With game time approaching, it is time to give the official Kentucky Sports Radio Season Prediction. Last year we were right on the money, picking a 7-5 season (swapping a win against Mississippi State versus a loss against LSU), and so it is certain that we will be way off the mark this year. Nevertheless, we keep going, and give one man’s guess:
LOUISVILLE: I have gone back and forth on this game all summer, with a general predisposition to pick the Cardinals. Generally speaking, when I handicap early games that are close, I go with the team with the best Quarterback. So early on, it looked like Louisville. But then it occurred to me….outside of the QB, FB and two OL, the Cards have NO ONE of substance on their team. They have as many questions on offense as UK and are much worse on defense. The only way they win is if the crowd brings it home and if UK jumps on them early, the fans could turn on Kragthorpe. I will take the Cats by a touchdown….closer than that and it may go the other way. WIN
NORFOLK STATE: This game exists for two reasons. One to get a win that can count towards a bowl and provide a fun home game for tailgating. And two, so we can learn about the school from Mosley as part of the new KERA package. Cats by 27. WIN
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE: I think one of these next two stays close due to some lack of mental focus. Because MTSU may be better, I will pick this one and say the Cats win by 14. Still yet, this is a game where all eyes will mostly be on the Kentucky Sports Radio girls. WIN
WESTERN KENTUCKY: This will be a game full of fun as our in-state friends come to Commonwealth for the first time as a Division I school. Western has a decent QB and can cause some problems…..but not many. Cats by 24 on a day that most will be focused on the great football being played in the rest of the country. WIN
ALABAMA: Here is where it ramps up. The Cats havent won at Alabama since before Barack Obama was born and it wont start now. Alabama isnt as good as people think, but they are at home, needing a win and the Cats havent beaten a really good team on the road since….well, ever (although Arkansas last year was good). With a young offense, this is a loss by 17. LOSS
SOUTH CAROLINA: This is a potentially winnable game in theory. But then again, we always think we will beat South Carolina, and we dont. We also always think we have something for Steve Spurrier….and we dont. This will be the best Spurrier defense of his tenure and the offense may just come around. The Cats stay close for most of the game, but lose at the end by 13. LOSS
ARKANSAS: A must win for the Cats. Arkansas is bad and will be getting better. Now is the time to win, especially while Petrino is new. The Cats have to find a way to pull this game out in order to make a bowl game and be respectable in the SEC. I pick UK by 6, although Petrino’s offense will give them fits. WIN
FLORIDA: No chance. At the Swamp, running quarterback who is coming off a Heisman and a national championship contender. Could get ugly…. LOSS
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Lots of UK fans chalk a win here and I am not sure why. The Bulldogs won at Commonwealth last year when Kentucky was much better and MSU has virtually their entire roster back. Add to that the fact they have a mobile QB (Kentucky’s achilles heel in recent years) and they are at home with a chance to have their best season in years, and MSU has to be the pick by 7. LOSS
GEORGIA: This will be a fun game in Commonwealth as a team with potential national championship aspirations comes to town. No one on Kentucky will be scared of Georgia….they beat them two years ago and played decent down there last year. Still Georgia is stacked and this is their best team of the Richt era. I think UK hangs in there for most of the game, but loses at the end by 10. LOSS
VANDERBILT: The Cats and Dores games are usually awful to watch and dont ever find their way to television. Vandy is in rebuilding mode a bit and with a bowl game at stake, the Cats win by 17. WIN
TENNESSEE: Man I wish we had won last year…..I mean that game hurt BAD. But alas the longest losing streak in major college football continued. It wont end this year either. Rich Brooks and Randy Sanders play Tennessee well so I think the game remains relatively close throughout and the Vols win by 13…..which may be a better result for my psyche than another heartbreaker. LOSS
So there you have it. The pick is 6-6, with the Cats making the Papa John’s Bowl in Birmingham and beating Pitt. The schedule breaks down well with four definite wins (Norfolk, MTSU, Western, Vandy), four definite losses (Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee) and four games that decide the season (Louisville, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State). Win two of the last four and you go to a bowl….win three and you have a great year…..win all four and Rich Brooks is Coach of the Year. It is that simple.
Should be fun. Later this afternoon, we release the KSR Pick Em contest….first prize is two tickets to an UK SEC basketball home game. Be ready. More throughout the day……..