Predicting The Kentucky Wildcats Schedule Part II

Time to continue the look at predicting how the 2016 season will go for the Kentucky Wildcats. If you haven’t read the first part you can click the link here.

After the first six games, the Cats record stands at 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. But as in most years, the second half of the season featuring the weekly grind of conference play will ultimately determine whether Mark Stoops can guide the Wildcats to its first bowl game since 2010.

Check out Part I here.

Predicting The Kentucky Wildcats Schedule Part II

Mississippi State- October 22nd

The Cats come into this one on a bye week after the game against Vanderbilt. While the losing streak against Florida gets all the attention, the Wildcats have never beaten Dan Mullen, going 0-7 all-time. This is especially bad when the Bulldogs are the SEC West team you play every year.

The Bulldogs have to replace Dak Prescott, one of the greatest players in school history, and have yet to name a starter. Quarterback aside, MSU returns a number of players from last season but lack depth especially on defense.

If the Wildcats are ever going to beat the Bulldogs, this is the season.

Kentucky: 27-24     UK: 5-2     SEC: 3-2

At Missouri- October 29th

After having the second-worst offense in all of college football in 2015, Coach Barry Odom brought in a new offensive coordinator in Josh Heupel. Quarterback Drew Lock can only get better in his second season in Columbia, and the Tigers will have former Oklahoma transfer Alex Ross to run the ball. One thing Missouri doesn’t have to worry about is defense. Led by Charles Harris and Michael Schere, teams are going to have trouble scoring on the Tigers.

This could be the second-best defense the Cats will face all season and playing at home Missouri will win.

Missouri: 21-14     UK: 5-3     SEC: 3-3

Georgia- November 5th

The Bulldogs finally replaced Mark Richt with former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. They will also welcome back a healthy Nick Chubb in the backfield. The quarterback situation is still unsettled, but by November the Bulldogs should be firing on all cylinders.

Historically speaking, Kentucky has played Georgia tough, but in Stoops’ three years in Lexington that has not been the case going 0-3 and being outscored 149-51. There is no reason to think the recent streak of blowouts won’t continue.

Georgia: 42-20      UK: 5-4     SEC: 3-4

At Tennessee- November 12th

Behind the combination of quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd, the Volunteers are the pick to win the SEC East and a date in Atlanta. If Butch Jones‘ squad survives a stretch of games that includes Florida, Georgia and Alabama, then by this point in the season the Vols should be crowned SEC Champs. This game will be the third in a stretch of five games to close the season against teams who failed to make a bowl game in 2015.

After Kentucky broke its 26-game losing streak against Tennessee in 2011, the Vols have won four straight games, scoring more than 50 the last two years. On paper, this is possibly the worst match-up for the Cats in the SEC and has the makings of another blowout especially in Knoxville.

Tennessee: 49-21    UK: 5-5    SEC: 3-5

Austin Peay- November 19th

The Governors went 0-11 last season and have only won one game in the last three seasons. It is very rare to see Kentucky over-match an opponent, and that should be the case here. In games like this, the most important thing is to get through with no serious injuries. Stoops should be able to rest a lot of his starters and get the backups some playing time.

There is no reason to think this won’t be a blowout, and Stoops and company can finally celebrate getting to six wins and a bowl game.

Kentucky: 56-10    UK : 6-5    SEC: 3-5

At Louisville- November 26th

Bobby Petrino’s club returns 16 starters from last season, and at this point could be contending for not only the ACC Championship, but a New Year’s Day bowl game as well. Last year’s game was the coming out party for quarterback Lamar Jackson. He accounted for 316 yards and three touchdowns, as the Cards ran off 31-straight points in the second half to beat the Cats 38-24, ending Kentucky’s bowl hopes for a second straight season.

With six wins and a bowl game already accomplished, they can come into this rivalry game very loose. In the end, however, Jackson and the rest of the Cards will be too much especially at home.

Louisville: 42-21     UK: 6-6     SEC: 3-5

At Season’s End

The final record for the 2016 Kentucky Wildcats will be 6-6, and they will make their first bowl game since 2010. A trip to Alabama for the Birmingham Bowl on December 29th will be their reward, where they will take on the Connecticut Huskies.

A more in-depth preview of Kentucky and Southern Mississippi along with the games of week one in the SEC will be the focus next week.

 

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