With the kickoff of Kentucky’s season creeping closer, let’s take a quick look around the web to see what some of the experts are saying about the opener. Of course, they’re all picking the Cats to win, so the important thing is to see if they have Kentucky covering what has settled at a 17-point spread against Western. Here are a few previews and predictions for the game to get you primed before you switch into full pregame drinking mode. Nevermind…you’re already there. Still, though, with the previews:
Two teams from the Bluegrass State make the trip down I-65 to meet in Nashville for a neutral site matchup. The Wildcats easily won last year’s game, beating the Hilltoppers 63-28. Kentucky will be looking to get quarterback Morgan Newton off to a good start, but the defense needs to find a way to slow down Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey. The senior gashed the Wildcats for 184 yards and two scores last season. The Hilltoppers are getting better under coach Willie Taggart, but it’s not enough to pull the upset on Thursday night.
Kentucky 38, Western Kentucky 20
ESPN’s SEC bloggers:
Chris’ take: This game is being played in Nashville, Tenn., and the Music City has been pretty good to the Wildcats over the years. Morgan Newton has a big game in a Kentucky rout. … Kentucky 35, Western Kentucky 13
Edward’s take: Morgan Newton and the offense start the season off right, but look for that defense to be tested in the running game. … Kentucky 31, Western Kentucky 21
THE BUZZ: This is just the third meeting between the schools, and UK has won both, including a 35-point rout last season. Western’s coordinators have SEC ties; the offensive coordinator is Zach Azzanni, who was Florida’s receivers coach last season, and the defensive coordinator is Lance Guidry, who is the father of former Tennessee FS Janzen Jackson. Western TB Bobby Rainey rambled for 184 yards last season against UK.
THE LINE: Kentucky by 19.5 (*not anymore) THE PICK: Kentucky 45-27
And now you know what some of the people who get paid to talk about this stuff say about the game, with most of them thinking that Kentucky won’t just win, they’ll win big enough to put a little cash in your pocket if you bet on them. With their predictions out of the way, the only ones left to get are yours. Use the comments to post your prediction for tonight’s season opener, and then start settling in. Game time is almost here.