Looking For A Fifth Straight Winning Season
After what seems like an eternity the SEC college football season is nearly upon us. For Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats, expectations are high. As a result of having 15 starters back, a big season could be in store. With UK’s original schedule Last Word was predicting 9-3 and an Outback Bowl bid. However, now they have to navigate a very tough 10-game all-SEC schedule. The last time the Wildcats played a 10-game season was 1969 when they went 2-8. How does an all-league schedule affect their win total? Let’s find out as we begin predicting Kentucky’s 2020 record.
A Tough Opener
September 26th- At Auburn- In a normal season traveling to Jordan-Hare Stadium is tough. However the fact only 17,500 fans will be in the stands should help the Wildcats. Gus Malzahn’s club went 9-4 and return Bo Nix at quarterback. While they have talent at the skill positions there are questions on the offensive and defensive lines. Behind the “Big Blue Wall” Kentucky’s three-headed running attack dominates the clock and the game. Kentucky gets their second straight win at Auburn.
UK 1-0 1-0 SEC
Welcoming The Magnolia State
October 3rd- Ole Miss– The SEC West has three new coaches in 2020 and Kentucky faces two of them. The first is a visit from Lane Kiffin and the Rebels. He has two very talented quarterbacks at his disposal. John Rhys Plumlee ran for a team-high 1,023 yards and 12 touchdowns. In addition, Matt Corral threw for a team-high 1,363 yards and six scores. Look for a close game for a half before the Cats pull away.
Ole Miss 17
UK 2-0 2-0 SEC
October 10th- Mississippi State- A familiar face returns to Lexington when the Bulldogs come to town. Mike Leach, who helped usher in the “Air Raid” offense with Hal Mumme and Tim Couch in the late 1990s, comes to the SEC after eight years at Washington State. Look for Stanford transfer K.J. Costello under center. In addition, they feature one of the best running backs in the league in Kylin Hill. Like most Leach coached teams the Bulldogs will score a lot of points, but also give up a bunch. Kentucky’s secondary gets a big test against the “Air Raid.” It’s a good thing the Cats have the best secondary in the SEC. UK goes undefeated against the state of Mississippi.
Mississippi State 21
UK 3-0 3-0 SEC
Only once since 1977 has UK started 3-0 in the league and that was 2018. As we continue predicting Kentucky’s 2020 record they head towards what’s been a huge stumbling block.
Breaking A Streak
October 17th- At Tennessee- This will be the earliest the border rivals have played in a season since World War 2. Kentucky has lost 17 in a row in Knoxville, a stat most True Blue Fans want to forget. Not only have they not won since 1984 but generally play their worst game of the season against the Vols. Unfortunately for Kentucky, this battle of SEC East dark horses ends like the last 17.
UK 3-1 3-1 SEC
Another Tough Test
October 24th- Georgia– There’s no time to dwell on the Tennessee loss as they host Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs. The last time Kentucky beat Georgia was 2009 and the last time at home was 2006. If Georgia gets its quarterback situation figured out they have the talent to win the SEC East once again. Look for a close game with the Bulldogs’ streak going to 11.
UK 3-2 3-2 SEC
Looking For History
October 31st- At Missouri- The Tigers have a new coach in Eli Drinkwitz who had great success in one year at Appalachian State. He inherits a club that is strong on defense but struggles to put points on the board. A win by Kentucky ties their all-time record for most consecutive wins against an SEC opponent. From 1976-1981 they won six straight against Vanderbilt. Behind the impressive offensive line, Terry Wilson and the strong running game the Cats tie the record.
UK 4-2 4-2 SEC
A Must-Win Game
November 14th- Vanderbilt- Following an off week, the Cats entertain the Commodores. Many were surprised when Derek Mason was brought back for another season in Nashville. Depending on how their season plays out Mason might be a “lame duck” coach by this point. Kentucky’s won four straight against Vandy and five of the last six. Almost every year the Cats have a game where they lose one they should win. In an all-SEC schedule that can’t happen this year. With two huge games coming up Kentucky gets an easy win.
UK 5-2 5-2 SEC
As we continue predicting Kentucky’s 2020 record business is really picking up with the next two games.
Toughest Stretch Of The Year
November 21st- At Alabama– Five wins should make you bowl eligible in 2020 so the Cats are now playing for a destination. However, at this point, no one really knows the status of bowl games due to COVID-19. They head to Tuscaloosa for a battle with the SEC West favorite. Kentucky faces a familiar name in quarterback Mac Jones. For those that don’t remember Jones committed to Stoops and the Cats back in 2015. However, a year later he flipped to Nick Saban. While many expect a blow out don’t count out the Cats. This is a prime opportunity for Kentucky to show how far they’ve come under Stoops. Look for Alabama to pull away at the end.
Alabama 34- Kentucky 20 UK 5-3 5-3 SEC
November 28th- At Florida- The Cats follow up the trip to Tuscaloosa with one to “The Swamp.” This hearkens back to the days when Kentucky and Florida played in November every year. Of course, the SEC isn’t going to send Dan Mullen’s club that far north in November. Everyone remembers two years ago when Kentucky broke a 31 game losing streak to Florida. Furthermore, the Cats have been better than Florida five of the last six years but only has one win to show for it. With the dominating offensive line, Kentucky certainly can win that game. However much like previous years, the Gators find a way to win.
UK 5-4 5-4 SEC
A Big Finale
December 5th- South Carolina- The Cats finish up 2020 with their latest game in a calendar year since the early 1900s. In fact, the school wasn’t even known as the University of Kentucky then. With a brief history lesson done let’s move onto the game. Much like Mason at Vanderbilt Will Muschamp needs a big season in Columbia in order to keep his job. As mentioned earlier, if there are bowl games the Cats are playing for the destination at this point. The Gamecocks snapped a five-game losing streak to Kentucky last year. However, look for UK to start a new one with a big season-ending win.
Kentucky 35- South Carolina 20
We at Last Word On Sports are predicting Kentucky’s 2020 record at 6-4. It may be a step down from the 9-3 we were thinking at first, however with that schedule 6-4 is certainly respectable. The fifth straight winning season would be the longest since an 11-year streak from 1946-1956. As mentioned earlier, we’re not sure about bowl games but assuming they have them we are putting the Wildcats in the Gator Bowl against Virginia. Even though the states border each other they’ve only played once back in 1930.
What are your predictions? Leave a comment below or on twitter. Next time out, we’ll get you ready for the season opener against Auburn.