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UK Football: Ranking the opponents for the upcoming season

With the season almost here, what games are the easiest and hardest of the upcoming season?

Mark Stoops Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

With the football season fast approaching, fans have to be getting excited for the first kickoff of the year and watching this year’s team take the field.

We are just days away from the first game of the year against Central Michigan, and teams are gearing up for the season ahead.

With that being said, I thought it would be a good idea to rank the games from easiest to hardest on the schedule this season and help fans get ready for the year.

12. Murray State

Murray is an FCS opponent and Kentucky is 220-72-10 all-time against the non-FBS teams, including a 1-0 record against Murray.

This game is schedule for a noon kickoff, meaning the players will be a little sluggish at kickoff, but in the end, the Cats should come away with a significant margin of victory.

11. Middle Tennessee State

The Cats are 2-0 all time against the Blue Raiders and are 22-3 overall against Conference USA teams.

Middle Tennessee State is not an opponent that the Cats can just overlook. They are going to be a high-powered offensive team with the ability to put up a lot of points if the Cats defense doesn’t show up to play.

However, this game falls on senior day, and with a senior-heavy defense, I doubt that we will have to worry about them not being ready to play.

10. Central Michigan

Central Michigan is the opening game of the season for the Cats, and all time Kentucky is 6-0 against the Chippewas. But despite them being a mid-major team, Kentucky must be ready because they are a true threat.

Central Michigan is on a streak of making it to four consecutive bowl game appearances and finished 8-5 a season ago. One thing that helps Kentucky is they lost a lot from last year and are expected to have a down year by their standards.

However, Kentucky can’t let their guard down or they can lose in the week one matchup.

9. Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt will be the easiest SEC team Kentucky faces all season, and they have the Dores at home. Vanderbilt lost a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, so you can expect them to give up a ton of points this season.

The only good thing for Vandy is their QB Kyle Shurmur, he proved to be a good passer last season as he was 2nd in the SEC, but despite that, Kentucky should be able to handle Vandy fairly easily.

8. @ Tennessee

Its no secret that historically Kentucky hasn’t faired well when going on the road to Tennessee see that they haven’t won there since 1984.

However, this is going to be the Cats best chance in a long time to do so seeing that Tennessee is going to a tragic this season. They will be getting settled with a new coach and if Kentucky can come out strong they could make the Vols quit early and get a big road victory.

7. @ Louisville

As we all know, Louisville lost Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson, and they also lost a lot of help on the defensive side. Louisville is going to have some growing pains with their new QB and the defense will struggle.

With that being said, Louisville will still be a decent team capable of making a bowl game, but Kentucky should be capable of going into Cardinal Stadium and coming away with a victory.

6. South Carolina

Kentucky has now defeated South Carolina four straight seasons looking for five, but this will be a tough game to pull out. South Carolina won 8 games a year ago and are returning a ton of talent that will make them hard to beat.

I still believe Kentucky will come away with the win, but it will not be a cakewalk by any means and they will have to do their best to slow down Jake Bentley who is going to have a good season for USC.

5. @ Missouri

Missouri is easily going to be one of the higher scoring games we will see all season. Kentucky should be able to have a field day with their defense that will be giving up a ton of points.

However, at the same time, the Tigers are going to be a very talented offensive team and despite the expected success of Kentucky’s experienced defense, it will be hard to stop this offensive attack.

4. Mississippi State

Mississippi State has been a team Kentucky struggled with while Dan Mullen was at the helm. With his departure, Kentucky should be able to take control of the all-time record…eventually.

Kentucky is 22-23 vs the Bulldogs, but the game this season is going to be tough with Nick Fitzgerald as the QB. He is going to be the toughest matchup for the Cats with his ability to throw the ball and he will take off and run.

As we know, Kentucky has never been able to deal with a QB that can run, and he will do a good job at testing the Cats with that.

3. @ Texas A&M

Kentucky is 1-1 against the Aggies and haven’t played them since 1953 when they lost 7-6, so history doesn’t give us any indication on how these teams have matched up over the years.

However, going on the road at A&M is not going to be easy, as Kyle Field is an extremely tough place to play. This game falls the week before the BYE week for Kentucky, which is usually the time where the team is tired and needs the week off the get some guys back to 100%.

2. @ Florida

I don’t need to talk about the history with the Gators, but in the Week 2 matchup, Kentucky could catch the Gators still trying to figure themselves out under new head coach Dan Mullen.

It’s not question the stadium will be going crazy and Kentucky will have a hard time hearing all night, but maybe, just maybe, the Cats can get an unorganized Florida team and finally get the much-needed streak ending victory.

1. Georgia

Georgia is coming off a massive successful season and is going to be insanely talented. Georgia is definitely the team to beat in the East and despite it being at home, Kentucky is going to have a very hard time knocking off the Bulldogs who could easily be in the top 4 when they travel to Lexington.