While some leagues, most notably the Big 10 and Pac-12, opted out of football in 2020, the SEC is still playing. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they went with 10 game conference only schedule. For the Kentucky Wildcats, that means the loss of three easy wins. Games against Eastern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, and Kent State have been wiped off the books. In addition, the season-ending game against Louisville (and another win) is gone as well. Starting the most likely victory to least let’s begin ranking Kentucky’s 2020 opponents.
All-SEC Schedule Makes Things More Difficult
Games Kentucky Should Win
10. Vanderbilt (November 14th)– Many were surprised when the school brought back Derek Mason for the 2020 campaign. One thing Mark Stoops has done recently is beat the schools he should and that includes the Commodores. The Cats have won five of six and four straight. They make it five in a row with an easy win.
9. At Missouri (October 31st)– Kentucky spends Halloween in Columbia looking to make some history. Winners of five in a row against the Tigers, Kentucky would tie their all-time winning streak against one SEC opponent with a win. Previously, UK beat Vanderbilt six straight from 1976-1981. Under new coach Eli Drinkwitz the Tigers sport a good defense but struggle to score. The Cats win this one fairly easily.
8. South Carolina (December 5th)– Instead of the annual “Battle For The Governor’s Cup” Kentucky now finishes with the Gamecocks. Depending on how the season goes Will Muschamp may be coaching for his job. He needs a good year to stick around in Columbia. Assuming there are bowl games the Cats should be playing for a destination at this point. Carolina snapped a five-game losing streak to Kentucky last year. However, UK starts a new win streak here.
As we continue ranking Kentucky’s 2020 opponents we head to the great state of Mississippi.
Sweeping the Magnolia State
7. Mississippi State (October 10th)– Kentucky welcomes a familiar face back to Lexington in Mike Leach. The former Kentucky offensive coordinator, who helped usher in the “Air Raid” offense with Hal Mumme takes over in Starkville after eight seasons at Washington State. While the Bulldogs should score points in bunches they may give a ton too. Kentucky rolls up big numbers in a win.
6. Ole Miss (October 3rd)– Over the years the Wildcats’ struggled against the Rebels. Going back to 1990 the Wildcats are 3-8 against them. Just like MSU Ole Miss has a new coach as well in Lane Kiffin. Normally the first SEC home game of the year would have Kroger Field rocking. However, 2020 is the farthest thing from normal. Look for the Rebels to hang around for a while before Kentucky pulls away in the second half.
Could Go Either Way
5. At Auburn (September 26th)– Stoops’ Troops open the season at one of the toughest places to play, which is Auburn. Gus Malzahn’s squad has some talented players in the offensive and defensive backfields. Although, they have major questions up front on both sides of the ball. That’s somewhere Kentucky has a huge advantage and should carry them to victory.
4. At Tennessee (October 17th)– This is the earliest these two schools have played in a season since World War II. The Wildcats haven’t won in Knoxville since 1984, a streak of 17 straight games. In addition, for whatever reason, the Cats play their worst against the Vols, especially on the road. For Kentucky to take that next step up in the SEC they have to start beating Tennessee consistently.
As we continue ranking Kentucky’s 2020 opponents we hit the top three. A win against any of these teams takes the Wildcats’ season from good to great.
Beating The Top Of The League
3. Georgia (October 24th)– The Cats host the Bulldogs the week after they play Tennessee. The biggest question for Kirby Smart‘s team is who is the quarterback? With Jamie Newman opting out, JT Daniels has the inside track on the starting job. The perception around the SEC is the Bulldogs are down slightly in 2020. If Kentucky is ever going to win this might be their best chance.
2. At Florida (November 28th)– This game hearkens back to the good old days when Kentucky and Florida played in November every year. Of course, there’s no way the SEC would send the Gators north this late in the season. Two years ago Terry Wilson, Benny Snell, and the Wildcats broke a 31 game losing streak to Florida. With only 17,000 fans allowed Dan Mullen‘s team loses some of its intimidation playing in “The Swamp.” It won’t be easy but a second straight win in Gainesville makes a great Thanksgiving present.
1. At Alabama (November 21st)– A week before heading to Florida Kentucky faces an even tougher test on the road. After a “down” season in 2019 Nick Saban’s club is once again the odds on favorite in the SEC West. You could make the case for Kentucky winning each of the first nine games on the list. However, the one seems unlikely though look for the Cats to make it closer than most experts think.
Thanks for checking out our list ranking Kentucky’s 2020 opponents here at Last Word On College Football. Next time we’re getting out the Crystal Ball and predicting how the 2020 season goes for the Wildcats.