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Wildcats on week one upset alert

Progress is what we’re looking for; building blocks for the future. Collecting wins and stuffing the stat box aren’t necessarily the priorities for head coach Mark Stoops and Co. in year one. So to be a favorite to win a game might only happen one or two other times this season, but that is exactly how the Wildcats will open the Stoops Era, as a 4.5-point favorite over Bobby Petrino and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

Sixteen days is all that separates today from that game at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Sporting News calls that game the “easiest upset pick of the weekend.” And I get it: It’s a two-win team still likely seeking an identity. The secondary is a weak link, and Petrino’s spread ‘em out offense has the potential to pick the defensive backs of Kentucky apart.

But there are still SEC-caliber players wearing blue and, with all due respect, still Sun Belt players wearing red.

The Hilltoppers beat Kentucky last year in overtime at Lexington, Ky., and get a return game this fall in Nashville. Watch how well junior QB Brandon Doughty plays under new coach Bobby Petrino, who begins his comeback–after his ugly exit from Arkansas–with a talented team that could win every game this fall.

Petrino has the Sun Belt’s best player (running back Antonio Andrews) and the league’s best defensive player (linebacker Andrew Jackson). You better believe Petrino has pointed to this game as a statement moment–not only for his talented team, but for himself in a return to coaching.

For all the positive vibes new coach Mark Stoops has brought to UK, the reality is this team is still a long way away from competing in the SEC with its current personnel.

It is hard to imagine the core of Kentucky’s team will settle for losing to Western Kentucky in back-to-back years. The defensive line will stack the box against Andrews and clog the middle running lanes, so the only way Western puts up points is through the air… And Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith will be going all out in the pass rush. The game is going to be a shoot-out, but with a new vein of energy flowing though the offense, the Cats might not ever stop scoring points in this one.

It’s going to be fun to get the season started, and watch the rebuilding and re-branding of Kentucky Football take shape. I cannot wait.

Also, Sporting News notes Ohio visiting Louisville as a potential upset pick in week one. Keep an eye on it.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

35 Comments for Wildcats on week one upset alert

  1. Betting man
    3:07 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Good, I hope the media keeps chattering and the spread continues to thin; I’ll be making a hefty wager that we cover.

  2. You can thank me when you are cashing in big
    3:22 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Take UK for the over and bet the farm and your neighbors farm on it.

  3. Typical UL Fan
    3:22 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Before the game: “WKU gonna smash Ukay”.
    After the game: “Wow, good job on beating powerhouse WKU”. Ukay suks, should have won by more”.

  4. Wildcatsteeler
    3:24 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Probably the biggest game of the season for us. We can’t afford to lose any of the out of conference games except to the Dirty Birds since they’ll be in the top 10. We lose this and it may well be a 2 win season.

  5. UKfanNKY
    3:29 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Cats by 13……………..GO CATS!!!

  6. Do whut?
    3:34 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Sporting News can call it whatever it wants. They’re all easy picks until the results roll in. Cats by 18 in a snoozer.

  7. Rei
    3:39 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    I still think we beat UL this year by at the most 10.

  8. rick
    3:39 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    cats 31, wku 7

  9. J in Orlando
    3:45 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    If UL loses to Ohio they are not a top 50 team…if they win by less than 2 TDs, they shouldnt be in the top 25 convo

  10. jlove
    3:57 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    I’m like everyone else. I don’t think this one will be even close. We’ve had an honest-to-goodness football coach at the helm for three months. We should beat a sunbelt team with no problem.

  11. G
    3:59 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    WKU will win this game.

  12. Linda Taylor
    4:03 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Trevard Lindley is thanking Coach Stoops and staff on twitter for the goodie box of UK stuff he received from them. I sure wish he could play for us this year. CWKYT re-aired the 2007 UK-LSU game last Sunday and he made some sweet plays in that game.

  13. History Buff
    4:07 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Andrew Jackson is a linebacker? Hmph. Would’ve pegged him as a kicker or maybe FS at best.

  14. CatMan
    4:13 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    2,8 – Easy now, it’s not worth losing the farm on. This will not be a blowout by any means. This team from WKU is just as talented as last year, and our team is just as bad as last year, and if you remember correctly, we lost that game so it could very easily happen again. New coach, but same talent pool. Maybe once some of Stoops’ classes have gotten to campus things will improve, but until then you can’t even say we have “SEC-caliber players wearing blue.” SEC caliber players make up an SEC caliber team. An SEC caliber team can actually beat an SEC opponent which we did not do last year. I’m a season ticket holder and will be at every game supporting my Cats, and I believe in Stoops, but it’s gonna take a lot more than some over confident fans calling a huge margin of victory to change my opinion on how this season is going to go. I see 3 wins (Ohio, Alabama St., and Mizzou)

  15. T-roll
    4:14 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    @11 Envious fans will troll this site.

  16. T-roll
    4:16 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    @14, many of stoops first recruiting class will see the field this year. We are a slightly better team. Our play calling and game plan was atrocious last year and they won on a trick play.

    I won’t bet the farm but I’ll take us to cover if you want to take the other side.

