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Bob Dixon

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Go Big Blue!

JOE COX: Will The Cats Upset The Dogs?

Can Kentucky shock the world?


6-0 Kentucky. There are certain phrases that roll easily off the tongue or the computer keyboard, the result of years of habit. And then there is 6-0 Kentucky. Nobody’s been able to say it in present time since 1950. But what used to be a daydream is now reality. But in order to spend Saturday night talking about 7-0 Kentucky, the Wildcats have a tall mountain to climb.

Georgia is the No. 1 team in the nation, but that is probably selling it short. Since a 10-3 opener against Clemson, Georgia hasn’t been remotely challenged. The Bulldogs are tops in the nation in scoring defense and defensive yards allowed. They’re 4th in the nation in rushing yardage allowed, and tied for 5th in the nation in QB sacks. This is a once in a generation defense. And the offense, while not exactly exciting, is efficient. The Bulldogs average just under 40 points per game.


But then, there is Kentucky. The Wildcats have been incredibly efficient on defense, although not as eye-popping as Georgia. And in last week’s 42-21 win over LSU, the UK offense showed balance and consistent execution. Which is good, because it will need to be phenomenal to even occasionally dent UGA’s group.


Kentucky enters this game as around a 22-point underdog. Of course, that doesn’t mean Kentucky can’t win. UK was a 27-point underdog at Louisville to close the 2016 regular season, and the Wildcats promptly knocked off Lamar Jackson’s Cardinals 41-38. But since that time, Kentucky has been a three-score underdog in four games -- at Georgia in 2017 and 2019, and at Alabama and Florida last season. Not only didn’t Kentucky win any of those games, but none were particularly competitive, although UK’s 21-0 loss in their last trip to Athens was closer than the score. UK hasn’t scored a touchdown against Georgia since 2018. They haven’t beaten the Bulldogs since 2009. Their work is cut out.


The Cats have proven that they are a respectable program in the upper echelon of the sport. Twice in the last four seasons, this matchup with the Bulldogs has decided the SEC East. But as long as the climb has been for Kentucky to reach this level, the climb to best a team like Georgia might be even more steep.


Kentucky has to virtually eliminate mistakes to win on Saturday. They also could stand to benefit from a few sloppy plays from Georgia, and frankly, from being a little lucky. The idea of Kentucky being lucky in most season is ludicrous. This year, the ball has bounced Kentucky’s way more than not.


UK is probably the toughest matchup Georgia has faced since Clemson. But it’s a tall, tall order for the Wildcats. Stranger things have happened, but not many since 2016’s dose of upset magic.


Georgia 31, Kentucky 17.


Around the SEC


Here’s the weekly guesses at the rest of the league’s schedule.


Auburn 28, Arkansas 27

Florida 38, LSU 14

Texas A&M 42, Missouri 20

South Carolina 28, Vanderbilt 10

Alabama 45, Mississippi State 14

Ole Miss 45, Tennessee 42


Joe Cox is contributing editor for KySportsStyle.com Magazine. He grew up in Letcher County and Bell County and has written or co-written nine books. His most recent, "A Fine Team Man: Jackie Robinson and the Lives He Changed," was released in February 2019 and can be ordered on Amazon or at many local bookstores. Joe is an attorney and lives in Logan County with his wife and children. You can reach him at jrcox004@gmail.com.

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