It is way too early to be looking ahead to next season, but I’m going to do it anyway since the schedule was released today.
Kentucky Football | 2018 Schedule
vs. Central Michigan
Sept. 1 | Kroger Field
Kentucky will open the 2018 season in Kroger Field against the Chippewas of Central Michigan. A five-win team in 2017, Central Michigan will hope to see a rusty Drew Barker in Barker’s first start for the Wildcats since 2016; but even if that’s the case, the Cats’ defense projects to be one of the best in the nation after all eligible juniors passed on the NFL draft to return for their senior years.
Sept. 8 | Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
With the 30-year streak in the rearview mirror, Florida will be out to get back on the right track and avenge the 10-point loss at Kentucky in 2017. Jim McElwain, sitting on the hottest seat in the SEC, will desperately need a win in the Gators’ first true test of the year.
vs. Murray State
Sept. 15 | Kroger Field
Our younger brothers from the West will step outside the OVC for a trip to Central Kentucky to try to upset the state’s best football program. Senior quarterback Shuler Bentley, the older brother of South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, will carry on the family legacy of losing to the Cats.
vs. Mississippi State
Sept. 22 | Kroger Field
The annual SEC East-West rivalry returns to Lexington in 2018 after the Bulldogs handed Kentucky its first loss of the 2017 season. But with stud quarterback Nick Fitzgerald gone to the pros, the Dawgs will struggle with QB concerns through the early part of 2018.
vs. South Carolina
Sept. 29 | Kroger Field
South Carolina will come to Lexington on a four-game losing skid to Kentucky, but Heisman hopeful Deebo Samuel and third-year starter Jake Bentley will have the Gamecocks looking poised for a run at the SEC East. However, they may already have two losses on their resume — Georgia and at Vanderbilt — before playing the Cats in Week 5. This one could be an early must-win for the Cocks.
at Texas A&M
Oct. 6 | Kyle Field
Reigning SEC Coach of the Year Mark Stoops will take his Wildcats on the program’s first ever trip to College Station to play the Aggies and new head coach Chip Kelly.
Blue will get in.
Oct. 20 | Kroger Field
How will Vanderbilt look in Derek Mason’s fifth season? Prediction: Good, coming off consecutive bowl appearances.
Oct. 27 | Faurot Field
After an absolutely embarrassing effort in 2017 with zero conference wins, Missouri will suck once again.
Nov. 3 | Kroger Field
Defending SEC East champion Georgia was lucky to beat the Wildcats in Athens in 2017, so Kentucky will be motivated to return the favor in Kroger Field in 2018.
Nov. 10 | Neyland Stadium
The UK-UT rivalry will reach new heights in 2018 when the two programs play in the first ever Stoops Bowl. Mark and his Wildcats will visit older brother Bob and his Volunteers in the 3:30 pm CBS game in Knoxville.
vs. Middle Tennessee State
Nov. 17 | Kroger Field
In the ultimate trap game, Middle Tennessee State, sandwiched between road trips to Tennessee and Louisville on UK’s schedule, will provide an unexpected challenge late in the season. Expect a sluggish start by the Cats after a very emotional Senior Day for the program’s NFL prospects, the most ever from one class.
Nov. 24 | Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
With Lamar Jackson off to the NFL and running the Jacksonville Jaguars offense, the Cardinals will struggle under the guidance of new starting quarterback Jawon Pass, who will throw four interceptions in his debut against Alabama. By the time the Kentucky game rolls around in the regular season finale, Louisville will have five losses on its resume and will be handed a sixth by the visiting Kentucky Wildcats, which entered the game as four-point road favorites having won the last two meetings.