Now, we can really start looking ahead to next season, as the SEC just announced the full schedule for all 14 members for the 2021 campaign.
For now, 2021 will be a normal schedule for all 14 members, featuring four non-conference games and eight league games. That was the case this time last year for the 2020 season, but the coronavirus forced the league to adopt a 10-game all-SEC schedule. Depending on how things go with the virus this year, don’t be surprised if a similar move is made later this year.
As it stands, Kentucky’s 2021 season will begin at home vs. the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks out of the Sun Belt, who finished 0-10 this past season. Other notable Week 1 games in the league include Georgia vs. Clemson and Louisville vs. Ole Miss.
Week 2 will be Kentucky’s SEC opener, as the Missouri Tigers will invade Kroger Field looking to end a three-game skid to the Cats when playing in Lexington.
Week 3 will see the Cats host FCS foe Chattanooga, followed by a Week 4 road clash with South Carolina. I think it goes without saying that for Kentucky to have a special season, a 4-0 start vs. this schedule is highly encouraged.
Week 5 will be Kentucky’s first test against the big dogs of the SEC East, as Florida will be in town and potentially sporting a top-10 ranking yet again.
Things won’t get much easier in Week 6 when the LSU Tigers come to Lexington. It was just two seasons ago that LSU won the national championship, and they should be one of the top teams in the SEC West this season. This will also be the first meeting in Lexington between the two schools since that memorable 2007 overtime win vs. the eventual national champion Tigers.
Capping off what will be one of the most challenging three-game stretches in recent memory will be a road game at Georgia, another likely preseason top-10 team. Getting out of this three-game stretch with just one win will be extremely challenging, but at least two of them are at home.
After that brutal stretch, Kentucky will get a much-needed bye week, then have a great chance to end the regular season on a high note with four games vs. teams that finished 2020 with a losing record, as well as New Mexico State out of the WAC.
That begins with a Week 9 road game at Mississippi State. This will be a challenge in Year 2 of the Mike Leach era, but a very winnable game nonetheless.
The following week will see a Tennessee team likely in a major rebuild under a new coach traveling to Lexington. This is a game Kentucky absolutely has to win against a program that’s had its number but should endure some major struggles in 2021.
Kentucky’s final SEC game comes in Week 11 against a Vanderbilt team that should once again be the league’s worst team, so a can’t-lose game for the Cats.
After a Week 12 cupcake matchup with New Mexico State, Kentucky’s regular season ends with the annual Governor’s Cup, which takes place at Louisville this season.
Kentucky Football 2021 Schedule
Week 1 Sep. 4: ULM Warhawks
Week 2 Sep. 11: Missouri Tigers
Week 3 Sep. 18: Chattanooga Mocs
Week 4 Sep. 25: at South Carolina Gamecocks
Week 5 Oct. 2: Florida Gators
Week 6 Oct. 9: LSU Tigers
Week 7 Oct. 16: at Georgia Bulldogs
Week 8 Oct. 23: BYE Week
Week 9 Oct. 30: at Mississippi State Bulldogs
Week 10 Nov. 6: Tennessee Volunteers
Week 11 Nov. 13: at Vanderbilt Commodores
Week 12 Nov. 20: New Mexico State Aggies
Week 13 Nov. 27: at Louisville Cardinals
Week 14 Dec. 4: SEC Championship Game
With everything Kentucky has in place, 2021 has the potential to be another special season of football in the Bluegrass!