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Kentucky Football record for the 2023 season projected by 247 Sports

Can Kentucky exceed expectations once again?

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

It is February and the sports world is starting to aim its focus on college basketball, but that doesn’t mean it is too early for some college football projections. Earlier this week, Brad Crawford of 247 Sports released his win projections for every team in the SEC.

With Liam Coen back as offensive coordinator and bringing in Devin Leary to pair with some explosive and young talent, the Kentucky Wildcats are hoping to improve on a 7-6 season. Yet Crawford is not buying in, giving Kentucky the fourth-lowest win projection in the conference at 6.5 wins.

Here is their reasoning.

“Kentucky gets an entire month of football to work in NC State transfer quarterback Devin Leary as the team’s new starter under Liam Coen, who has returned to the Bluegrass to call plays. The Wildcats should be at least a touchdown favorite in every contest until Florida comes to Lexington to end the first month on Sept. 30. The final five weeks of the season will determine Kentucky’s fate. Those matchups include Tennessee, at Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina and Louisville on the road.”

This projection may seem low based on the fact that the Wildcats have won at least seven games in six of the last seven seasons, with the exception being a 2020 season (5-6) where 10 conference games were played. However, they will play one of the toughest schedules in the country next season.

Headlined by probable losses to Alabama and Georgia, Kentucky will only be a heavy favorite in four games, interestingly their first four games of the season - Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Akron, and Vanderbilt.

The most difficult part of evaluating the outlook on the season is the number of 50/50 games on the schedule, mentioned by Crawford, such as Florida, at South Carolina, and Tennessee among others.

With that said, Mark Stoops and Co. have excelled when an underdog and the Wildcats will look to exceed expectations once again.

Here is a look at what the projections look like for the rest of the SEC.