Predicting Kentucky’s 2021 Record

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A Big Season In 2021?

Mark Stoops starts his ninth season in Lexington with tons of momentum. Coming off five straight bowl games and three straight bowl wins expectations are as high as ever. In addition, he has 49 career wins, second only to Bear Bryant‘s 60. The trick of course is to not only keep the momentum going but move their way up the ladder in the SEC. That’s certainly a possibility due in part to a very manageable schedule. How many wins can that BBN expect in 2021? Let’s take a look as we begin predicting Kentucky’s 2021 record.

Good Season Opener

Louisiana-Monroe – September 4th.  Pretty much anything that could go wrong did for the Warhawks in 2020 as they finished 0-10 and 0-7 in the Sun Belt. As a result, the school brought in Terry Bowden as head coach and Rich Rodriguez as offensive coordinator. They have question marks all over the field starting with quarterback. As of now Rhett Rodriguez, son of Rich, likely gets the nod. A defense that gave up 465 yards and 42 points a game sets up well for the Cats. Going against a bad defense Will Levis should have a big game in his first start for Kentucky.

  • Kentucky:  42-10
  • UK:  1-0   
  • SEC:  0-0

Biggest Game Of The Year?

Missouri – September 11th.  Two teams considered dark horses in the SEC East meet in Week 2. Kentucky had won five in a row against the Tigers until falling 20-10 in Columbia last year. Eli Drinkwitz led Missouri to a 5-5 record last year and bigger things are expected this season. However, they must replace several top players, especially on defense. Connor Bazelak threw for over 2,000 yards and seven touchdowns while they’re expecting big things from Ohio State transfer receiver Mookie Cooper. Again the biggest question mark is in the secondary and with Wan’Dale Robinson and Josh Ali, the Cats should take advantage and get the win.

  • Kentucky:  28-17     
  • UK:  2-0   
  • SEC:  1-0

Tougher Than Expected?

Chattanooga – September 18th.  Kentucky wraps up three straight home games with a visit from the Mocs. Rusty Wright’s team played one game in 2020, losing 13-10 to Western Kentucky. However, they went 3-2 playing this spring and return every starter for the fall. In addition, they rank 18th in the FCS preseason poll. Look for Chattanooga to hang around for a while before the Cats pull away.

  • Kentucky:  31-14   
  • UK:  3-0    
  • SEC:  1-0

The Cats currently stand 3-0 so for in 2021 but now business really starts to pick up. How will they fare in the next set of games? Let’s find out as we continue predicting Kentucky’s 2021 record.

Potential Trap Game

At South Carolina – September 25th.  Kentucky hits the road for the first time in 2021 as they travel to Columbia. The Gamecocks have a new man on the sidelines in Shane Beamer, son of legendary coach Frank Beamer. The new headman has been saying and doing all the right things, however, it’s going to take a year or two before the program is back to what it was. Kentucky is the much better team and unless they are looking ahead they should get their sixth win in the last seven against USC.

  • Kentucky:  27-13  
  • UK:  4-0  
  • SEC:  2-0 

Is This The Year?

Florida – October 2nd.  By now everyone knows the numbers but let’s go through it one more time just in case. On November 15, 1986, Kentucky beat Florida 10-3. The number one movie at the box office was Crocodile Dundee and yours truly was a junior in high school. No one knew at the time the Cats wouldn’t beat the Gators at home again.

The last three times they’ve played in Lexington Kentucky’s led late only to find new and creative ways to lose. Dan Mullen’s club is retooling his offense after losing Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts, and Kadarius Toney among others. The defense gave up 28 passing touchdowns in 2020, the worst in the league. The law of averages has to catch up sometimes. However, it’s difficult picking Kentucky to win.

  • Florida:  31-28   
  • UK:  4-1  
  • SEC:  2-1

Lightning Strikes Twice

LSU – October 9th.  The last time the Tigers visited Kentucky the Cats knocked off top-ranked LSU 43-37 in three overtimes. In fact, Last Word voted it Kentucky’s greatest football victoryEd Orgeron’s club had a major national title hangover finishing 5-5 with numerous on and off-the-field issues. One thing to watch in this one is former LSU tackle Dare Rosenthal going up against his former club. Many are predicting a big season for the Tigers. However, we think especially playing at home Kentucky wins once again.

