NCAA Football

Breaking Down Kentucky’s Last Five Games

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It’s crunch time in college football.  The power conferences are all taking shape and the first week of the BCS has been revealed. 

So far this season we have seen plenty of what college football has to offer.  We have seen upsets as we do every season,  we have seen Boise State run through their conference like they have been doing for years and we have seen some of the smaller schools getting a chance to make some noise. Boise State, TCU and Utah are all within the top 10 in the country.

The next six weeks will be the defining moments for most teams in college football.  Most coaches have seen what their team has to offer and should be able to get rid of the kinks that have been plaguing their teams.  The SEC has been the toughest conference in college football yet again but what is different about the conference this year is that all the dominant teams are from the SEC west.

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The SEC west currently has five of its six teams in the top 25, the lone wolf being Ole Miss.  Of those five teams three are in the top 10.  Aurburn has looked unbelievable, Alabama despite losing to South Carolina has been rolling over teams, and LSU has maybe the luckiest coach in the country but hey sometimes that’s all it takes.

In the SEC east it has been a completely different story.  There is one ranked team, South Carolina, that could be on its way out the door if Marcus Lattimore misses any significant playing time with his injury suffered against Kentucky.  Florida and Georgia have shared the title as the most inconsistent teams in college football this season.  Vanderbilt and Tennessee have just been as bad as everyone predicted.

This brings me to the Wildcats.  The ‘Cats, you can argue have been inconsistent as well this season.  Or you could look at it this way and say they have beat the teams they were expected to beat (other than South Carolina) and loss to the teams everyone predicted them to lose to.  The Wildcats are sitting at 4-3 (1-3) and things look promising.  They have five games left, four of which are conference games and one non-conference game against Charleston Southern.  Lets break down each of these five games:

Oct.23 vs. Georgia

Georgia started off this season looking incredibly weak.  Nothing was working for the Bulldogs and it showed.  The low point of their season was a loss to Colorado who is still yet to pick up another win so far this season.  The Bulldogs started off the season playing without stud wide-out A.J. Green, who would have made a definite impact.  Even with him back the Bulldogs have looked beatable.

They have beaten Tennessee and Vandy, arguably the two worst teams in the SEC but they have scored over 80 points in those two games.  The offense is beginning to come around which isn’t good but it could be worse for the Wildcats.

The Bulldogs starting quarterback Aaron Murray is only a freshman but he has been pretty good this season.  He has thrown for 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns.  He still has some maturing to do but this guy is one of my favorites in the SEC and in the future will be a dominant player in college football.

When it comes down to it Georgia is beatable and Kentucky has shown that the past two out of three years.  The ‘Cats beat Georgia last year in Athens and would love to take it to a two game winning streak after this weekend.  With the momentum coming into this weekends game, the Wildcats have all the possibility of picking up the win.

Oct. 30 @ #24 Mississippi State

If you ask me MSU is a tad overrated. What have they really done to earn their ranking? Beat a weak Florida Gator team? Here take a look at the quality teams that MSU have beaten to get them ranked: Memphis, Georgia (minus A.J. Green), Alcorn State, Houston and Florida.

They lost to the only two challenges they have really had this season, LSU and Auburn.  If you think about it MSU is on the same level as the Wildcats. Playing them on the road is not going to be an easy task but it is a very winnable game. They have a pretty good run game in Vick Ballard who has rushed for 11 touchdowns this season.

Other than the running game the offense doesn’t have many weapons.  Now, the defense is another monster.  The Bulldogs defense is 13th in the country in points against, only giving up about 16 points a game.  It looks like this match is shaping up to be a battle of the Kentucky offense vs. the Bulldogs defense.

If Kentucky can score and get the offense going then MSU is going to have a difficult time stopping the Wildcats.  Kentucky has proven their ability to score points against the top SEC teams.

Nov. 6 vs. Charleston Southern

Who? But in all honesty I am not going to spend much time on these guys. This was a perfect game to schedule. Give the Wildcats a little bit of a break before heading down to Knoxville.  The Wildcats should have zero problems in this game.

Nov. 13 vs. Vanderbilt

Vandy is about to start a very terrible stretch of games.  They play South Carolina, Arkansas, and Florida before coming to Lexington to play the ‘Cats.  Presuming they are still alive after those three games (which is not a stretch of the imagination) then it is not going to be a walk in the park coming into Commonwealth Stadium.

When looking at the Commodores roster there isn’t really anything scary about it.  Kentucky on paper is a better team and especially at home.  Kentucky has a chance at this point to pick up a big conference win before heading down to Tennessee.

My prediction is if Kentucky is able to beat Vandy in this game then they will be able to head to Knoxville and beat the Volunteers. Something they have not been able to do in a long time.

Nov. 27 @ Tennessee

The rivalry game we have been waiting for since last season.  The ‘Cats had the Volunteers in their grasps last season but were unable to capture the win in Lexington.  It has been no secret that Tennessee has been bad this season.  That being said, a rivalry game is never an easy game to win. There is never a true favorite.

They have a young team and a new coach which is putting them through a transition period.  This is the best opportunity the ‘Cats have had at beating Tennessee in a long time. I know that Kentucky fans have been saying this for the past four years but come on don’t you all think so? They have no threat in any aspect of their offense and their defense has looked bad against everybody but Tennessee-Martin. (I’ll also give them LSU, maybe one of the cheapest wins of Les Miles year so far)

It is a winnable game and you would be kidding yourself to think that Randall Cobb would not like this one versus his home state.  If you think it was crazy beating Steve Spurrier imagine what it would be like beating Tennessee.

When It Is All Said And Done

If Kentucky were able to run the table and finish the season 9-3 (4-3) then not only would it most likely place them second overall in the SEC east but it would get them out of the Autozone Liberty Bowl and put them in a game that could help them and the university for years to come.

To make a bigger bowl game would be a huge win in the recruiting world for the Wildcats and it would generate some profit for the athletic department as well.  It can be done but will it is the better question?