Big Expectations In The Year Ahead
Hello everyone and we’ve finally made it. The 2023 football season kicked off over the weekend and begins in earnest this week. For Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats they’re looking to improve on last year’s disappointing 7-6 mark and Music City Bowl loss to Iowa. As the UK head man starts his 11th year it’s crazy to think the program has progressed to the point where that’s considered a down year. The Cats hit the transfer portal hard and big things are expected. Let’s break it down game by game as we begin Predicting Kentucky’s 2023 Record.
Off To A Quick Start?
In essence, Kentucky’s 2023 schedule breaks down into two halves. The first is filled with very winnable matchups. While, the back half is the college football equivalent of “Barbenheimer” rolling through the box office in Hollywood.
September 2nd- Ball State- Under Head Coach Mike Neu the Cardinals went 5-7 last year. In fact, Ball State has had a losing season in eight of the last nine seasons. Look for new Wildcat signal caller Devin Leary to have a big game as UK runs its regular season non-conference winning streak to 17.
Kentucky 45-21 1-0 0-0 SEC
September 9th- Eastern Kentucky- Only 25 miles to the south in Richmond the Colonels will bring a ton of fans to the game. EKU went 7-5 last season and made the FCS playoffs. In addition, coach Walt Wells survived a heart attack on August 28th and was back coaching three weeks later.
Kentucky’s never lost to EKU, but it’s been close. The Colonels led in the second half in each of the last two meetings. Most likely this one is close for a while before the Cats pull away in the second half.
Kentucky 41-17 2-0 0-0 SEC
September 16th- Akron- The Cat’s second taste of “MAC-tion” features a visit from the Zips. Their head man, Joe Moorhead, is very familiar to SEC fans as the former coach at Mississippi State. Going back to the 2018 campaign Akron is 9-45 and has never defeated an SEC club. This should be one where many of the reserves get some reps.
Kentucky 49- 13 3-0 0-0 SEC
Looking For Revenge
September 23rd- At Vanderbilt- Last year Clark Lea’s Commodores snapped a 26-game SEC losing streak winning in Lexington. That should be all the motivation the Wildcats need. Look for a big game from former Commodore running back Ray Davis. In front of what should be a sea of blue UK’s atones for last year’s loss.
Kentucky 35-20 4-0 1-0 SEC
First Time In 60 Years?
September 30th- Florida- For years the Gators dominated this series winning 31 in a row. Fortunately, the Cats have turned the tables recently with two straight victories and three of the last five. Billy Napier’s club turned to the portal for their new quarterback picking up Graham Mertz from Wisconsin. A win here and the Cats beat Florida three straight times for the first time since 1949-51.
Kentucky 31- 21 5-0 2-0 SEC
At this point in the year Kentucky’s undefeated and should be firmly in the Top 25. As we continue predicting Kentucky’s 2023 record let’s move to a huge contest.
Taking On The King
October 7th- At Georgia– Kirby Smart’s club is looking for the first three-peat in since Minnesota did it from 1934-36. Brad White’s defense held the Bulldogs to a season-low 16 points, a feat made more remarkable considering what Georgia did in the playoff.
The Bulldogs have won 13 straight against UK with the Cats last win coming in Athens in 2009. This last year of SEC’s divisions is Kentucky’s last chance to win the SEC East. Look for the Cats to keep it close before Georgia wins.
Georgia 28-17 Kentucky 5-1 2-1 SEC
Getting Back On Track
October 14th- Missouri- The Wildcats have won two straight and seven of the last eight against the Tigers. While the Cats have dominated the series most of the games have been close. This one is probably no different as Kentucky heads into their bye week with a win.
Kentucky 31-21 6-1 3-1 SEC
At this point, the Cats are already bowl-eligible but as we’ve talked about getting six wins isn’t the benchmark anymore. As we continue predicting Kentucky’s 2023 record let’s start the back end of the schedule which is very difficult.
Business Is Picking Up
October 28th- Tennessee- The Vols have won 35 0f the last 38 against Kentucky. Joe Milton takes over at quarterback for Josh Heupel’s club as they try to prove last year was no fluke. Although, they’re coming off a game against Alabama the week before while the Cats have a bye. Expect a high-scoring game that goes down to the wire. No matter who we pick we’re going to upset someone’s fan base.
Tennessee 41-35 Kentucky 6-2 3-2 SEC
November 4th- At Mississippi State- This is the final year of these two schools being the permanent cross-division rival. UK and MSU have played every year since 1990 and the all-time series is tied 25 wins apiece. Kentucky’s last win in Starkville was in 2008 and the last win against an SEC West opponent on the road was in 2009. Stoops is 0-5 on the road against the Bulldogs. Even though Mississippi State is projected at the bottom of the west, they’ll still find a way to win.
Mississippi State 27-23 Kentucky 6-3 3-3 SEC
November 11th- Alabama– Nick Saban’s club heads into this one coming off a game against LSU the week before. As a result, there’s a good chance of a letdown for the Tide. Kentucky’s only won twice against Alabama with the last coming in 1997. Much like the Tennessee game look for this one to come down to the wire.
Alabama 35- 27 Kentucky 6-4 3-4 SEC
A Big Finish
November 18th- At South Carolina– Shane Beamer’s club is the trendy dark horse pick in the SEC East. They knocked off Kentucky last year in Lexington, even though, the Cats were without Will Levis. UK’s won seven of the last nine with Carolina’s two wins coming when Kentucky started a backup quarterback. The Finnish DJ and producer Darude will perform his hit “Sandstorm” at the game. Even with that all of that craziness the Cats spoil the party.
Kentucky 33- 28 7-4 4-4 SEC
November 25th- At Louisville- Former Cardinal great Jeff Brohm made the trip down I-65 leaving Purdue for his alma mater. Kentucky’s won four straight in the “Battle For The Governor’s Cup” by a combined 179-57 margin. Brohm’s done very well in his career in rivalry games. Furthermore, the Cats will run the state for another year.
Kentucky 44- 27 8-4 4-4 SEC
There you have it, we at Last Word On College Football are picking Kentucky to go 8-4 in 2023. In addition, we’re sending the Cats to the Tampa Bay Bowl where we have them playing Minnesota. What do you think of our picks? Let us know in the comment section below. Don’t forget to save this page to see how we do as the season goes on. Thanks for Predicting Kentucky’s 2023 record. We’ll be back with a recap after the opener against Ball State.