The Kentucky Wildcats have an opportunity this Saturday to make a massive statement and a chance to take control of the SEC East race.
Off to a 5-0 start following a 33-14 dominating win over the Florida Gators, the Cats now turn their attention to the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, the Georgia Bulldogs.
Kentucky will hit the road to Athens for their matchup against the Bulldogs as they look to improve to 6-0 to start the season. The Dawgs enter the game as 14.5-point favorites via DraftKings SportsBook, so few will be picking Kentucky to pull off what would easily be one of, if not the biggest upset of the college football season thus far.
With the game just a few days away, let’s take a look at the reasons why the Cats can and can’t go into Athens and pull off the program-changing upset.
Why Kentucky Can’t Beat Georgia
Georgia doesn’t lose at home at night
There is no doubt that Georgia is on an impressive run of being one of the most dominant teams in college football. What is impressive about the Bulldogs is the fact that when the lights come on in Athens, they don’t lose.
In fact, the Bulldogs have not lost a home game under the lights since November 21, 2009. However, the team that defeated them that night was Kentucky in a thrilling 34-27 win for the Cats.
If Kentucky is going to pull off the upset, they will have to do something that hasn’t been done in 13 years.
History is not on Kentucky’s side
Since taking over as the head coach in Lexington, Stoops has yet to notch his first win over the Bulldogs, as he is 0-10 against the SEC East foe.
Overall, Georgia has defeated Kentucky 13 times in a row, with the last win being that 2009 thriller, and they hold a 62-12-2 overall record and a 31-4-2 record when they face the Cats in Athens.
Georgia is currently on the school’s longest winning streak as they have won 22 consecutive games, with their last loss coming at the hands of Alabama in the 2021 SEC Championship Game.
As for the regular season, Georgia holds the longest active win streak at 32 straight wins, with their last regular-season loss coming back in 2020 against Florida.
Georgia has won their last 22 games in Athens and is just two away from the all-time record in school history (24) that was set from 1980-1983. This current home winning streak started back in 2019 with a 21-0 win over Kentucky.
The Bulldogs have arguably the best player in college football
When the Cats and Bulldogs take the field on Saturday, it will be Georgia that has the best player on the field.
Tight end Brock Bowers is an absolute headache for opposing defenses and could be considered the best player in the country regardless of position. There’s no question he’s far and away this defense has faced this season.
In last week’s win over Auburn, Bowers hauled in eight receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown. He has racked up 23 total touchdowns in his career, which is third in school history.
Kentucky’s defense will have to know where Bowers is at all times and not let the superstar tight end get free.
Why Kentucky Can Beat Georgia
Ray Davis against the Georgia rushing defense
Georgia was able to come away with a narrow victory over Auburn on Saturday, but the one thing that Auburn did was run the ball all over the Georgia defense.
The Tigers racked up 219 yards on the ground on Saturday and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
This is encouraging for the Cats, considering the fact that standout running back Ray Davis just rushed for 280 yards on the Gators’ stout rushing defense, and overall, Kentucky rushed for 329 yards (9.1 per carry).
On average, Georgia is giving up 3.9 yards per carry, ranking ninth in the SEC. Hopefully, the Cats can produce a rushing attack like we saw on Saturday against the Gators.
Kentucky’s defense has been outstanding
So far this season, we are seeing why Brad White is one of the best in the business, as Kentucky’s defense has been very impressive through five weeks.
Georgia likes to do most of their damage on the ground, and Kentucky has been excellent at stopping the ground attack.
Kentucky is currently second in the SEC in rushing defense, allowing just 75 yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry.
There is no doubt that Kentucky has one of the best defensive lines in the country, and if they prove that again on Saturday, Kentucky’s chances of pulling off the upset rise.
This could be the kind of game that helps springboard White into becoming a prime head-coaching candidate this offseason.
The SEC is down, and Kentucky has recently played Georgia well
Georgia has not shown the ability to steamroll a team like we have seen in recent years.
South Carolina went into Athens and made that a game until Georgia ultimately pulled away in the end. Just last week, Auburn took Georgia down right to the very end.
In recent years, Kentucky has played Georgia very well. Even last year, when Kentucky was struggling, they made Georgia work for the 16-6 win. It seems like the Georgia-Kentucky matchup always features the Dawgs grinding out the win.
The fact that the SEC seems to be in a down year, coupled with the fact that Stoops and the Cats have played the Bulldogs tough, makes an upset on Saturday realistic.
There is no doubt that Kentucky going into Athens and taking down the No. 1 team in the country is going to be a very hard task, but this time around, it just feels like a more realistic chance.
Why do you think Kentucky can or cannot go into Athens and get the win? Let us know in the comments section!