SEC Breakdown Day 2: Kentucky Wildcats

The second team on my “12 teams in 12 days” segment is the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

If South Carolina, one of the most mediocre programs in college football history, can rise up and win the SEC East, then why can’t the WIldcats?

Okay, so Kentucky isn’t as talented or as good as South Carolina was last year, and it’s probably the fifth best team in the SEC East, but the program has found ways to get the most out of what it has to get to five straight bowl games. While being regulars in the Music City and Liberty Bowls of the post-season world would be cause to can coaches at places like Florida and Alabama, they’re badges of honor at Kentucky. Despite years of being occasionally undermanned, or decimated by injuries, the program has managed to be respectable. Head coach Joker Phillips, in his second year, is fighting to make Kentucky a player.

There is some interesting thing I can say about the upcoming season for UK. And it is alot of “If’s”. If the Wildcats do this…If the Wildcats do that.

The season will be a success If…the Cats win seven games. 1984 was the last time the program won more than eight games, and while this team might not be a world-beater, the schedule is just easy enough to come up with a great year if everything falls the right way. Even so, a winning season would be a success. If UK takes care of business at home, it should be able to beat WKU, Central Michigan, a rebuilding Louisville, and Jacksonville State. Beating Vandy on the road is a must, and coming up with an upset over Mississippi State would be needed to flirt with seven wins or more. Throw in a winnable home game against Tennessee, and the chances will be there if everything breaks the right way.

The Wildcats’ offensive line is full of veterans and should be among the best in the SEC. The receivers are big, but inexperienced, and the backfield is fast, but also lacking tested stars. QB Morgan Newton is a good-looking prospect who has to play up to his prep credentials, and some playmakers have to quickly emerge to make up for the losses of RB Derrick Locke and WR Randall Cobb.

The defense has the potential to be terrific if it can start to get into the backfield. Danny Trevathan is one of the nation’s best linebackers, and Winston Guy is a tone-setting safety who’ll lead an excellent secondary. With nine starters back, there’s no reason to expect a slip from last year’s group that finished sixth in the conference in total Defense.

Overall the Wildcats have an uphill battle to contend with SEC East powers like the Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, and Gamecocks. Kentucky finishes 6-6 in the regular season and creeps back into a bowl game no one really cares about.

Grade: C+

2 thoughts on “SEC Breakdown Day 2: Kentucky Wildcats

  1. Good read. But they have zero- repeat zero- offense. I agree with everything you said about their defense. But without an offense I say 4-8…. But that’s why they play the games!!!

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