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2023 Kentucky Football Foes: Vanderbilt

Revenge time in Nashville.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings, BBN!

We’ve now finally reached the point in our opponent previews where the Kentucky Wildcats won’t be double-digit home favorites but will actually have to battle a Power Five foe. Week 4 will have them playing in Nashville against ol’ Vandy, who caught the Cats napping last season in Lexington and dealt an extremely deflating November loss to Big Blue in a frigid wintry mix.

I’d like to say that the Cats will be remembering that loss and put on a performance that banishes all memory of that putrid, snowy defeat, but all I can say with any degree of certainty is that the weather should be much better this year on September 23rd (now watch as murder hornets, hail, and poison dart frogs descend on FirstBank Stadium).

Prior to last season, the Cats had won six straight vs. the Dores and will have revenge firmly on their minds in the Music City this year.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt

  • Time/Date: TBD time on September 23rd
  • Location: FirstBank Stadium
  • TV Channel: TBD
  • Early Odds: ESPN FPI gives the Cats a 74.4% chance of winning.

The Commodores, as we know, are usually the worst team in the league, and any conference wins for them at all are “upsets” as they often are lucky just to avoid losing 10+ games.

Last year Clark Lea finally got enough water bailed out of the orlop to float them up to five wins, which also included a 31-24 home win over Florida that made UK’s disaster with them the week before not look quite so horrible. They also won all but one of their non-conference games, taking two road wins over Hawaii (awesome road game to schedule) and Northern Illinois and only losing the fourth one to a ranked Wake Forest squad.

This team should be dangerous this year. While I think Kentucky’s by far the better team, Vandy was only a three-point loss to Missouri away from a bowl last season and is riding some positive momentum they haven’t had in ages. They also will enter this game with all four of their nonconference games under their belt and could very well be 3-1 and a few SEC home wins away from a return to bowl season.

This could be a make-or-break game for them, and while they’ll likely be heavy underdogs, they’ll certainly be keener to make than break.

It certainly doesn’t help the Dores that arguably their best offensive player last year, running back Ray Davis, is now a Wildcat. You know he’ll be looking to have a big outing in his old stomping grounds.

Another player who was key in that upset win in Lexington was quarterback Mike Wright, who also entered the portal and stayed within the SEC via Mississippi State.

Hard to stay competitive when your best players leave town for other conference schools.

Prediction: Hopefully, the three easy games preceding this don’t soften the Cats and put them off guard for the road trip. 4-0, but won’t be a cakewalk.

Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 19