The University of Kentucky has a intriguing role to play in the SEC.
If all goes well in the non-conference games, then only two games out of the eight will be needed to get bowl eligible for the third in a year.
That will be the first time that has happened sine Bear Bryant was the head coach.
First is the SEC games away:
- Alabama is a physical game for the Cats. The Kentucky offense is very young and needs to prove it can hang with some of the SEC's elite. UK will be overmatched and overplayed. Alabama is too strong on both sides of the ball. Kentucky's defense is strong but won't win the game. Kentucky will have its first setback of the year, 24-10.
- Florida is in the swamp and is a very hostile place for a young Kentucky offense. Kentucky's defense will be good again but the offense struggles and Cats fall 27-7.
- Mississippi State knows that Kentucky has revenge on its mind and won't be able to stop them. Kentucky's defense will stop State's offense and produce scores for the Kentucky offense. Kentucky wins 24-10.
- Tennessee could be healing their wounds and in trouble. Kentucky could come out on top, but it will be a close like the previous few years. Flip a coin, mine says Vols 13-10.
Now there are the home games:
- South Carolina and Arkansas are must wins. They need to win half the home games. The crowd will be into both games and get to each. Both games bring two teams in that are inconsistent like Kentucky. The defense shuts the door on both. Cats over Gamecocks 24-17, Cats over Razorbacks 31-13.
- Georgia Bulldogs are powerful and very dangerous. UK can play a upset role if Georgia is looking past them. Georgia knows that Kentucky can do so, and don't want another game like two years ago. Georgia wins 17-14.
- Vanderbilt has shown they belong in the SEC. It is too early to know if they can hold on all year. This game can put the winner into a good bowl. UK's defense shuts down the 'Dores late and holds for a 24-17 victory.
If Kentucky can do everything above, then the record will stand at 8-4 with a trip to the Outback Bowl.
However, a few games could go either way and could mean a record of 6-6 and a trip up the road from Commonwealth to the Papa John's Bowl.
For this to be true, they have to get the offensive line in check. They have to hold the defensive line while the quarterback is passing. It also has to open holes to let the running backs hit them hard.
The young receivers have to step up, stop dropping balls and running wrong routes.
A consistent kicker could also help. Going 5-for-10 on field goals will not cut it, and in close games, it could mean a loss.
The defense will be the bread and butter. They can win games with that kind of defense. Jeremy Jarmon and Trevard Lindley are underrated at their positions. Look for the them to stay strong and lead the defense.
If offense and defense plays like the first two games, then expect a 8-4 record. If they play like the last game, then it will be more like 6-6.
It just looks like a cloud in the future of the big blue sky.