  • Kentucky:  34-27  
  • UK:  5-1 
  • SEC:  3-1 

At this point, the Wildcats are halfway to a really special season. However, as we continue predicting Kentucky’s 2021 record the next two are really tough.

[pickup_prop id=”9201″]

Best In The Division

At Georgia – October 16th.  After finishing second in the east last year, Kirby Smart‘s club is our pick to win the SEC East. Behind quarterback JT Daniels, a dominant running game, and a great offensive line the Bulldogs will score points in bunches. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Georgia since 2009 and in all honesty, this is the one game where it feels like the Cats have little chance of winning. At the end of the day, the streak goes to 12.

  • Georgia:  34- 21  
  • UK:  5-2 
  • SEC:  3-2

Tough Road Trip

At Mississippi State – October 30th.  Following a much-needed week off Kentucky heads to Starkville. It’s a place where UK has had little recent success. While the Cats have won three straight in Lexington their last road win was in 2008. A season ago Kentucky held a Mike Leach coached team to zero offensive points for the first time ever in a 24-2 win.  Every year Kentucky has one head-scratcher where they come out flat. On paper, this seems like the game. The Bulldogs exact revenge from a season ago.

  • Mississippi State:  27-20  
  • UK:  5-3 
  • SEC:  3-3

Not Since The 1970s

Tennessee – November 6th.  After going 28-8 at Central Florida Josh Heupel takes over in Knoxville. In the process, he hopes to restore some luster to the Volunteer program. Tennessee was hit hard by transfers and has the possibility of an NCAA investigation hanging over them. Last season Kentucky won in Knoxville for the first time since 1984. This year they get back-to-back wins for the first time since 1976-77.

  • Kentucky:  38-17  
  • UK:  6-3
  • SEC:  4-3

Keeping The Streak Going

At Vanderbilt – November 13th.  The third new coach in the SEC East is Clark Lea down in Nashville. The former Notre Dame defensive coordinator tries to get the program back to respectability. Quarterback Ken Seals returns along with his favorite target Cam Johnson. Even though the game is in Nashville there’s likely to be more Kentucky fans there. The Cats run their winning streak against Vandy to six. That ties the school’s longest SEC streak, also against the Commodores from 1976- 1981.

  • Kentucky:  42- 20   
  • UK:  7-4
  • SEC:  5-3

At this point, the Cats have not only achieved bowl eligibility but finished above .500 in the SEC for only the second time since 1977. Two non-conference games wrap up not only the year but our predicting Kentucky’s 2021 record.

Returning Home

New Mexico State – November 20th.  The Aggies were one of three teams that didn’t play in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, they played two games in the spring going 1-1. It’s a homecoming as coach Doug Martin played at Kentucky in the early 1980s. Quarterback Jonah Johnson returns at quarterback after throwing two touchdowns with three picks in the spring. This is one of those games where you hope none of your starters get hurt and your second and third teams get lots of snaps.

  • Kentucky:  49- 14   
  • UK:  8-3 
  • SEC:  5-3

Rivalry Renewed

At Louisville – November 27th.  After a year off the “Battle For The Governor’s Cup” is renewed once again. Malik Cunningham leads an offense that averaged 30 points a game. However, he had 15 turnovers which are way too many. Scott Satterfield’s club also added Shai Werts through the transfer portal. Expect him to line up all over the field. Kentucky’s won three of the last four in the series including the last two by a 101-23 margin. It will be closer this time around but another win for the Cats.

  • Kentucky:  31- 21 
  • UK:  9-3 
  • SEC:  5-3

There you have it we here at Last Word On College Football are predicting 9-3 for Kentucky in 2021. The nine wins leave Stoops only two behind “The Bear” for most all-time. In addition, we project UK to the Outback Bowl where they’ll face Penn State. What do you think of our picks? Leave us a comment below or on Twitter. We’ll be back with a full preview of the Louisiana-Monroe game soon.