Kentucky’s 2019 football schedule is complete. While the team is not focused that far ahead, we can look into our crystal ball to see what lies ahead.
Aug. 31 – TOLEDO
Sept. 7 – EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sept. 14 – FLORIDA
Sept. 21 – at Mississippi State
Sept. 28 – at South Carolina
Oct. 5 – open
Oct. 12 – ARKANSAS
Oct. 19 – at Georgia
Oct. 26 – MISSOURI
Nov. 2 – open
Nov. 9 – TENNESSEE
Nov. 16 – at Vanderbilt
Nov. 23 – UT MARTIN
Nov. 30 – LOUISVILLE
No Open Date for Big Blue Madness
Since Mark Stoops became the Cats’ head coach, his team has not had to compete with Big Blue Madness. In 2019 each SEC team will have two bye weeks. None of them fall on the second weekend in October. Instead of giving the BBN a break, basketball’s season-opening event will be Friday night with a home game against Arkansas the following day. It’s going to be a fun weekend in Lexington.
So Much MACtion
MAC teams are the perfect opponents to start a season and in 2019 they’ll get two of them. The games against MAC opponents are winnable, but they aren’t FCS walk-overs. Florida got nothing out of their season-opener against Charleston Southern. Kentucky had to work out the kinks against a quality, albeit physically over-matched opponent and it paid dividends.
So Many Home Games
Thanks to Eastern Michigan’s decision to turn down a game in Ypsilanti, Kentucky will play a rare eight-game home schedule. They’ll start the season with three straight games at Kroger Field and finish it with three of four at home, only traveling to Vanderbilt in the final month of the season. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Warm-Up Before UofL
Remember the last time UK played UT-Martin? It was a 59-14 romp to start the 2014 season. Remember the last time UK played an FCS team before the Battle for the Governor’s Cup? The Cats went to Louisville and beat Lamar Jackson.
The Bye Weeks all occur at ideal times. The first is after road trips to Starkville and Columbia. The second bye is after three SEC games and the most difficult road game of the year, at Georgia.
There’s not one portion of the schedule you look at and say, “Wow, that’s going to be tough.” Georgia is sandwiched between two home games against average SEC foes, and the only consecutive road trips lead into a bye week. You could not set it up any better for Kentucky.
Why couldn’t it be this year?
Predicting a ten-win Kentucky football season might seem crazy, but this year’s team could do it with the 2019 schedule.
Instead of traveling to A&M, Kentucky will get Arkansas, who will likely finish 2018 as the worst team in the SEC. The two most-talented opponents on UK’s 2018 schedule, Georgia and Miss. State, are on the road. This year’s team would likely be favored in every other game on the 2019 schedule.
Kentucky will lose quite a bit of talent after the 2018 season — Benny Snell, C.J. Conrad, Josh Allen and the entire secondary — but Stoops will still have plenty of playmakers. Terry Wilson will be surrounded by a few weapons, most notably A.J. Rose and Lynn Bowden, while Kash Daniel will anchor the defense. If the Cats’ depth in the secondary develops quickly, 2019 could be a special season.