There’s never a good reason not to use this picture. (*Note to self: Come back and delete this if Barnhart hires him.)
We’re three games into 2012’s SEC slate, and have yet to pick up a league win. Granted, our games have been against ranked, undefeated teams, but still, it’s easy to lose a little bit of hope. Starting this week, though, our games get exponentially more winnable.
Arkansas has struggled mightily all season, and will be Kentucky’s first vulnerable SEC opponent. But is this Kentucky’s best, or even only chance at a league win this season? Let’s take a quick look at the remaining SEC opponents:
Alright, so far off to a bad start. I’m not even going to put anything here. Georgia was a top five team going into the weekend, and should still be around the top ten even after a loss to USC. I’m not saying we can’t win, but it’s not more likely than the other teams on the schedule. Moving on.
The SEC East’s newest addition is 0-3 inside the league and just lost at home to the Vanderbilt Fightin’ Franklins. That’s less worrisome than it looks, though, considering the only other conference teams the Tigers have played are South Carolina and Georgia. Outside the SEC, Mizzou is a perfect 3-0. They’ll have their hands full with Alabama next week, before taking a week off to prepare for the Wildcats. It’s very likely that we’ll go into Columbia with the Tigers hungry for their first SEC win. Like, ever. Those guys will be smelling blood. Even though Mizzou is struggling in SEC play, don’t look for an easy game on the 27th.
Seemed like Vandy was everywhere in the preseason, with folks fawning over Franklin’s motivational tactics and lack of scholarship frugality. But after losing to Northwestern in the second week of the season, that love affair cooled pretty quickly. Turns out, Northwestern’s not bad. The Big Ten Wildcats cracked the top 25 this past weekend (#24) before losing their first game to Penn State on Saturday. So we can’t necessarily knock Vandy for dropping that one. Meanwhile, the Commies have racked up a 1-2 SEC record, losing to Georgia and South Carolina, but beating Mizzou at Mizzou. We’ll get Vandy at home, but I’m not sure the 11,000 people in Commonwealth will give us much of a homefield advantage. Expect Franklin to get crazy with some aggressive calls to put Joker on his heels and control the pace early. Vandy’s dangerous because they, like us, have to earn their reputation. Trouble is, they’re willing to play risky in order to get it.
Tennessee is 3-2 and still mad at us. The ever-increasing injury list may actually work in our favor, though:
On the bright side, UT fans have to be concerned that UK is just two more injuries away from starting a WR at QB again this year #roarking
– Tyler Toon (@tyler_toon) October 6, 2012
Can we start our own streak at two in a row? History says “probably not.”
Arkansas has been nothing short of an enigma this season: despite preseason hype, the Razorbacks are 94th and 104th in points for and points against. Their offense is bad, and their defense is worse. Compare that to 107th and 91st, respectively, for Kentucky, and things look pretty even. In fact, average both sets of rankings, and each team is right at 99th. Disappointing, but equally so. Believe it or not, the Hogs were actually in the top ten to start the season, but quickly fell from favor after losing to Louisiana-Monroe, followed by everyone else. They just picked up their first SEC win against an equally miserable Auburn team. At 2-4, Arkansas currently has the worst overall record of our remaining SEC opponents. We have to play this one away from Commonwealth, but that doesn’t put it out of reach.
Kentucky has struggle so far, but there are some winnable games left on the slate other than just Samford. Arkansas has been disappointing, but Mizzou and Vandy have struggled more than they’re comfortable with, too. Ultimately, though, are the Hogs our best chance at an SEC win?