The Kentucky Wildcats finished 6-7 last season, while making their fifth-straight bowl game.
In 2011, the Wildcats will look to continue to rise up the SEC rankings. With the likes of Randall Cobb being drafted to the Green Bay Packers, and with Derrick Locke and Chris Matthews graduating, the Wildcats look to reload and continue to gain respect in the SEC and also on the national scene.
Football season is fast approaching and, like usual, nobody knows what is in store for the upcoming year of football ahead of us.
So here are five bold predictions for the Kentucky Wildcats in the 2011 season.
The Cats vs. Gators football series has been a landslide (and that's an understatement) in favor of the Gators. Florida has beaten Kentucky for the last...well, let's just say two decades.
But the 2011 game will finally be the game the Cats break the curse.
On September 24, 2011, the Gators will roll into Commonwealth Stadium with new coach Will Muschamp, after a rivalry game with Tennessee and right before a tough stretch with a home game against Alabama and then games on the road at LSU and Auburn.
The Gators could very will be overlooking the feisty Wildcats, who could very well be 3-0 coming into the game.
The Gators will be the favorite, but the feisty Cats will have something to say in a trap game for the Gators.
Much like Florida, Tennessee has been a thorn in Kentucky's side for the past two decades.
The Cats have had plenty of good chances and close calls against the Volunteers.
The Volunteers will roll into Lexington in late November for the annual border rivalry with Kentucky.
Tennessee has been in a slump for a couple of years and is looking to again rise to back to glory. The Cats and Vols will be matched in a hard-fought, tooth-and-nail game. The Cats, led by Morgan Newton under center, will be fired up, as well as the 70,000 people in Commonwealth Stadium.
Don't be surprised if this one goes into overtime. The Cats will take it.
For the first time in a long while, the Wildcats will win eight regular-season games.
Morgan Newton will have the offense rolling in the air. Raymond Sanders and freshman Josh Clemons will have the offense running over defenses on the ground. Also, Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy will have the new defensive scheme clicking on all cylinders.
I mentioned in my first two slides that UK will beat Florida and Tennessee. Add to that a 4-0 record in the out-of-conference schedule with wins over Louisville, Central Michigan, Western Kentucky and Jacksonville State.
Now add two SEC games against the likes of Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and possibly Mississippi State, and UK will have eight regular-season wins for the first time in recent memory.
Morgan Newton is taking over the reins as UK's quarterback after the graduation of Mike Hartline.
A highly touted, 4-star player out of high school in 2009, Morgan Newton is now a junior. His freshman year, he started half of the season and led UK to a 5-2 record in his presence. His sophomore year, he played a backup role.
Now in his junior season, he is finally getting the chance to show his stuff along with former UK and SEC great quarterback, Andre Woodson mentoring him on the coaching staff.
Morgan Newton will emerge with his great arm and his legs out of the pocket as one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC.
Look for him to break some UK season records when his career at UK is over.
With my previous four bold predictions, UK will find itself with eight regular-season wins with a top SEC quarterback in Morgan Newton. They will find themselves in their sixth-straight bowl game.
If all goes as planned in these predictions, UK will find itself finishing third in the SEC East and reach a New Year's Day bowl game.
Kentucky will emerge as a respected SEC team and will make noise in the East. This is a new era of Kentucky football and the Cats are out for blood.