Like I said yesterday, I have suddenly gotten the football itch. And no I am not speaking about the disease that Drew and his football buddies passed around in high school. We have officially entered those days in the summer when all there is is baseball on a daily basis, and some events like the US Open, Wimbledon, and the World Cup. But, that just makes me urge even more for football.
Yesterday, I gave some scenarios about how the football season might play out and asked “what would make you happy as a UK football fan.” But, I didn’t really say how I thought the games WILL actually play out, so I am going to step out on that ledge, and be the first KSR writer to make his football predictions.
My prediction: UK 24-21 (OT)
Thoughts: Do not take this game for granted, even though UK has won 3 in a row in the series. UL does not have the talent that UK does, BUT they are breaking in a brand new coach, so UK will have no tapes on just how UL will play, while Joker Phillips is likely to play a similar style to last year, so I think the Cards have an advantage there. The crowd will likely be the Cards best of the year, but UK has shown an ability to win in hostile environments. But the game likely hinges on Mike Hartline, in my opinion. Assuming he is the starter, he has got to take care of the ball. Two years ago, the defense basically won the game, and last year the Cards just flat sucked. If the skill players (Hartline, Cobb, Locke) play well, the Cats should win. I am saying this game heads to overtime, where the UK defense makes a stop and new kicker Ryan Tydlacka makes the game winning field goal.
My prediction: UK 38-7
Thoughts: Look for Kentucky to have a sloppy first half here coming off a draining win over Louisville. But, WKU is the worst team in Division 1-A, breaking in a new coach, and talent deficient at every position. Second half is a romp for Kentucky. Look for Derrick Locke with a HUGE game and Morgan Newton to see some time.
My prediction: UK 35-10
Thoughts: Akron was 3-9 last season, struggled on the offensive side of the ball, which is a perfect matchup for the questionable UK defense. I think this is the game where Joker Phillips decides who is going to the quarterback for 2010. Because with Florida the next week, you don’t want a QB controversy going into the Swamp. The Cats, even with a poorer performance, should win this game by three touchdowns or more. Big game from Newton, Hartline, or Mossakowski.
My prediction: Florida 45-13
Thoughts: Look, as much as I would love to reason some way that Kentucky wins this game, it just isn’t gonna happen. IF the Cats were to win this game, I would call it a greater win than beating national champion LSU in 2007. That’s how much a long shot I am making the Cats here. This is what worries me: UK will not have played an offense like Florida all season, and they certainly won’t have done it in a place like the Swamp. I think this game will show us how much we are gonna miss Micah Johnson, Trevard Lindley, and the other defensive stars of 2009. The only way that UK wins is from the best game of Randall Cobb’s career and the emergence of Newton or Mossakowski.
AT OLE MISS
My prediction: Ole Miss 31-24
Thoughts: Before last season, this was the type of game that UK would never win. A game on the road against a borderline Top 25 team. But then the Cats beat Auburn and Georgia and that theory was busted. The real concern for me is if a beating against Florida hinders them against Ole Miss. If the Cats can bounce back, both physically and mentally, I expect a very competitive game. I see it being nip and tuck, and the Cats needing a touchdown drive in the 4th quarter, and unable to convert. Randall Cobb at quarterback maybe? Nonetheless, the game is the tipping point for UK’s season. A win and something special could happen. A close loss and we just move on. A blowout loss and the season could go bad.
My prediction: Auburn 17-13
Thoughts: Could UK actually beat Auburn 2 years in a row? It’s possible, but Auburn showed improvement at the end of last year, and now they are in Year 2 of the Gene Chizikera. I think we finally see the defense play well, but Auburn’s strength this season will be their defense. Much like the Ole Miss game, I worry that when the Cats need a scoring drive in the 4th quarter, they don’t have the quarterback to lead it. Cats lead into the 4th quarter here, Auburn scores late, and the Cats lose their 3rd in a row.
My prediction: UK 31-14
Thoughts: The shining moment of the UK season, outside of the UL game. For whatever reason, the time is right to take down the Gamecocks, and I think the team will do it with emphasis. Steve Spurrier actually has a little heat on him, he still has QB issues, and the Cats really will want to break their losing streak at this point. If my predictions play out, the team would be 3-3 at this point and a bowl game is in doubt. This game relaxes the fanbase.
My prediction: Georgia 27-7
Thoughts: This is not a typical Top 10 Georgia team, but they are still more talented than Kentucky. And Kentucky teams have a tendency to have let downs after big wins. Also, we beat Georgia last season, and I feel like Mark Richt is the kind of guy who doesn’t forget those kind of losses. I get the feeling this will be the Cats worst performance of the season.
AT MISSISSIPPI STATE
My prediction: UK 6-3
Thoughts: No, I don’t think the game will actually end with that score, but every time these two teams play, it’s an ugly game and generally low scoring. I think Kentucky rebounds off the Georgia loss to get a very big conference road win, getting them within one win of bowl eligibility. Starkville is not the toughest place to play in the world, and Randall Cobb will be the best player on the field. I think this is his best game of the season, scoring the Cats only touchdown, after which the extra point is blocked.
My prediction: UK 51-10
Thoughts: Blah blah blah, Cats become bowl eligible.
My prediction: UK 34-21
Thoughts: A dangerous, dangerous game. Tennessee the next week, coming off a blowout win. The potential is there for the Cats to throw in a clunker. This game is very close for 3 quarters, but the home crowd is tired of losing these games, and pulls the Cats through. And I also say this is the BREAKOUT for Morgan Newton. He has a Shane Boyd against Indiana type game, throwing for 3 TD’s and running for one more. Assuming he is actually playing QB.
My prediction: Tennessee 17-16 (7 OT’s)
Thoughts: That’s right, 7 overtimes. The game ends 10-10 in regulation, and for the first 6 overtimes, neither team scores. Kentucky gets it to the one-yard-line 3 times, but can’t punch it in and misses field goals each time. Then in the 7th OT, Tennessee scores, at which point Randall Cobb finally breaks the goaline. Then Kentucky blows the extra point when Curtis Pulley comes back on the field to hold the extra point, and instead pulls the ball up and tries to run it in. Point being, until the Cats actually beat UT, I have seen enough of these heartbreakers to know I can’t pick UK.
So, there you go, 7-5. 3-5 in the SEC. Same ol, same ol.