On Saturday, Kentucky will kick off its seventh season under Mark Stoops. How will the Cats follow up a historic ten-win season? It’s time for the KSR crew to weigh in.
After making us all eat crow with his spot-on 9-3 regular season prediction last year, Jack Pilgrim is running it back by picking the Cats to win nine games yet again. The rest of us all picked Kentucky to finish the regular season 8-4, with five brave souls predicting a win over Florida and nobody going with the Cats over South Carolina or Georgia.
A few comments from the panel…
All good things must come to an end. The law of averages means the streaks against South Carolina and Missouri will be snapped. UK is in the Gamecocks’ head as much as the cow bells are in Kentucky’s. Still, South Carolina is infinitely more talented than State, which is why UK will get its first victory in Starkville since 2008. Missouri is treating every game like its Super Bowl, just like UK will treat the Florida game. My heart says UK will pull off the early upset, but it’s bad luck to pick a UK victory.
P.S. Don’t bet UK to cover in MACtion. It won’t end well.
Kentucky gets off to a slow 2-3 start, but after a competitive loss to Georgia the momentum starts to roll. The South Carolina streak ends, but the Mizzou streak continues. The Wildcats get a statement win over the Tigers who will have a lofty national ranking for that October 26 matchup. Behind five consecutive wins to end the season, UK will head to the Belk Bowl on New Year’s Eve to meet Syracuse in a rematch of the 1999 Music City Bowl in Charlotte.
September 28 at South Carolina: Loss – I hate to say it, but the streak may end just because this game means so much more to South Carolina and their coach!
October 26 vs. Missouri: Loss – I want to pick Cats to win, but Mizzou could pick us apart in the secondary. Game scares me to death
November 9 vs. Tennessee: Win – Cats gotta get this one after laying a hard boiled egg in Knoxville last year! A must win for the program!
The three-week stretch of Florida, at Mississippi State, and at South Carolina is huge. The Gators — specifically Feleipe Franks — didn’t impress me much vs. Miami, so I’m going against my better judgment and picking a win over Florida in what could be an unforgettable atmosphere at Kroger Field. Because of that, I’m also picking Kentucky to lose at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs won’t be great, but the Cats will be due for a letdown game. It feels like it’s time for the South Carolina winning streak to snap, and even though I want to go with the Cats vs. Missouri, Kelly Bryant vs. our secondary could get ugly; however, there’s no better way to rebound than a win over Tennessee, an important step for the program after last year’s stinker in Knoxville. Romps over UT Martin and Louisville will put a nice bow on the regular season, followed by another fun bowl trip.
Mark Stoops has matched or topped his win total from the previous year dating back to his very first season at Kentucky, and that streak isn’t ending in 2019. After a stellar 4-0 start that includes UK’s first victory over Florida in Lexington since 1986 and a road victory in Starkville, Kentucky’s five-game winning streak over South Carolina unfortunately comes to an end in Columbia. The Cats turn things around with a blowout home win over Arkansas before taking home their second loss of the season in Athens. While some of my peers expect a letdown performance (and loss) against Kelly Bryant and the Missouri Tigers at home, I believe that will actually come in a disappointing effort on the road at Vanderbilt for UK’s final defeat of the season.
As the lone individual to predict a Florida victory and 9-3 regular season last year, my optimistic approach remains true this year. Cats continue their historic run of success.
I believe most fans will be thrilled to have an eight-win regular season that includes a sweep of the Florida, Tennessee and Louisville games — and that is how I am dreaming it up for the Cats in 2019. It won’t be fun giving one up to South Carolina for the first time since 2013, but all good things must come to an end one day. I predict Kentucky will lose at Mississippi State due to breathing in Starkville air; Mizzou will be very good and grab revenge in Lexington; and Georgia will do what Georgia does in Athens. Eight wins, four losses and we are happy. (But even happier if they do better.) Go Cats.