The Kentucky Wildcats stand at 5-1 coming out of their BYE week and they'll travel to the 3-2 Mississippi State Bulldogs this weekend to increase the tally in their win column.
The Bulldogs began their season with three blowout wins, with one of those being against then-12th-ranked LSU. However, LSU went on to lose in embarrassing fashion to Troy at home and the Bulldogs dropped two straight to Georgia and Auburn via a combined score of 80-13. They later got back in the win column with a winning decision of 35-10 over BYU.
The Wildcats haven't had near the schedule as Mississippi State but nonetheless have the better record. They struggled early with Southern Miss & Eastern Kentucky but went to South Carolina as decent underdogs and convincingly handled the Gamecocks.
It's not irrational to say the Cats are reasonable underdogs, as they're only getting a 21% chance via ESPN's Power Index to upset the Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. The ESPN Spread Consensus is 80% on the Bulldogs -11 as well. However, it's also not necessarily irrational to believe the Wildcats can pull out an upset.
Last season Kentucky faced the Bulldogs at then-Commonwealth Stadium and edged them with a last-second Austin MacGinnis field goal. Kentucky is virtually improved in most areas of the game and with the defense playing lights out, along with two weeks to nurse their nicks and bruises, I could see Kentucky making it extremely hard on the Bulldogs to score. I also see Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson having his best game of the year, as his team will likely need him to.
Here is the game-winning field goal hit by Austin MacGinnis last season to give Kentucky a 40-38 win over Mississippi State.
Kentucky Wildcats (5-1, 2-1 in SEC) at Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-2, 1-2 in SEC)
When: Saturday Oct. 21, 2017
Where: Wade Davis Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi
Game time: This matchup will not be slotted for the primetime window on SEC Network and instead will be played at 4 P.M. EDT.
TV: For TV coverage, SEC Network is the following channels for these providers: AT&T U-Verse - 607, DirecTV - 611 & Dish Network - 408.
Announcers: Taylor Zarzour (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst) and Olivia Harlan (sideline).
Online Stream: WatchESPN.
Radio: Tom Leach (play-by-play), Jeff Piecoro (analyst) and Dick Gabriel (sideline) will have the UK radio network on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington or online at UKAthletics.com.
Odds: The Bulldogs opened as 10-point favorites, and the line has risen as high as 12.
Weather: At Wade Davis Stadium the forecast is 80 degrees with partially cloudy skies.
Prediction: Picking with your heart over head is usually unwise so I'm going to stray away from that and just go with my gut. Kentucky is going to pull off the upset this week. Following an ugly first half of the season, yet still managing to be 5-1, the Wildcats have had too much time to not be ultimately prepared for this matchup. The final score will be 27-23 in favor of Kentucky.