Today I want to look at the next four games on the schedule. This first half is pivotal for the program to take the steps it needs to start making noise in the conference and hopefully get back to getting to a bowl game yearly.
The way it usually works out Kentucky plays the hardest teams towards the end of the year. As evident by the 3-21 record in the 2nd half of the season in the last four years.
This year is no exception, as UK plays Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Austin Peay, and Louisville as our last six games. A realistic person would see two wins as a possibility and a third only if UK scores a big upset. With all that being said Barker and crew need to rack up some wins in the first six games.
New Mexico St.
This should be an easy win, NM St. played two SEC schools (Florida and Ole Miss) last year and got beat down in both games. The only won 3 games, and they were against Idaho, Texas St., and UL-Lafayette. If there's not a W on this game Stoops is in trouble.
This game has been a good one for Stoops and company in the last two years, but one big thing has changed, the HBC is gone, and Will Muschamp is in his place. Another thing that stands out is Pharoh Cooper and Skai Moore will not be playing for the Gamecocks this season. Cooper went to the NFL and Moore is sidelined with a herniated disc in his neck which requires surgery. I'm going to call this one a win, and it might not even be that close.
Loss. Try not to get hurt. Move on.
This to me is the most important game of the season. I know it's just Vandy and UK technically should win this game but after last year's debacle, Kentucky needs to start winning this game consistently. The defense will be tough, Derek Mason will have that unit ready and clicking on all cylinders by the time UK kicks off against them. Our defense should be able to keep the sputtering Vandy offense from getting traction. The big question is can UK take care of the ball and can our coaches handle the Commodores trickery? I think they can do it, it's a home, and Dawson is in Mississippi.
What will our record look like?
At the halfway point in the season, I have Kentucky at 4-2 and in good shape for a bowl game needing only two more wins.