Man oh man. It was gloomy, chilly, and a little bit rainy here in the Bluegrass State this past weekend. If I didn’t know any better, I would have told you it was mid-October. All I wanted to do was get to the nearest stadium or sit in front of the TV all day Sunday taking in the sights and sounds of all things football. Then Monday rolled around and it was 90 degrees with 100% humidity. Thanks Kentucky.
I am beyond excited for football season to be in full swing. These preseason NFL matches are cool and all, but I am so ready to see my Wildcats in the blue and white step onto the field for the first time in what looks to be a very interesting season to say the least.
Coming off a bowl appearance (although the bowl game itself was a miserable loss to Georgia Tech) for the first time in the Stoops Era, Coach and co were busy this spring and summer on the recruiting trail. Their bowl appearance proved to be a significant tool in pitches as Kentucky now has some depth and strength they weren’t able to enjoy in the past.
Wildcats Football Schedule
Looking at the complete schedule, there are some away games Kentucky will be underdogs in. But the home slate sets the Cats up for what could be the season for upsets. The season opener at Southern Miss could prove to be a challenge considering the home game last year ended in a very disappointing loss at the hands of Kentucky’s previous (fired) offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. Who, by the way, coined the dumbest phrase in a post loss press conference once at Kentucky when asked why he ran such stupid plays: “If it had worked, you would have loved it.” But it’s a game the Cats should be favored in, even being away. I’m calling this one a win by ten.
They then host Eastern Kentucky University. This game should be won fairly easily, though the Colonels have given Kentucky fits in the past. A game at South Carolina follows and could be seen by some as a toss up, but the Gamecocks have been garbage for a few years now. I say Cats win by three touchdowns.
Here’s where the fun begins. Maybe. Kentucky’s schedule on paper may not look stellar, but they have some games at home this year that could create the perfect storm for pulling some upsets. If the Cats take care of business in the first three games, they could be 3-0 ready for a showdown with the Florida Gators. “It’s been 84 years….” Okay, not that long, but it’s been 30 years since Kentucky has been able to down the Gators. I was at the game 2 years ago when I thought we would see the streak end, but again, we fell short (even though I got to see a pretty sweet trick play where our kicker ran 25 yards for a touchdown). However, Florida just hasn’t been the same since Urban took off to Ohio State. I’m looking for the streak to end on September 23rd.
Next up is an Eastern Michigan team that sometimes likes to surprise you. They can pack a punch when you least expect it. But being at home, I think the Cats come away with this one. Missouri comes to town the following week, a team that gave us fits when we visited their home turf last year. Ultimately, the Cats put them away and won by a couple of touchdowns. Being that the game is at home, my guess is this one will be a similar margin to last year’s game, and would put the Cats at 6-0 heading into a bye week.
Am I crazy? I don’t know. Maybe. But it’s not all that far-fetched to think Kentucky could be 6-0 at this point. I really hope I can come check in with you guys after the Eastern Michigan game and say “I told you so.” This year could be the year we break through and get 8-9 wins. Kentucky Football has been SO bad for SO long, that it’s nice to be hopeful and so positive heading into the season. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to preview the second half of the season and bring you the latest news from my old Kentucky home. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them here, or hit me up on Twitter!