Coming off arguably the worst loss of the Mark Stoops era, the Kentucky Wildcats will now limp into the final two weeks of the season just hoping to secure a winning season.
The Wildcats, 6-4 overall, face No. 1-ranked Georgia on Saturday at Kroger Field and will close out the regular season against in-state rival Louisville with a 6-6 season record now a very real possibility as the Bulldogs are a big favorite this week (-22.5) and the Cardinals are much improved with a recent win over No. 10-ranked Wake Forest.
Things went from bad to worse for the Wildcats last week as Vanderbilt broke a 26-game SEC losing streak with a late drive to beat UK 24-21. The wheels finally came off for the Kentucky offense in last week’s loss as the Wildcats had just 109 passing yards against a defense that ranks among the bottom in pass defense nationally.
Under first-year offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, Kentucky ranks dead last in total offense in the SEC and has yet to capitalize on the talents of quarterback Will Levis, running back Chris Rodriguez, and a core of quality wide receivers. The Wildcats have averaged just 23 points per game in a pro-style system that has been criticized as too methodical and overly complicated.
Although Stoops, now in his 11th season at Kentucky, has job security as the winningest coach in school history, some staff members may be on the “hot seat” as changes seem imminent, not only to improve the offense, but also to turn up the heat on recruiting, especially in the portal where Kentucky will be looking for a new quarterback and several players to strengthen the O-line that has given up more sacks than any other SEC team this season.
In reality, things could get ugly this week against the Bulldogs so keep a close eye on how the team reacts if Georgia continues to dominate the series as the Wildcats last beat Georgia during the 2009 season. In fact, Stoops remains winless against the Bulldogs, going 0-10 during his tenure at Kentucky.
As for Week 12 games, our Sea of Blue Staff remains in a battle for bragging rights in our weekly picks around the SEC so be sure to check out our predictions below.
Here’s hoping we can keep things close on this week’s CBS Game of the Week. Go Cats!
Ranked as a Top 25 team for most of the season, Kentucky is now just trying to hold on and make a positive last impression on the various Bowl committees. Ironically, it may come down to beating Louisville as there’s a big difference between a 7-5 record and finishing 6-6 with loses to Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Louisville.
Per the experts, we know that it’s almost certain that Kentucky will play in one of six Bowl games: the Music City Bowl, ReliaQuest Bowl, Gator Bowl, Texas Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, or Liberty Bowl. The Wildcats are currently on a four-game winning streak in Bowl Games under Stoops, beating Iowa 20-17 last season to win the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Around the SEC
Updated College Football Playoff Rankings
Georgia remains the undisputed No. 1 team in the country and is on the path to defending its national title. Tennessee and LSU are ranked 5th and 6th, respectively, with each team in the mix to get into the final four, depending on how Big Ten teams Ohio State (2) and Michigan (3) finish out the season. TCU (4) remains the big surprise of the college football season as the Horned Frogs remain undefeated at 10-0. Georgia and LSU now seem to be a lock to play in this year’s SEC championship game in December.
Future of SEC Scheduling
Earlier in the week, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey floated the idea that the conference might eliminate its current system of two football divisions (East and West) when Texas and Oklahoma join the league on July 1, 2025. Geographically, the two new schools are located to the Far West compared to other member schools, making it difficult to keep the current structure. Based on media reports, the SEC could move to a nine-game conference schedule with each team keeping three permanent rivalry games, such as border wars games like Kentucky/Tennessee, Alabama/Auburn, and Ole Miss/Mississippi State. The other six games would be on a rotation that would ultimately bring every team to Kroger Field. The top two teams in the 16-team conference would then play in the conference title game.
Auburn Coaching Search
The Auburn Tigers got back into the win column last week, beating Texas A&M 13-10 to give Interim Coach Cadillac Williams his first win. However, the buzz around the SEC is that Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin is now a serious candidate for the job with rumors that each side is inching closer to a deal. Kiffin, considered one of the nation’s top offensive minds, has turned the Rebels into an SEC contender in just three short years and has the ability to dominate the transfer portal which could quickly get the Auburn program back to national prominence. However, Auburn wants to move quickly to catch up in recruiting and you have to wonder if they’re willing to wait until after Bowl season to name a new head coach.
- Georgia 7-0
- Tennessee 5-1
- Florida 3-4
- Kentucky 3-4
- South Carolina 3-4
- Missouri 2-5
- Vanderbilt 1-5
- LSU 6-1
- Alabama 5-2
- Ole Miss 4-2
- Mississippi State 3-4
- Arkansas 2-4
- Auburn 2-5
- Texas A&M 1-6
SEC Football TV Schedule Week 12
- (1) Georgia at Kentucky (3:30 p.m. on CBS)
- (5) Tennessee at South Carolina (7:00 p.m. on ESPN)
- UAB at (6) LSU (9:00 p.m. on ESPN2)
- Austin Peay at (8) Alabama (12:00 p.m. on SEC Network+ | ESPN+)
- (14) Ole Miss at Arkansas (7:30 p.m. on SEC Network)
- Florida at Vanderbilt (12:00 p.m. on SEC Network)
- Western KY at Auburn (4:00 p.m. on SEC Network)
- ETSU at Mississippi St (12:00 p.m. on SEC Network+ | ESPN+)
- New Mexico St at Missouri (7:30 p.m. on ESPNU)
- UMass at Texas A&M (12:00 p.m. on SEC Network+ | ESPN+)