The college football scheduling never stops and UK has been hard at work filling out slots for their future non-conference opponents. This week it was released that the South Alabama Jaguars will be making the trip to Kroger Field to face the Wildcats on September 26th, 2019.
South Alabama is a fairly new program to FBS. The Jaguars are located in Mobile and began as a startup program in 2009. After three years in the independent life of the the FCS, USA made the leap to the FBS and joined the Sun Belt in 2012. Since that point, it’s been some average football for the Jags. The program has only made the postseason twice and have never won more than six games in a season at the FBS level. Joey Jones was fired following the 2017 season and Central Arkansas head coach Steve Campbell was hired from the FCS ranks. In a total rebuild year, the Jags went 2-10 last season but Campbell has won everywhere he has been (junior college and FCS).
What this means big picture is that Kentucky’s entire non-conference schedule is set through the year 2o26 (pending the Louisville series being extended past the 2022 season. In the next eight seasons, UK will play eight MAC teams (Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Northern Illinois, Toledo) with all of the meetings occurring in Lexington except for 2023 road trip to Akron. Kentucky will also play two Sun Belt teams (ULM and South Alabama) in addition to one independent (New Mexico State). Lacking are some Power Five opponents on the docket outside of the regulars.
Kentucky is staying committed to playing two Group of 5 teams each season, one FCS opponent, and archrival Louisville. That means no juicy Power Five non-conference opponents in the foreseeable future. While a lot of other college programs are being aggressive in scheduling big time matchups to boost fan attendance and to bolster College Football Playoff resumes. Kentucky is content with the status quo. Those waiting for a big time non-SEC opponent to come to Kroger Field or for a neutral site game at a neutral site to begin the season will just have to wait.