My preseason predictions for the upcoming football season

Kentucky football is upon us once again, Big Blue Nation!  This year marks the fifth full year of the Mark Stoops era. Ever since Stoop’s arrival we have had steady improvement in both non-conference and conference schedules and I expect the same out of this upcoming season as long as we can stay healthy.

What I am going to do is talk a little bit about each game on this years schedule and give you my prediction on whether it will be a win or a loss.

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Week 1: Last years season opener was nothing less than a heart breaker, Shannon Dawson and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles came into Commonwealth Stadium (Now known as Kroger Field) and completely upset the Cats. This year the wildcats travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi seeking revenge on the very first game of the season. Once again, I expect this to be a relatively high scoring game and if we have good contributions form quarterback Stephen Johnson and running back Benny Snell then we should have no issues getting the W. The  game is Saturday September 2nd at 4:00 P.M. ET on CBS Sports Network.

Prediction: Win

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Week 2: The last time the wildcats faced off against neighboring school Eastern Kentucky University the Colonels gave the Cats a pretty good scare by leading late in the 4th. The Cats did however force the game into overtime and eventually won with a game winning touchdown. This is nowhere near the same EKU team that we faced back in 2015 and even though it is my alma mater I believe that this game will be over by halftime.

Prediction: Win

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Week 3: Next up, South Carolina, the first SEC game of the year takes place on September 16th at South Carolina. Kentucky has definitely had the gamecock’s number over the past three years and with the talent that we have coming in this year I firmly believe that we could stretch this winning streak to 4 games. From what I’ve heard South Carolina is planning on making this a “Black Out” game because they know how critical it is for them. They know that with another win against them that there is no questioning the fact that the Cats have passed them up in the SEC rankings. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 P.M. ET and if we go in there ready to go to work I believe we will improve our record to 3 – 0.

Prediction: Win

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Week 4: The Florida Gators make a trip to Kroger field. The Gators have had the cat’s number for the past 30 years now as they have stretched their winning streak against us to 30. The Cats came close to breaking the streak back in 2014 with the infamous play clock incident. With the game being played at Kroger Field this year and the amount of talent this recruiting class brings to the field I believe that we will be able to at least play with Florida, maybe not win but at least be in contention. My heart tells me that we will have a chance to win but my mind tells me otherwise.

Prediction: Loss

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan

Week 5: Saturday September 30th the Eastern Michigan Eagles will travel to Kroger Field. I’m not going to say much about this game other than talent, depth, coaching, and home field advantage. Those four things will be more than enough to lead the Cats to another victory on the year and improving our record to 4 – 1.

Prediction: Win

 

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Week 6: Last year Kentucky had a convincing victory at Mizzou winning 35-21. Kentucky has won the last two meetings against the tigers and with the Tigers coming into Kroger Field on Saturday October the 7th I believe that the Cats have a real good opportunity to stretch this winning streak to 3 games. I think that our running game will be the key to success in this game so if we see a good performance from Mr. Snell then I think the Cats march on to victory and improve to 2 – 1 in conference play.

Prediction: Win

Kentucky vs Mississippi State

Week 7: Bye week

Week 8: The Kentucky Wildcats travel to play at Mississippi State on Saturday October 21st. Last year the Wildcats played the Bulldogs in Commonwealth Stadium (Now Kroger Field) and won on a very exciting last second 51 yard field goal by Austin Macginnis. The bulldogs had won the previous 7 meetings between the two teams (2009-2015) until last year. I really think that this game could be a toss up and if the Cats stay away from turning the ball over and if Stephen Johnson has an overall good game completion wise I believe the cats will stretch the winning streak to 2 games over Mississippi State.

Prediction: Win

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Week 9: In the week 9 match up the Wildcats face off against preseason top 25 ranked Tennessee. It isn’t no secret that the University of Tennessee has had an unbelievable winning percentage against the Cats over the years. In the 103 meetings between the two teams the Vols have won 79 of those and have a current 5 game winning streak as well. Thankfully, the Joshua Dobbs era is over at UT. Dobbs completely exposed the Cat’s defense year after year when he was in a Tennessee jersey, but now that he’s gone Kentucky, I believe, has a shot to break the streak and get their first win against Tennessee since 2011. This will be a close game and I think the team who controls the ball the most and whoever has the least amount of turnovers will come out victorious.

Prediction: Loss

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Week 10: The Wildcats’ week 10 match up is Ole Miss from the SEC West. Kentucky hasn’t played Ole Miss since 2011 and to be quite honest with you I don’t know a whole lot about this years Ole Miss team. I do know that it will be a tough match up because typically Ole Miss, being in the SEC West, has pretty stout competition. If the season plays out the way I think it will the Cats will be 6 – 2 going into this game at Kroger Field and I believe that will put a little bit of a fire underneath them to try to get that 7th win of the season and secure bowl eligibility. Overall, I believe our running game with Snell will help us pick up a lot of yards on the ground and bring us that bowl clinching 7th victory.

Prediction: Win

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Week 11: This week the Cats are on the road again as they travel to Nashville, Tennessee to have the Vanderbilt Commodores. In the previous years the Wildcats have not had much success when playing in Nashville but however have had decent success when playing the Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium (Now Kroger Field). Kentucky did win last years meeting at home in a close game that ended 20 – 13. I expect nothing less from this game, I expect it to be a close, low scoring game that comes down to the battle of defense. I believe Kentucky has enough talent and depth this year to come away with the victory.

Prediction: Win

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Week 12: In week 12 the Wildcats have another tough road game in Athens, Georgia. The Cats have not had a victory over the bulldogs since 2009, the bulldogs have won the last 7 straight (2010 – 2016). Last year the cats came very close to getting a victory over the dogs falling just short 27 – 24. Playing in Athens is always a tough atmosphere and with the talent they have coming in this year I believe that the Cats will have a hard time pulling out a victory in this one. I think it will be close for the first half but eventually Georgia will pull away at the end.

Prediction: Loss

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Week 13: The final game on the schedule for the Cats is our in state rival the Louisville Cardinals. Last year the Wildcats won in exciting fashion on Louisville’s home field. This year the Cardinals are ranked in the preseason top 25 and have a lot of talent coming in. If the season goes as I think it will the Cats will be 8 – 3 going into this game and even though I believe it will be a hard fought game, I believe that the Wildcats fall to the Cardinals in this one.

Prediction: Loss

I don’t know about the rest of you but personally I would be ecstatic if the Wildcats finish with a record of 8 – 4 on the season. I see this season as kind of a toss up, I see two or three definite wins those include, Southern Miss, Eastern Kentucky University, and Eastern Michigan. The other 9 games could honestly go either way depending on turnovers, injuries, etc. I know I am excited about this season and I can’t wait to see how it panes out.

Make sure to follow @ukfansallday on Twitter!

 

 

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