The Kentucky Wildcats hope to have another special year on the gridiron when the 2023 season kicks off, especially after last season’s disappointing ending.
Despite Will Levis being one of the top quarterbacks taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Cats really underperformed their expectations, losing six of their final nine games after starting 4-0.
2023 could be different in a big way, as they retooled their offense which will now be captained by former Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen.
Devin Leary, an NC State transfer, will be the starting quarterback and had a 35-touchdown season in 2021 with the Wolfpack. The ceiling, especially for the offense with an improved offensive line, is sky-high.
However, the Cats are in the SEC, the toughest conference in football, and they’ll once again have one of the hardest schedules in the sport.
According to ESPN’s FPI, Kentucky sports the 13th most-difficult schedule next season. Ole Miss (first), Florida (third), Auburn (fifth), and Arkansas (sixth) make up four of the top six, with the Big Ten’s Minnesota (second) and Maryland (fourth) in there as well.
There are six SEC teams above the Wildcats. The Cats play a relatively easy first month, taking on Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Akron, and Vanderbilt. It gets far more difficult after that with matchups against Florida and at Georgia.
Kentucky has continually improved under Mark Stoops, although many could consider last season a drawback. Stoops has captained the Cats for the last 10 seasons, making a bowl appearance in the last seven. He’s gone above .500 in six of the last seven seasons and even notched double-digit wins in two of those five years.
While the SEC will be a challenge, expect Stoops and his players to be ready for the battles ahead.