2017 Football Preview – SEC – Wildcats
Looking for 2017 Kentucky Wildcats predictions? The Wildcats made major improvements last year and were one of the most surprising teams of the early season. They finished the regular season with a bang and ended a six year bowl drought in 2016.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Kentucky Wildcats
- Head Coach: Mark Stoops
- 2015 Record: 7-6
- Kentucky Wildcats Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +20000
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Kentucky showed they play more than basketball in Lexington, and Mark Stoops’s team looks to continue the positive trend in 2017.
2017 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions: Team Strengths
Run, run, run!: Kentucky did not waste time throwing the ball last year when they were able to pound it down the throats of just about anybody. As a team, the Wildcats rushed for a total of 3,044 which was the second-most in their long history.
Although leading rusher Boom Williams opted for the NFL this year, they will return Freshman All American Benny Snell who should have no problems shouldering the load as the number one man.
Snell averaged 5.9 yards per carry last year and amassed 1,091 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns on the ground.
While the Wildcats are unlikely to have two 1000-yard rushers for the second straight year, redshirt freshman A.J. Rose and junior Sihiem King should both add some speed to complement the power of Snell.
Consistent QB: Kentucky entered last year with Drew Barker as their starting quarterback, but he was sidelined by an injury after the first game of the season.
While no one wishes injury on anyone, it may have been the best thing that could have happened, as it cleared the way for Stephen Johnson to take over. Johnson rarely put up gaudy stats, but he was a consummate leader on the field and just what you want from a QB on a running team.
He should only improve this year– with ball security being the number one area in which he should get better. Strong, consistent QB play could be the key to the Wildcats taking the next step in the SEC East.
2017 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Stop Somebody!: The impressive rushing attack was of the Wildcats was countered by a defense that was unable to stop anyone on the ground last year.
While it may be too much to expect great strides and an All-SEC caliber D, the Wildcats do have some nice pieces which could lead to improvement in 2017.
Junior linebacker Jordan Jones is one of those pieces, and he led the team last year with 109 tackles, 15.5 of which were for loss. The secondary also has the potential to be good with talented safety Mike Edwards and Chris Westry and Derrick Baity at corner.
Unfortunately, they will have their work cut out for them, especially on third down, as the Wildcats had zero pass rush. One would hope that will change, but it is unclear where it will come from at this point.
Kentucky Wildcats Prediction: 5-7
Let’s face it, the Wildcats outplayed their potential last year. While they can hold their own, the rushing attack will not be what it was with only Snell and no Boom, and Johnson is very limited as a passer.
On the other end, there is little to be hopeful about aside from a few key players with potential on defense.
Kentucky should have another good September (except at home against Florida on Sept. 23), but the second half of the schedule has them at Mississippi State, vs. Tennessee, vs. Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt, at Georgia, vs. Louisville.
They should be thrilled to come out of that with two wins, but even that will be tough.
2017 Kentucky Wildcats Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 4:00 PM ET @SOMIS
- 9/9/17 TBD EKY
- 9/16/17 TBD @SOCAR
- 9/23/17 TBD FLA
- 9/30/17 TBD EMU
- 10/7/17 TBD MIZZ
- 10/21/17 TBD @MSST
- 10/28/17 TBD TENN
- 11/4/17 TBD MISS
- 11/11/17 TBD @VAN
- 11/18/17 TBD @UGA
- 11/25/17 TBD LOU
What do you think about our 2017 Kentucky Wildcats predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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