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Kentucky Football: What Lies Ahead

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The perception of overall success for this season is in flux and the road ahead will determine if this season is just the next step forward in rebuilding or if UK is well ahead of schedule.

Stacy Revere

his is an exciting time in Kentucky Football, success is not only on the horizon, it is on our doorstep.  The ‘Cats started out 5-1 with the signature win over Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks.  Now Verne and Gary are coming to Lexington tomorrow to call the CBS game of the week as Dan Mullen's Bulldogs come to Commonwealth as the #1 team in America.  The stage is set for Kentucky's front row seat on the biggest spotlight of the day, if you listen close you can already hear the commercial theme.

I wanted to take this time to look at the road ahead and see what lies in wait and opine on what the Wildcats will do from now until December... or January?  Back in July, I wrote an article asking if you were ready to see seven wins and the Cats to be this year's biggest surprises.  At that time, virtually nobody else was even venturing past five wins, much less six or even seven.  If I was optimistic then, surely I would think 8-9 wins is in the cards, right?  Not necessarily.

I felt like after the Mississippi State game we would be 5-3...  I still feel that way.  I think we do have a strong bounce back performance from last week's decimation.  I think we come away impressive and worthy of respect, but I do not think we pull it out.  I think Dak Prescott proves to be too much of a dual threat and ends up carrying the 'Dogs to the narrow win.  So, where would a somewhat disheartening two game losing streak leave us in regards to a bowl trip?

The short answer is beat up and possibly questioning ourselves, but I think it is clear that this is a new era in Big Blue football and we will not see the downward spiral that would have most certainly plagued teams of yesteryear.  The remaining schedule sets up pretty well for us to get 2-3 more wins and prove that UK Football has indeed turned the proverbial corner.

10/25/14

Vs. Mississippi State

Lexington, Ky.

3:30 p.m. ET

11/01/14

At Missouri

Columbia, Mo.

4:00 p.m. ET

11/08/14

Vs. Georgia

Lexington, Ky.

TBA

11/15/14

At Tennessee

Knoxville, Tenn.

TBA

11/29/14

At Louisville

Louisville, Ky.

TBA

There are multiple opinions that all four of those games are somewhat similar in terms of being winnable, I disagree.  While the game at Missouri is a very winnable game, a lot depends on the Jekyll and Hyde state of mind the Tigers seem to have.  Will the team that lost at home to Indiana, ha, show up or will the team that went to Gainesville and thoroughly embarrassed Florida show up?

Next comes Senior Day in Lexington against Georgia. This is the same Georgia team that nearly lost to Tennessee.  Historically we compete well with Georgia and even better in Lexington.  This season is different I think, the Bulldogs have a nasty running game and to put it mildly... we are BAD against the run.  With or without Todd Gurley, Georgia will likely run up and down the field.  The only hope I have is that we looked strong against LSU and Leonard Fournette until the game was no longer in doubt.

Travelling to Knoxville is never fun, and before the season started I chalked this up as another loss.  However, I think Tennessee is actually the most winnable game of the four.  In fact, it is a game where we could make a statement.  The Vols have one of the worst offensive lines in America, much less the SEC.  They had a net rushing yardage of ZERO, yes, ZERO net yards rushing against Ole Miss.  Tennessee has a putrid running game and it is our weakness defending the run, advantage Cats.  The blueprint for Justin Worley is pretty simply: make him move and he will make mistakes aplenty.  Bad offensive line + Bud Dupree, Big Z, Hatcher, and Matt Elam and the boys inside = potential disaster in Knoxville for The Big Orange.

In the finale at Louisville, it is simple: they have a very good defense, but the offense is average at best.  Kentucky has feasted on average to below average offenses this season, and while it will help having Devante Parker back,  this is a borderline SHOULD win game.

I think we still finish 7-5 with the next two wins being from the pool of Missouri, Tennessee, and Louisville.  I think if one or two of those games were in Lexington, I would feel very confident of a sweep of those three.  However, it is hard to win on the road and even harder to win on the road in the SEC so 2 of 3 would be a HUGE accomplishment.

Coach Mark Stoops has turned the Commonwealth back into football fans, and the best part of all this is how far ahead of schedule he has the program.  The future is so bright for the Big Blue Nation and I just hope most fans can see that even if we only win one game from here on out, we will be 6-6 and going to a bowl.  The fact that this is not only a possibility but also a probability is nearly miracle work by the staff.

Get Ready BBN... even brighter days are ahead.