Let me start off by saying I truly believe this is a make or break year for Coach Stoops. I’m not saying they have to win 6 for him to keep his job, but the football program needs to show that they can be consistently strong against all SEC teams.
So, what I want to do is break down the season in quarters. Then I will look at each game and the chance of winning that game.
The season opener is going to be a good one! Shannon Dawson will be on the opposite sideline for this game and he’ll be trying to get his offense rolling against a team he knows well. I expect this one to be a high scoring game with Drew Barker and company coming through with the win. It’ll be interesting to see where our defense is along with our O-Line. Also, can Boom Williams be the star that UK Football needs.
For two years straight Kentucky football has been at the door when it comes to ending this horrible streak. Jerry Claiborne might have started the streak back in 1987 but I think Stoops will be the one to end it. Just maybe not this year. Playing at the swamp is hard for anyone trying to take down the Gators. We haven’t won there since Fran Curci in 1979. With new QB Luke Del Rio coming in from Oregon St. and the loss of Vernon Hargreaves to the NFL, this game could be very interesting for Cats fans.
Last year was a struggle for the Aggies to say the least. They were 3-9 in the Sun Belt conference losing to two SEC teams last season. I don’t see this as a difficult game for the Cats but I didn’t think it would take a comeback to beat Eastern last year either. If UK is healthy and focused we should be able to see some starters get some rest towards the end of this one.
The first quarter of the season should start just fine for Kentucky. There’s even a possibility of winning all of those games but I’m trying to not be overly optimistic. If we can go 2-1 in both of our first two quarters, I know that’s a big if, going into the 2nd half of the season only needing two wins would be nice.
Last year UK beat the ol’ ball coach in Columbia and this year we have Will Muschamp in our house. South Carolina will be without its two best players from last year, Pharoh Cooper (NFL) and Skai Moore (Neck injury). We will have to wait to see if Muschamp can be successful with the Gamecocks but I have to believe Stoops will be ready to take down a weaker than normal Gamecock team.
There’s not much to say about this game but compete, survive, and advance. No one is giving Kentucky much of a shot and I would imagine that’s just the way Barker and crew want it. I am not even going to entertain the thought of some kind of upset but you never know!
This is the game that should have got us to a bowl game last year and the one we have to have to get to another one this year. The biggest problem Vandy poses to Kentucky is on the defensive side of the ball. Derek Mason has 8 starters on D returning and this unit was pretty impressive last year. That being said, we have better talent, we will be at home, and we don’t have Shannon Dawson anymore.
With the bye week separating our season in half we will have time to heal and refocus going into a tough 2nd half of the season. Hopefully by this point in the season we have 4 or more wins and everything is clicking nicely.
Dak Prescott was insane last year against the Big Blue. He had 348 yards passing with 3 TDs and 117 yards rushing with another 3 TDs on the ground! He was drafted in the 4th round by the Cowboys so we don’t have to worry about him, thank goodness! Mississippi State will look a lot different this coming year and it’s still too early to say that there will be a drop off. I like Kentucky being at home and not having to hear those annoying cowbells! I like that Boom had 95 yards against them in a game that was only close early on. I also like that Miss. St. has its third Defensive Coordinator in three years. I think Kentucky will even the series at 22-22.
A new coach and QB will be one of many hurdles Missouri will face this upcoming season. Kentrell Brothers will be playing on Sundays with the Vikings and that comes to no surprise to anyone who has seen him play. I think Missouri will struggle this coming season and that means it’s a perfect time for the Wildcats to pounce!
I was there in November of 2006 when we took down the Bulldogs then took down the goal post. It was an amazing atmosphere much like South Carolina a couple of years ago. Unfortunately UK has only one victory against UGA since that great game in 06. I expect whoever is running the ball at that time, whether it be Chubb or Michel, they’ll get big yards and big points.
So far, I have Kentucky in a bowl game (which would be awesome) and winning each quarter of the season. That likely changes going into the last three games.
After last years beat down by the Vols I can’t imagine that Stoops will be able to go into hostile territory and come back with a win. Josh Dobbs, Jalen Hurd, and Alvin Kamara will be a force to be reckoned with this fall. The program as a whole is under a lot of pressure not only with success being predicted by so many people but sexual assault and cover up allegations surfaced after UT’s favorite son Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in February. Will those distractions cost UT this season?
Senior Day for JoJo Kemp, JD Harmon, Ryan Timmons, and others should be a special moment in Commonwealth Stadium this year. Austin Peay had no wins last year at all and was unable to score hardly at all. Great timing for this game and a great way for our seniors to play their last game at CWS.
I’d love to see Petrino get beat at home by Barker and Boom. The biggest question will be can UK figure out how to stop a running QB. Lamar Jackson has the potential to be really special and the defense is not going to lay down. I really hope that the Cats can play close with them and keep the starting QB for the Cardinals healthy. In recent years it seems as though Kentucky had a great game plan for the starter but no game plan for the back up. Kyle Bolin, who came in for Reggie Bonnafon the year prior, was taken out and replaced by Jackson who completely tore UK’s defense to shreds last year.
This record would be an amazing feat if it were to happen. Stoops’ job would be safe, the Barker era would have a successful start, and the fans would rally around the program. I am well aware that this prediction is an optimistic one but I truly believe they’ll be able to achieve this mark. Let me know what you think and which predictions you agree with and which ones are nothing but “poppycock”!