Summer Sunday in the realm of UK sports can be slow going. Softball is finished. The NBA Finals are just on the horizon. The draft is around the corner but still quiet. What is one to do in order to pass the time? How about daydream about the things to come in the fall months? We did it in 2014 and 2015 so I guess you can now call it a tradition. Here are my 2016 picks for the top UK sporting events to come at summer’s end:
10. Kentucky @ Alabama, October 1st
Kentucky returns to Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2008 in the fifth game of the football season. Kentucky versus the defending national champs in one of the best environments in the country. I’m sold.
9. UCLA Vs Kentucky, December 3rd
Two blue bloods square off inside Rupp Arena as Kentucky looks to avenge their road loss from last season. UCLA may not be the draw that they were in decades past but it should be a good environment against the only program with more titles.
8. Kentucky Vs. Vanderbilt, October 8th
If Kentucky is going to make a bowl game then they have to take down Vanderbilt. That was the difference last season and it could prove to be the difference in 2016 as well.
7. Kentucky Vs Mississippi State, October 22nd
The Cats haven’t beaten the Bulldogs in seven seasons but this year is a turning point for Mississippi State. Dak Prescott has graduated and most of the players that took them to a number one ranking are gone. A win at home would be a major building block for the future.
6. Kentucky Vs Michigan State, November 16th
How good will Kentucky be in the early part of next season? We’ll find out as they face their first test against Michigan State in Brooklyn.
5. Southern Miss @ Kentucky, September 3rd
The first football game of the season could prove to be the most important. Southern Miss is a late fill-in for UAB and will be a step-up in competition from the usual home opener. If Kentucky were to drop this one the season could be over before it even begins.
4. Kentucky @ Louisville, November 26th
There’s a chance that Kentucky could enter the Louisville game with five wins and needing the W in order to make a bowl game for the third straight season.
3. Kentucky @ Florida, September 10th
This fall will make it 30 years since 1986 and the last time that Kentucky beat Florida in football. The last two years have seen the Cats come painfully close only to be shut out in the final plays of the game. With so many players from the Sunshine State on Kentucky’s roster the Florida game has been taken to another level in recent years and a win in the second game of the season would have major impact on the program. Florida enters the season with several question marks. Hopefully Kentucky has all of the answers.
2. Kentucky @ Louisville, December 21st
Just a few weeks after the two teams meet in football the Cats will travel to the Yum! Bucket to face the Cards. Will Louisville be coached by Pitino? Will the face further sanctions by the NCAA? Much is still unknown in that aspect but as of now Louisville looks to be one of next season’s better teams.
1. Kentucky Vs. North Carolina, December 17th
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and in the case of the UNC rivalry I find that to be true. Indiana spoiled an NCAA tournament match-up last season but the series is set to renew next season in Vegas. UNC is fresh off a national championship appearance with much of that team’s core back and should be a top 10 team. Still, they’re not going to be on Kentucky’s level. Roll the dice in the game I’m most looking forward to next season.
How about you?