Kentucky Wildcats Football: Game By Game


It is FINALLY game week. Long months without football are finally over

and Kentucky is opening the season at home for the first time since 2007. In Mark Stoops second year fans will be looking for improvement and by all means should see some. The free pass from cleaning up Joker Phillips’ mess is expiring quickly but isn’t up. 2015 is the year to expect big things in Lexington. But fans want to know about here and now, and Kentucky fans can be particularly impatient. So let’s take a look at this year’s schedule:

08/30 UT Martin- The Skyhawks are Kentucky’s annual FCS opponent and the usual assessment applies. They have some good players, but lack the overall talent and depth to keep up with Kentucky for four quarters. This game being the first on the schedule is fortuitous for a young offense with new starting quarterback to get up and running. Expect to see a blowout because the first team needs live reps throwing the ball.

09/14 Ohio U- Fans should hope that Kentucky’s tune-up gets them right because the Bobcats are not pushovers. In a season with low expectations, the Bobcats are a true trap game. They lost a lot of their fire-power but they are well coached by Frank Solich and that defense is going to play disciplined. OU came to Lexington and beat the Cats once before and they’ll likely give them a scare this year but Kentucky should pull away by a couple of scores late.

9/13 @Florida- This is Will Muschamp’s make or break year. He has all the talent in the world to coach but has disappointed. This year the Gators will either be a contender for a BCS bowl or a complete dumpster fire. But the game is at The Swamp, and with Kentucky’s record versus Florida it’s hard to predict a victory until one happens. The Cats will score some points but not enough to win.

9/27 Vanderbilt- Vandy is breaking in a new head coach and a host of new faces in the starting lineup. It’s to Kentucky’s benefit to get them early in the year, because James Franklin recruited well and this team will be better at the end of the year. Unless Patton Robinette has improved , Kentucky likely wins their first SEC game in two years.

10/04 South Carolina- This game is a tough one to predict. On one hand, Steve Spurrier has dominated Kentucky and the Gamecocks are likely the favorites to win the East. On the other, Jadaveon Clowney and Connor Shaw are gone and the Wildcats almost pulled off the upset last year in Columbia. You have to give USC the edge here but the Cats have a better chance than the analysts will give them.

10/11 Lousiana-Monroe- The Warhawks have been to Lexington a few times and have always made for a good game. They were briefly on the rise before a setback year last season. The defense has questions and the offense is replacing Kolton Browning. But they have former four star Pete Thomas as a transfer from NC State. Thomas has all of the arm talent but can be erratic. Kentucky’s young secondary could get some balls thrown their way this week. Expect the Cats to win comfortably.

Nov 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk (7) runs the ball against Kentucky Wildcats defensive end Za

10/18 @LSU- The second half of Kentucky’s season is largely spent on the road and it starts in Baton Rouge. The Tigers are breaking in a batch of new starters after their annual NFL purge but the talent level between these two teams isn’t comparable. The Tigers will win comfortably at home.

10/25 Mississippi State- Kentucky’s permanent cross-division rivals have been a thorn in the Wildcats’ sides for a decade. It has helped build the program in Starkville to a respectable level, despite the teams beginning at roughly the same point. Despite pre-season expectations and recruiting rankings favoring the Bulldogs annually, this game is usually close. Dan Mullen is on the hot sat after a couple of disappointing years and if the team struggles early, they could quit on a lame-duck coach.

11/01 @Missouri- The Tigers may have lost more in the off-season than any team on Kentucky’s schedule. On offense and defense. The surprise team of the SEC last year, Mizzou dominated Kentucky in Lexington a season ago. It remains to be seen how the Tigers will react to losing that much talent but they have enough pieces to be pretty good again this year. This one could really go either way, depending on how the young Cats develop this year.

11/08 Georgia- It seems like Aaron Murray was in Athens forever and his last game would be against Kentucky. Now Murray is in the NFL and the Dawgs are breaking in a new QB. The bad news is that the new QB carved the Cats up in Murray’s absence last year. With the addition of Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator, the UGA defense figures to be much improved this year. In the last decade Kentucky has played Georgia well but this contest won’t likely be close.

11/15 @Tennessee- Kentucky’s record against the Vols is less than sterling. But the past five or six years have treated fans to some nail-biters and an amazing victory. A lot of that can be attributed to Derek Dooley but Tennessee isn’t what it used to be. Butch Jones has them recruiting with the top dogs again but coaching them up remains to be seen. The Vols get a slight edge because the game is in Knoxville.

11/29 @Louisville- The Grand Prize. The Big Tamale. This is the first time the game will be played at the end of the year and it could be a battle to see who goes bowling. Nobody knows how Bobby Petrino will do at UL the second go round. It’s seems likely that he will score some points. On the flip side, that defense will be suspect. It will also be the Cards’ first year entering the game after playing a decent schedule, injuries will likely play a role on both sides. The difference is that UK is used to playing November games after a tough schedule. This game will be close and I hate to do it but I give Petrino the slightest of edges.