Kentucky Football: 10 Reasons Why the Wildcats Will Beat the Florida Gators
You read the title correctly. There exists 10 reasons why the Kentucky Wildcats football team will be the Florida Gators on September 24th.
Kentucky is one season removed from a bowl trip and a signature win over eventual SEC East Champion South Carolina who was ranked tenth in the nation at the time.
Big Blue has a lot going for them, and the Gators have just as much going against them. Thus, my 10 reasons why Kentucky will be Florida are...
Trap Game for the Gators
The Florida Gators are going to get caught overlooking the hungry Kentucky Wildcats.
The Gators schedule after the Wildcats game is Alabama, at LSU, at Auburn, and Georgia. Gulp. I can't really blame them for looking ahead to that daunting lineup, but doing so is always a disaster.
The Wildcats will use quick scoring to shock the Gators, but a comeback from the orange and blue will be too little, too late.
Joker Phillips' first year at the head of the Wildcats has to be considered a moderate success.
His team went 6-6 in the regular season and earned a bowl trip. They were undefeated in their regular season non-conference schedule and had a big win over No. 10 South Carolina at home.
That's something to build on.
Florida, on the other hand, is in a state of transition. To say it's a state of disarray is an exaggeration, but it's not far-fetched to say that the future of their coaching staff hangs by a thread.
Unproven head coach Will Muschamp is a master of defense, and his offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, is equally knowledgeable about offense.
I'm afraid that if Muschamp is unhappy in anyway with the offense, Weis could try to overpower the much younger coach and a nasty situation would develop.
While the talent of coaching is better with Florida, the stability is better in Kentucky.
Morgan Newton Versus John Brantley
In the NFL, quarterbacks must be professors of the game. They must be leaders on and off the field. They must fine tool any and all physical skills. They must be disciplined to use their legs sparingly and keep their eyes down field.
But in college, it's all about athleticism.
That's why guys like Vince Young and Eric Crouch are so spectacular during their four years but struggle at the next level. Similarly, that's why guys Tom Brady and Matt Hasselbeck have been able to make careers in the NFL after an average college experience.
Kentucky's Morgan Newton is the prototypical college quarterback.
He's able to run a pro-style offense and find the open receiver but can also open up the offense even more with his running ability. Rivals.com had him ranked as the 14th best dual-threat quarterback in the country.
Florida's John Brantley is NFL-style to the core.
He is tall, strong, and throws well. His running is horrid, averaging -2.1 yards per rush in 2010. The best college quarterbacks in history have two threats, so the check mark goes to Newton.
Florida's New O-Line
You can only lose so much talent every year until it starts to take a toll. Just ask Ben Holland, head coach of the UCLA men's basketball team.
In back-to-back seasons, Florida will have to find a replacement at center. Brothers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey were taken in the first round of the 2010 and 2011 NFL Draft, respectively.
Dependable tackle Marcus Gilbert was drafted in the second round in April's draft, adding another important hole to fill on John Brantley's blind side.
Kentucky's Easier Schedule Leading Up to Game
Leading up to the September 24th showdown with the Gators, the Wildcats play three cupcakes at home.
They are Western Kentucky, Central Michigan, and Louisville.
Western Kentucky just entered the FBS a few years ago and is still trying to find it's footing. Central Michigan is a far cry from its days with Dan LeFevour under center, and Louisville lost at home to Kentucky just last year.
Compare that with Florida's first three games of Florida Atlantic, UAB, and Tennessee.
UAB is never a pushover early in the season and an SEC East game tends to always be rough, especially when the opponent, Tennessee in this case, hasn't beaten you in seven years.
Kentucky Home Game
Kentucky was 5-2 last year playing at home.
They averaged 41.9 points per game and allowed only 26.9 points per game in Commonwealth Stadium. That includes the games against top SEC foes South Carolina, Georgia, and national champion Auburn.
The Wildcats will end a four-game home stretch with the Florida game and will be revved up for another great home victory.
Florida Away Game
As good as the Wildcats were at home in 2010, the Gators were equally bad.
They recorded a ho-hum 2-2 record on the road, scoring only 24.8 points per game.
Their 2010 schedule was loaded with games in the Swamp, which means many key players like quarterback John Brantley are untested for long stretches on the road.
The Kentucky Wildcats' are entering another era of good stability overall.
That kind of intangible quality truly matters in football, the ultimate team sport.
Big Blue is behind Joker Phillips, as they should be. Morgan Newton and Donald Russell may be wet behind the ears, but have track records of on-field talent and off-field leadership.
After the graduation of so many important seniors including do-everything Randall Cobb, the Wildcats find themselves in a sense of calm confidence, which will help get the win over Florida.
I have expressed some serious concerns about Florida's coaching staff. It's really a boom or bust group of people, the definition of instability.
John Brantley received 86 percent of the pass attempts last year, but some say that back-ups Jordan Reed and Trey Burton could challenge him for playing time. I don't think so, but if it happens, that's instability at the most important position.
The graduation of so many seniors from the offensive line, as well as four-year player Chris Rainey will leave the Gators leaderless if Brantley or some other player is not accepted.
Can Florida really cure all of its problems by the end of September?
Tennessee Will Help Its Brother to the North
Wildcat fans, in case you've never read me before, I'm a Vol.
For all of my lifetime, I've enjoyed wins over Kentucky in football, and for most of your's, you've experienced wins over Tennessee in basketball.
This year, we'll work together.
The week before Kentucky takes on Florida, Tennessee makes a trip to the Swamp. With a young, enthusiastic team that takes after it's new coach, you can bank on the fact that if Florida wins, it won't be easy.
It will take a lot out of them, and the Wildcats will deliver the knockout blow the following week. Tag team, baby. Appalachian style!
After all, the Vols' favorite song is definitely a bluegrass tune.