The last 2 years of UK football has been BRUTAL. In both years Kentucky showed early promise to have a big year only to fade and fade badly in the 2nd half of the season. Pretty much all of Mark Stoops embarrassing losses have come in the 2nd half of seasons. The schedule overall toughens up with the addition of Alabama this year but I think we could be in for another heartbreaker if things don’t change for Kentucky. Why? Here’s what worries me:
-Cats have tough opener but one they should win if they are worth anything. They are more talented than Southern Miss all over the field, first game of the season, and at Commonwealth. I have a gut feeling that in Year 4 of the Stoops era the Cats are going to be impressive and win that game by 17-20 points. Soooooo, as fans, I think we easily come away from that game thinking this team has potential.
-UK travels to Florida. Automatic loss, right? Maybe but I don’t think we need to see a win in Gainesville to stay impressed with this team. 2 years ago UK should have won the game down the in Swamp but blew it late. Didn’t mean we thought the team was crap. If UK plays the Gators close, it only strengthens this team is pretty good.
-Easy wins over New Mexico State and South Carolina and the Cats are 3-1 with a close loss to Florida. Again, fans are pumped.
-They get thrashed at Alabama. No harm there.
-Another easy game (at least on paper) at home against Vanderbilt. Now UK sits at 4-2 with only losses at Florida and at Alabama and a 2-2 SEC record. Cats look bowl-bound.
Again, take a look at what point in the season we are again. 4-2 OR 6 games total OR the 1st half of the season. In Stoops last 2 years UK has been 5-1 and 4-2 at this point in the year. Now, continuing with why the schedule worries me with the results of the past couple years:
-I think the make are break game on the schedule is Mississippi State at Commonwealth, not at Missouri. This is a game that UK SHOULD win. The Bulldogs are the worst team in the SEC West and you get them at home. They no longer have Dak Prescott. And it’s a game that historically the Cats lose. If UK is able to get this win, then I’m sold this will be a good year. But if UK was to lose here, suddenly you are 4-3 with road games to come.
-At Missouri. A game everybody thinks the Cats could win. And they certainly could. But if they were to lose to Mississippi State, then suddenly UK needs this game for a bowl. And UK hasn’t shown the ability to play a clutch game in the past.
-Georgia at home and then at Tennessee. In 3 years, UK is 0-6 against those 2 teams with a combined score of 278-102. That’s an average of a 30-point loss. OK, so let’s say they lose those 2 games.
-Austin Peay is a win and now we are 5-6 again, which brings us to…..
-at Louisville. I was at the game last year and the tension of that game was so obvious from the fans and players. That team just wasn’t ready to win a big game, even with a 21-0 lead. The hope of course is that UK already has 6 wins locked up by this game but if they don’t and if UK had lost 4 of 5 games coming into Papa John’s, what do you think the mentality of the fans would be?
And frankly that is what worries me. What worries me is this fanbase is starting to break away from support of Mark Stoops. The season ticket sales prove that. The early part of the schedule gives Stoops and Co. a chance to really get off to a nice start to the season. But we’ve already seen it and it has only broken our hearts 2 years running. I am very worried it could be 3.