Well, after last night’s disappointing performance against a Florida team many fans and experts weren’t too confident about, there’s nowhere to look now but to the future. Things will certainly not get any easier for Kentucky, as it is in the midst of the hardest portion of the schedule right now. People say the SEC might not be as strong as it has been in years past, but for Kentucky, every single weekend features playing time against the best athletes in the nation. Lets take a look at the upcoming opponents for the Cats and see just how well they’ve done up to this point in the season.
No. 13 South Carolina
The Gamecocks enter this weekends match up with UK with a 3-1 record, 1-1 in the SEC. They have defeated North Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Central Florida and their lone blemish was a high scoring affair against Georgia. The last time Kentucky beat South Carolina on the road in Columbia was October of 1999, a season that USC did not win a game. The Cats will face off against another back up QB after an injury to the starter Connor Shaw, but it will take a heroic effort from Kentucky to keep this within shouting distance.
No. 1 Alabama
Roll Tide right? Alabama is in the midst of one of the most dominating stretches of college football we’ve seen in a very long time. They have won the past two national championships, and seem virtually unstoppable. Nick Saban has found a way to turn his players into athletic robots, and this will undoubtedly be the hardest match up for the Cats all season. The Crimson Tide come into this game undefeated at 4-0 (2-0 SEC) after just having dismantled Ole Miss last night. They escaped with a seven point victory on the road against Texas A&M, but don’t think for a second the Tide won’t be ready. The Aggies scored 42 points against Bama and STILL lost. UK’s offense will have to fight not to be shut out in this one.
The Bulldogs sit at 2-2 on the season, with not many people talking about them around the SEC. In the SEC West, if you aren’t great, you’re gonna be average, that has been the case for State the past few seasons as Dan Mullen has tried to bring this program to elite status. MSU has not beaten a BCS school yet this season, but they will get a chance this weekend as the LSU Tigers come to town. The Cats will travel to Starkville on a Thursday night in this one, and this will be a good test to see how Kentucky has responded following the gauntlet of four straight games against top 15 teams. Stoops will try to notch a tough nosed road victory in this one.
Ahh….FCS teams. These are the ones that Kentucky is more than capable of handling. Most times. The Hornets are 3-2 on the season so far, the the November game against Kentucky is their only competition all season from a BCS team. The Cats should easily handle ASU at home, but the real question is how many people will show up for this game with the possibility of just a one win Kentucky team playing a very sub-par opponent? Only time will tell…
The Tigers of Missouri are sitting pretty at 4-0 this season after head coach Gary Pinkel realized playing in the SEC is kinda hard, and he scheduled cupcake city to start the year off. Mizzou has beaten Toledo, Indiana, Murray State and Arkansas State so far, and now enter eight straight games of conference foes. There is a lot we don’t know about Missouri, so we all have a lot to learn, but the reality of this team will become clearer as they travel to Vanderbilt and Georgia the next two weeks. The Cats play the Tigers at home this year, so there could be a possibility of sneaking in a SEC victory over Mizzou if they are weaker than most other teams in the conference.
Once Kentucky emerges from the insanely tough first half of the season, there are real opportunities for growth and competition among the games in the latter portion of the schedule. Gotta stay positive my friends, Rome wasn’t built in a day.