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Early Kentucky Football Preview: Vanderbilt

An opportunity to end the SEC slate on a high note.

Kentucky v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Of all the SEC teams UK plays, Vanderbilt is almost always the easiest game on the slate.

That doesn’t mean the score isn’t close, but the Cats are riding a five-game winning streak against Vandy into 2021 and look to extend it to six this year.

Vanderbilt and Kentucky played very close contests at Kroger Field in 2016, 2018, and 2020, with UK winning 20-13, 14-7, and 38-35.

In Nashville, it’s been an entirely different story, as the 2017 and 2019 meetings became 44-21 and 38-14 UK blowouts. Kentucky has to play four SEC road games every year, but it greatly benefits them when one of them is in Nashville.

The all-time series is in UK’s favor 47-42-4, thanks to the current win streak. However, few people know that Vandy started this series off with 16 consecutive victories between 1896 and 1939.

So since the beginning of World War II, UK has gone 47-26-4.

Pretty dominant, eh?

The Cats amassed a six-game streak in the ‘70s and ‘80s, their longest in the series, and can match that this year. The Commodores just went through a coaching change and will likely continue struggling for another couple years before possibly climbing rungs in the SEC ladder. This game is a great opportunity for UK to snag another well-earned SEC win and improve their bowl destination prospects.

I’m thinking that Kentucky will be 6-3 going into this game, coming fresh off of a win vs Tennessee. With a win here, a cupcake game vs. New Mexico State, and defending the Governor’s Cup against Louisville, this might make the difference between the Citrus and Music City Bowl.

Kentucky will have to be careful to not get sneaked up on, but this should be a comfortable win. It might also be the difference between a 5-3 SEC record and a 4-4. I’m betting it’ll get em to 5-3.

Prediction: Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 17