2019 Football Preview – South Eastern Conference – Kentucky Wildcats
Looking for 2019 Kentucky Wildcats predictions? Following an unexpected, meteoric 10-win season, wholesale losses on both offense and defense will see the Wildcats struggle for repeat success.
All-time leading UK rusher Benny Snell’s early NFL entry, along with National Defensive Player of the year Josh Allen’s graduation, leave massive voids to fill. Overall, Mark Stoop’s bunch enters 2019 down 14 starters from 2018.
However, overlooked by pundits last fall, UK could overachieve again this year against a softer schedule. Though, any hopes of keeping their place among the SEC East elite rest firmly upon returning QB Terry Wilson.
Wilson threw for 1889 yards and 12 TD’s in 2018 against eight interceptions. Throughout Kentucky’s run Wilson functioned solely as a game manager while the elite UK defense and Snell led an upset-laden march.
Simply, game-changing, assertive play will be needed from Wilson if Kentucky is to avoid regressing into its familiar role of fringe bowl-eligible program this season.
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2019-College Football Preview – Kentucky Wildcats
Head Coach: Mark Stoops
2018 Record: 10-3
Kentucky Wildcats Odds to win the 2019 FBS Championship: 1000/1
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Amid all the turnover, Mark Stoops has perhaps the SEC’s toughest job of incorporating new talent into a depleted system.
2019 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions: Team Strengths
Schedule: With so many starters gone, and myriad new faces in tow, it’s too early to name any one positional area as a UK strength. That stated, a returning senior trio led by LB Kash Daniel, C Drake Jackson and OL Landon Young -all former HS All Americans- will mentor an incoming class headlined by four-star signees Jared Casey ILB, DE JJ Weaver and S Moses Douglass.
The learning curve begins August 31 when UK welcomes warmup material Toledo. A 2-0 Kentucky start, and ensuing team confidence, is likely as the Wildcats take on Eastern Michigan one week later before hosting Florida.
From there, contests vs. Mississippi State, South Carolina, Arkansas, sanction-riddled Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are all winnable for UK.
Relaistically, the Wildcats may need just two conference wins this season to go bowling as their docket ends with layups vs. UT Martin and Louisville.
It will be interesting to see how Kentucky rebounds along the way.
2019 Kentucky Wildcats Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Player Turnover: Obviously, and as touched upon throughout this preview, questions will abound anytime a team not boasting a top-five incoming recruiting class loses 14 starters.
Doubly vexing for Kentucky, though, is that those fourteen lost starters are split evenly on both sides of the ball. A total rebuilding process, save for returning QB Wilson, is on tap this Fall in Kentucky.
Consensus offseason reports state the Wildcats will be solid up front and in the middle defensively, and perhaps up front offensively, while sporting a decent running back committee. The main areas of concern for UK include a secondary which must be replaced completely and the quarterback position.
Kentucky Wildcats Prediction: 6-6
For all their troubles, Kentucky is kind of tucked away comfortably in the SEC East this season. A cakewalk non conference schedule combined with enough lower-level SEC opposition should see the Wildcats eke into their fourth straight bowl appearance.
Some outlets generously award this mostly unproven Kentucky group with eight wins. And while I won’t go that far, I think the returning talent is good enough, and was uplifted enough from last season’s success, to gain six wins from their rebuild-worthy slate.
However, though not likely, UK could add a few extra wins to this total if their defense remains viable and if the offensive line creates running gaps and gives Wilson pocket time.
2019 Kentucky Wildcats Football Schedule
Date Time vs
- 8/31/19 12:00 PM ET TOL
- 9/7/19 TBD EMU
- 9/14/19 TBD FLA
- 9/21/19 TBD @MSST
- 9/28/19 TBD @SOCAR
- 10/12/19 TBD ARK
- 10/19/19 TBD @UGA
- 10/26/19 TBD MIZZ
- 11/9/19 TBD TENN
- 11/16/19 TBD @VAN
- 11/23/19 TBD UTM
- 11/30/19 TBD LOU
What do you think about our 2019 Kentucky Wildcats predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2019!
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