We have had a few days to let the Florida victory settle in, and the game against Murray State on Saturday is nearly here.
The win has excited the BBN fanbase possibly more than any other Kentucky Football game in the Mark Stoops era with the 2016 Louisville win the only real competition.
But with that now come higher expectations for this Wildcats team, and understandably so. The win opens up some things for the season, but just how high should expectations be?
Going into the season, most fans predicted either 6 or 7 wins for the Wildcats, with some a little more optimistic at 8 wins. All that is still on the table, but despite the euphoria from Saturday, we have to look at the rest of the schedule which contains plenty of difficult matchups and toss-up games. There is a reason for optimism and higher expectations, but the road ahead is not an easy one.
Kentucky still has to beat Murray State on Saturday, which shouldn’t be a problem, putting the Wildcats at 3-0 going into a huge three-game stretch. Home games against Mississippi State and South Carolina, followed by a road trip to College Station to play Texas A&M. All three games could be wins, all three could be losses. Both scenarios are unlikely as Kentucky probably goes either 2-1 or 1-2 through that stretch.
To me, this is the most critical stretch of the season. Mississippi State has a legitimate claim to be the second-best team in the SEC West with Auburn right now, South Carolina has a solid blend of talent and experience, and I think Kentucky and Texas A&M aren’t far apart talent-wise, but being in College Station, winning in that environment is a tall task. It will be critical that Kentucky wins at least 1 of 3 during that stretch.
Beyond that, Kentucky gets a three-game stretch where they host Vanderbilt, travel to Columbia to take on a high-powered Missouri squad, and then host Georgia, the heavy favorite to win the division and a top contender to make the CFB Playoff. Kentucky should be a favorite at home against Vandy and while an upset of Georgia isn’t out of the realm, I wouldn’t put money on it. The Bulldogs showed how talented they are by throttling South Carolina on Saturday. So the key game is that road date with Missouri. Drew Lock and Co. have an efficient machine running at Mizzou and Kentucky’s defense will have their hands full. If Kentucky comes away 2-1 during that stretch, they’re sitting pretty headed into the home stretch.
The final three games of the season include road matchups in Knoxville and Louisville against the Volunteers and the Cardinals. Although on the road, these are games that Kentucky could potentially be favored in or just a slight underdog. In theory, based on what we have seen so far, these are games Kentucky could win but they also could very easily lose. While Tennessee and Louisville have both struggled in the first two weeks, it is a long time until November and there is plenty of time to turn things around. Sandwiched between is Senior Day against Middle Tennessee State, a team Kentucky cannot overlook between two big rivalry games.
All that said, Kentucky should have higher expectations. With the Florida win notched under their belt, it’s not out of the realm to think Kentucky could hit 8 or even 9 wins. However, football is unpredictable and Kentucky has shown that while they can win some unexpected games, they can drop games they should win.
Buckle up, this season is just getting started.
Tweets of the Day
Benny for Heisman https://t.co/wRGprp7TB6— Austin MacGinnis (@AMacGinnis8) September 11, 2018
We’re right there with you Austin.
Keldon Johnson has love for the family. #PhotoDay pic.twitter.com/FVY0CXdcfL— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) September 11, 2018
Keldon is going to be a fan favorite on this team.
Kash Daniel is the folk hero Kentucky Football needs - Kentucky Sports Radio
Daniel has been a key part of the Wildcats defense early on and is capturing the heart of the BBN.
Kentucky’s offensive line fueling early success - Lexington Herald Leader
The Wildcats have a top 15 rushing attack nationally two games in, and much of the credit goes to the guys up front.
Hale: Wilson’s turnovers are worth the payoff - Courier Journal
Turnovers can be frustrating and come at the most inopportune times, but Wilson brings elements to the table no other Wildcats quarterback can.
Eddie Gran pleased with explosive offensive plays - Cats Pause
The Wildcats OC wants to see that trend continue, and said that they still have to work on limiting turnovers.
UK Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony set for Sept. 21 - UK Athletics
Inductees include Anthony Davis, Victoria Dunlap, Jacob Tamme, Eric Quigley, Dennis Emery, and Russ Cochran.
Checkerboard basketball uniforms are here to stay - Kentucky Sports Radio
Love them or hate them, it looks like the Wildcats will be wearing the checkerboard uniforms on the hardwood this year.
No. 7 Men’s Soccer remains unbeaten with a draw against Xavier - UK Athletics
The Wildcats remain unbeaten through five games, the first time that has happened in nearly a decade.
Best and worst case scenarios for top 25 teams in CBB - ESPN
Kentucky’s best case scenario is obviously a national championship.
Texas A&M named most valuable college football program - ESPN
The Aggies benefited from conference revenue from the SEC.
Jumbotron at George Washington University collapses - Bleacher Report
Luckily, nobody was injured in the incident.
Dartmouth hires first full-time female football coach - Yahoo Sports
Callie Brownson has made quite the impression on Dartmouth players and coaches
Does Dez Bryant have a burner Twitter account? - Blogging the Boys
“Either Dez wanted to pat himself on the back or Dez thought he was agreeing himself with a different account. You decide.”
Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya says he is running for president - USA Today
Well, that should be interesting.
One Day Away - Seth Davis, The Athletic
Not a quick read, but I highly recommend reading this piece on Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley and his experience on 9/11/01. It’s a fascinating story, and it is not behind the paywall at The Athletic.