Kentucky exploded last year, winning ten games and besting Florida for the first time in 30 years in what was one of the best years in program history. Did they get lucky a few times? Sure. Were they really at the level of a 10-3 team? Probably not, but the record shows 10-3 just the same. Now the question comes, can Kentucky maintain what they started last year?
The star of the offense, RB Benny Snell (1,449 yards, 16 touchdowns, 5.0 YPC) is gone from last years team, along with a few key pieces on the line, but former Oregon transfer and last year’s starting quarterback, dual-threat Terry Wilson, does return. Wilson is a conservative passer that can make plays with his feet, and he’ll be pushed by Troy transfer Sawyer Smith.
In the receiving corps, their #1 receiver, slot man Lynn Bowden Jr., returns, but the #s 2-5 do not, so some fresh faces will have to step up there. At running back, the new head man will be junior Asim Rose, who is a great replacement for Snell after shining as a backup last year (6.2 yards per carry). With Snell and much of the receiving corps gone, I think the offense takes a step back, but I don’t think it’ll be disastrous.
High first-round NFL Draft pick Josh Allen (17 sacks, 4.5 TFL) is off to Jacksonville, as is veteran leader Jordan Jones and pretty much all of last year’s secondary, but some talent still returns, most notably MLB Kash Daniel (6.5 TFL) and DT Calvin Taylor (five TFL), but with just a handful of starters returning, some new faces will need to step up big time for this defense to meet the mark they set last year.
This is a pretty talented team, although probably not up to the level of most of their SEC peers, and I think they’ll likely slip a little bit this year. Florida State transfer Xavier Peters is a name to keep an eye on, but all in all, I think the defense struggles, especially with all of the inexperience in the secondary.
It feels very likely that this team will underachieve relative to last year due to the talent departing and the tough SEC schedule, but the Wildcats should have four relatively easy wins in non-conference play so I certainly think that they still make a bowl.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|21-Sep||at mississippi state||13||-10.1|
|28-sep||at south carolina||21||-6.0|
Average Projected Record: 6.6 wins, 5.4 losses (3.2 wins, 4.8 losses)