  17. CatMan
    4:24 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    16 – I’m gonna keep my money in my pocket on this one because I can see it going either way. Say what you will about the trick play, but fact is, if you look at that stat sheet we got dominated last year for 80% of that game. If WKU hadn’t blown it towards the end we should have never even gone to OT. Their coach started playing it safe and melting the clock instead of attacking and trying to keep scoring. In the end, I think we can win, but I wouldn’t be suprised one bit to lose it. Freshman won’t impact near as much as you’re hoping they will.

  18. JUCOs
    4:25 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    JUCOs will play as well – ZDarius, Blue, and Willis. So not the “same team” as last year, come on Catman. Are you one of those Western KENTUCKY fans? Blue shirt on with red towel in the back pocket just in case?

  19. Do whut?
    4:25 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    #14 WKU is just as talented as last year? Have you seen who they lost? Same talent pool? Have you seen who we added? And I don’t think any “over confident fans” had your opinion of the season in mind when making predictions. Cats win pulling away.

  20. Joker
    4:27 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    17 my horrible play calling and over-all crappy coaching have to account for most of those stats. take me out of the picture and put in a good coach, it won’t be close enough for a trick play on their part to win. Blowout? No. Cats win? yes.

  21. CatMan
    4:31 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    19 – I’m not trying to argue, I want the Cats to win, and think they can, but you’re crazy if you think we are going to come out and win by more than a TD. WKU has a secondary returning that picked us apart last year, and I’ve watched the Andrews kid highlight reel several times, he’s the real deal. Losing him will hurt bad next year, I will give you that.

  22. Do whut?
    4:37 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    #21 “I’m not trying to argue…but you’re crazy if you think…” Gotcha. Cats win with ease.

  23. Jay
    4:46 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Off topic, but when will they mail out the season tickets?

  24. Louisville1Cal4
    4:57 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    21 & you’re crazy if you think we can only win this game by 1 TD. WKU lost 19 seniors, didn’t bring hardly anyone in, UK didn’t lose many seniors (was very young overall), & added some quality players who will see PT. Both teams a very different this season, & it’s not in WKU’s favor.

  25. Yeah but
    5:03 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    #20 much like catman posted in #14, I like Stoops and the direction he is moving the program. But in truth, neither you nor I know what Stoops can do since he has never head coached a single game. So you tout UK having a coaching upgrade. Well I can absolutely guarantee you that WKU’s coaching got a helluva lot better too in the offseason. Remember “they supposed to be SEC”? I think that was said by a WKU player 2 years ago. The talent gap between WKU and UK is not that much yet. This time next year,yes, right now no. I agree catman, there is a reason it’s only a 4.5 spread. Cats by 6.

  26. Henegg
    5:08 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Not having Joker on the sidelines will be worth a 10 point swing in UKs favor alone.

  27. Louisville1Cal4
    5:15 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll repeat again, WKU lost 19 seniors last season, didn’t bring any talent in. UK didn’t hardly lose much but added a lot. These teams are NOT close in talent. Bobby is a proven coach but he’s never had this little to work with starting off & he usually doesn’t do too hot during his first season.

  28. I Disagree
    5:22 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

  29. Rerepeat
    5:38 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    #27 I am guessing that in August last year you were also saying (or thinking) “these teams are NOT close in talent”, and we know how that HOME game turned out. Joker out, Taggart out, Petrino and Stoops in. This game will be close. Vegas never lies. 4.5 point spread = squeaker of a game.

  30. Derp
    5:42 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    28… That’s without all out incoming players ya big dummy

  31. Louisville1Cal4
    5:44 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    @ 28 “But according to Phil Steele’s preseason mag, WKU has more top-tier talent taking the field this year than Kentucky..”
    So, because Phil Steele thinks this it is true? Hahahaha
    @29 Yes we do. WKU won on a trick play against a Joker Phillip’s coached team. Enough said.

  32. Artificial Plant
    6:21 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    I am guessing that if the conditioner is not working then at least try some of the lavender soap to offset that bad attitude ya got there #21.

  33. Tops will (T)ROLL!
    6:34 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    Tops will win this one by at least 2 scores. Half the fans will be crying “why didn’t we hire Petrino” and the other half will be chanting “Wait ’til basketball! We’re coming for 9!” Gonna be really funny to see all the farms for sale in the Lexington area after this one if as many of you bet like you say you are!

  34. Do whut?
    8:44 pm August 15, 2013 Permalink

    #29 if Vegas never lies why were we just -7 going into Kent State last year? The truth is Vegas doesn’t make score predictions. It predicts what spread will even out the dollars being bet. As it stands Vegas is guessing with a 4.5 point spread half the betting dollars will go UK’s way and the other half will go WKU’s. As long as the spread accomplishes this goal Vegas couldn’t care less about the margin (over/under notwithstanding).

  35. james wilson
    2:48 pm August 16, 2013 Permalink

    I JUST DONT SEE IT…. I mean I CANNOT be the only one thinkin were gonna SMASH wku…. They beat us BARELY IN OT last year on a trick play… and that was after Max Smith threw 4, count ’em 4 picks… which WILL NOT happen again…. I see it as a lopsided victory… winning by ATLEAST 21 points maybe more…. I predict 41-20 or 38-17 type of victory….