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Kentucky Football: The Athletic projects UK’s SEC record

Is this the year the Cats finish with a winning SEC record?

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Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

This spring’s departure of veteran quarterback Stephen Johnson certainly decreased hopes for the 2018 University of Kentucky Football season.

However, with a stronger Benny Snell, bolstered offensive line, return of CJ Conrad and a defense full of high-flying, hard-hitting veterans, it’s hard to see them taking a dip if not posting a better record.

The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel, though, wrote in his 2018 SEC Football Predictions that he has Kentucky going 4-4 in the conference and 7-5 overall.

It’s easy to point out that Kentucky should win their season opener at home against Central Michigan. While Week 2 in Gainesville is questionable, Kentucky should cruise to a bounce back home win over Murray State.

At 2-1, it’s doubtful Kentucky can top Mississippi State even at Kroger Field. But, like Florida, the Bulldogs have a new head coach and could potentially steal a game at home.

For argument's sake, let’s say they drop their home game with Miss St. Sitting at 2-2 (0-2 in conference), they host South Carolina and go to Texas A&M. They’ll probably split these two, winning the former and dropping the latter.

This gets them to 3-3 and 1-3 in-conference. Before they host the national champion runner-up Georgia Bulldogs, they’ll likely be gifted two wins hosting Vanderbilt and at Missouri.

After an assumed defeat by Georgia, they’d sit at 5-4 and 3-4 in conference. A road win at a rebuilding Tennessee would have them at 6-4, 4-4 in conference. Throw in a win at their last home game over Middle Tennessee State, along with a tough road win at Louisville and you get an 8-4 overall record while going 4-4 in-conference.

Mandel’s 4-4 prediction isn’t crazy, but that’s with Kentucky dropping both the Florida and Mississippi State games. It wouldn’t be asinine to think they would win one of the two, getting them to 9-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.

Elsewhere, Bruce Feldman’s prediction piece has Kentucky going 3-5 in the SEC and finishing 6-6 overall

What do you think Kentucky’s SEC record will be?