|Sat. 09/05/09 |
|Sat. 09/12/09||Open Date|
|Sat. 09/19/09 |
|Sat. 09/26/09 |
|Sat. 10/03/09 |
|Sat. 10/10/09 |
|at South Carolina|
|Sat. 10/17/09 |
|Sat. 10/24/09 |
|Sat. 10/31/09 |
|Sat. 11/07/09 |
|Sat. 11/14/09 |
|Sat. 11/21/09 |
|Sat. 11/28/09 |
|Sat. 12/05/09 |
1:00 p.m. ET
|1 at Cincinnati, Ohio|
2 at Atlanta, Georgia (Eastern Division Champ v. Western Division Champ)
Above, you see Kentucky's greatest impediment to making it to a totally unprecedented fourth consecutive bowl game this year: El schedule. Nevermind that the offense will probably be better this year than last year, or that the defense should hopefully (if the line is any good) be on par with some of the best in the conference. The schedule is a freaking bear. An angry, Tajiki robo-bear with a laser beam where its left cornea should be. Last year's team limped to 6-6 because it played Western, Norfolk State, and a temporarily punchless Arkansas. This year the Cats are not so lucky. Let's take a look, four games at a time, shall we?
Weeks 1-5: Miami U. at Paul Brown Stadium, Louisville, Florida, and Alabama.
Miami should be a win. That doesn't mean the Cats should overlook the Redhawks, as they've been MAC fodder before. I remember being absolutely dumbfounded when the Cats lost to Ohio en route to what I seem to remember being a 2-9 season under ol' Papa Brooks. But I don't think that'll happen this time. There are lots of Miami alumni in the Cincinnati area, but most of them think that football is a rude game on par with bareknuckling, so the Kentucky crowd will likely provide a home-field-like advantage.
Louisville: is a train wreck. It looks like they're finally starting to make some inroads in recruiting again, but let's put it this way: we're about six weeks away from the start of football season and you can hardly find a mention of Cardinal football in the local paper. Kragthorpe, life coach, has not yet named a starting quarterback. The running backs, Bilal Powell and Victor Anderson, are good, but if the Quadz aren't able to throw the ball, then it'll be more of what we've come to expect from the Ville in the last few seasons. It's a home game, and Kentucky should win.
Florida: Tim Tebow+Gators = Kentucky loss.
Alabama: this was actually a winnable game for the Cats last year at Alabama, no less. The Tide are expected to be part of the triumvirate competing for the SEC West with LSU and Ole Miss, but they're breaking in a new quarter back in Greg
After the first four games: 2-2
Weeks 6-9: at South Carolina, at Auburn, Louisiana Monroe, Mississippi State.
At South Carolina: We've been hearing "this is the year Spurrier gets the Gamecocks' act together" since 200-something. Not that it matters to the Cats, as they can't ever seem to beat freaking Spurrier. The Cocks figure to compete for second or third in the East this year, but they've been known to totally melt down at varying points in the season of late. This is a possible win for the Cats, but I'm not counting on it.
At Auburn: What I wouldn't give to be one of the first teams to exploit Gene Chizik's first Auburn squad. Their defense should still be good, that we know, but they're susceptible to the long pass. The one play Kentucky hasn't proven they can make, of course. Kodi Burns can run but he's a decision making disaster. This, too, is probably a loss as it's hard to win on the road in the SEC, but it's not as iron-clad as some might think.
Louisiana Monroe: This game is one that the pundits are giving the Cats hell for. Some say "we're Kentucky and we need all the help in the win column we can get" and that's true. But it's not really respectable. No, the Cats might never be in BCS contention, but you've got to play some contenders to keep you sharp. That being said, an easier game after the road trips to Columbia and the Plains should be nice. Win.
Mississippi State: Dan Mullen's new squad shouldn't be much different from last years, though they might lose their only proven offensive threat in Anthony Dixon if that recent DUI arrest holds up. It's a home game, but State beat a good Kentucky team at home two years ago in one of the most frustrating performances of the 2007 season. I still think it's probably a win.
After the first eight games: Most likely 4-4. However, if the Cats are going to steal an extra SEC win, it will absolutely have to be the Carolina or Auburn game. It's not out of the picture to see 5-3 here.
Weeks 10-13: Eastern, at Vanderbilt, at Georgia, Tennessee.
Eastern: Win. For further discussion, see Louisiana Monroe, above.
At Vanderbilt: Tough, tough, tough to call. The Vandy game last year was a D.J. Moore induced nightmare. The year before was like watching two mules fight over a turnip. It's always something with these Commodores. Doormat Bowl 2009 promises to be no different. I do love Vandy's campus and their stadium is actually pretty nice, but the game in Nashville isn't necessarily a home field advantage for the 'Dores. Their defense is still largely intact, though maybe not as ball hawkish as last year's. The offense will hopefully be improved, but the line is suspect. Oh, and they haven't had a break all season long. I'm picking Kentucky, of course, but I can't say I'm terribly confident about it.
At Georgia: New quarterback, new running back, but probably the same old Georgia. That's not to say they're not beatable, they are. Kentucky beat them in a great game thanks to Trevard Lindley and Paul Warford two years ago, and almost replicated it at home last year. I don't think UGA will lose this one, but it might be close. Loss.
Tennessee: Kill. Get the damn monkey off your back. This will be Lane Kiffin's first Kentucky game. Kentucky hasn't beaten the Vols since I was three. Eric Berry is all you have to say about the defense. Jonathan Crompton is all you have to say about the offense. It's a home game. Screw it, I'm picking the Cats to win here.
Final tally: 7-5. I'd honestly be ecstatic about 7-5 given the schedule this year. It could just as easily be 5-7 with only one SEC win coming against MSU. Or Hartline could totally surprise everyone and live up to his All SEC nod and win (gasp) EIGHT games.
I'm so excited about football season in general I can't wait. This whole list might be complete crap. The Cats will no doubt turn my innards into oatmeal before the season's out, but it'll be worth it.
Tomorrow: pickin' on Vanderbilt.