players, it all comes down to coaching. Bobby Petrino showed his true colors again and was fired. John L. Smith takes the reigns and is embroiled in off the field trouble as well as he is filing for bankruptcy. There is a plethora of talented players in Fayetteville, but if Smith can’t coach them up, expect his stay to be short lived.

Prediction- Kentucky has had epic battles with Arkansas in the past and I expect this contest to be the same. I’m not sold on John L. Smith as a head coach. He had success in the weak CUSA at Louisville but failed in the Big 10 at Michigan State. He is back coaching Big Boy football and it may be his last chance. I pick this as the big shocking upset for the Wildcats this season. Wildcats 35-32 in overtime.

October 20th: Kentucky Wildcats vs. (#6) Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia 2011 record– 10-4, 7-1 in the SEC, 2-4 against the top 25. Lost the Outback Bowl against Michigan State.

Preview: The Bulldogs stumbled out of the gate to an 0-2 start after losing to Boise State and South Carolina in consecutive weeks. After that, they went 10-0 and lost to LSU in the SEC title game as well as falling to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. Aaron Murray has improved every season thus far and is poised to break out his junior year. He may be an NFL draft pick or the Heisman favorite next season if he performs to his potential. The Bulldogs will have to find a running back to fill Isaiah Crowell’s cleats as he was dismissed from the team. They are stacked on defense and this may be Mark Richt’s best chance to win the SEC since Matthew Stafford and Knoshawn Moreno wore the red and black.

Prediction- I’m not sure what it is about Georgia, but Kentucky always plays them hard. Last season the Wildcats went into Athens after being punked by Vanderbilt and challenged the much superior Bulldogs til the bitter end. Kentucky came up short, but the team showed some life. I’m expecting another tough game this season, but the ‘Cats will again come up short in a 28-17 loss to Georgia.

October 27th: Kentucky Wildcats at Missouri Tigers

Missouri 2011 record- 8-5, 5-4 in the Big 12, 2-3 against the top 25. Won the AdvoCare v100 Independence Bowl against North Carolina.

Preview: This will be Missouri’s inaugural season in the SEC and there will be some bumps in the road. The Big 12 is known for high powered offense and little to no defense, whereas the SEC prides itself on defensive grit and speed. The Tigers will have a rude awakening and the Wildcats will face them at an advantageous juncture in the season. The Tigers will be coming off of a game against #2 Alabama. Mizzou put up some major points last season and broke the 40 point barrier four times. Junior James Franklin will be returning as quarterback and he put up 2,865 passing yards last season to go along with 21 touchdowns. Franklin is also a running threat as he ran for 839 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Tigers also return junior running back Henry Josey. He ran for 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns. Their defense was mediocre and gave up 23.5 points a game.

Prediction- Can Missouri adapt to the SEC? Kentucky faces a team at home that sold out season tickets because of the fact that they are playing in the best conference in the country. Kentucky is used to the rigors of SEC play while Mizzou will still be getting their feet wet. But it’s hard to win on the road in the SEC and I am sure the crowd at Mizzou will still be rocking. ‘Cats lose 37-24