Search

SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Can UK Football Repeat 2018 Success?

Well college football fans, the season is quickly approaching. For Kentucky football fans, however, 2019 holds one simple question: Can the Cats repeat its magical success of 2018?

Well BBN, I’m glad you asked.

2019 could be a successful season once again in Lexington. But, if you ask most national pundits, the feeling is Kentucky takes a step back this season toward its former familiar spot in mediocrity.


How do I see the season playing out? I’m glad you asked. I have some predictions.


Last season, I predicted an 8-4 season. We all know, though, the Cats overshot that target to go 9-3 and win the Citrus Bowl over Penn State, finishing 10-3 and solidifying itself as one of the most successful seasons in Kentucky football history.


With that said, let’s take a look in the crystal ball and see what 2019 could hold for the Wildcats.


Toledo: The Rockets averaged over 40 points a game last season and they have 14 starters returning this fall. Kentucky has enough talent and depth to open up its season with a victory.

Prediction: Cats by 10.

Record 1-0


Eastern Michigan: The Eagles played the Cats tight a couple of years ago in Lexington. Again, the Cats have enough firepower in this one to stay undefeated.

Prediction: Cats by 13.

Record 2-0


Florida: The best thing I can say is the streak is over with the Gators. But the reptiles will come to Lexington with a score to settle off their loss to the Cats. I predict a dogfight in Lexington with the winning score coming late in this one.

Prediction: Gators by 6.

Record 2-1


Mississippi State: The Cats’ first road trip of 2019 takes them to Starkville to visit the Bulldogs. The Cats manhandled the Dawgs 28-7 behind a dominant performace from Josh Allen and Benny Snell. Another physical game for the Cats in a hostile environment.

Prediction: Dawgs by 7.

Record 2-2


South Carolina: Did you realize that the Cats own a five-game winning streak over the Gamecocks? To make it six straight, however, UK has to win on the road in another environment, this time in Columbia. A loss by USC could begin the demise of coach Will Muschamp over the Gamecock program.

Prediction: Cats by 6.

Record 3-2


Arkansas: Coming off their first open date of the season (which the Cats will need), UK takes another trip down south, this time to Fayetteville and the Razorbacks. Usually a tough place to win, this isn’t your father’s Arkansas football team. Bobby Petrino and his motorcycle aren’t coming around the bend.

Prediction: Cats by 14.

Record 4-2


Georgia: It is feasible the Dawgs come into this game no worse than number three in the country. I do think the Cats put up a fight between the hedges in Athens. Unfortunately, the Cats don’t have enough firepower to pull the upset.

Prediction: Dawgs by 21.

Record 4-3


Missouri: To me, this is the litmus game for the Cats. The Tigers come into Lexington with no postseason aspirations due to their bowl ban, so they would like nothing better to put a dent in the Cats postseason hopes. UK needed an untimed down to win last season over Mizzou. I think the game comes down to the wire again.

Prediction: Cats by 3.

Record 5-3


Tennessee: The most disappointing loss for the Cats in 2018 was the 24-6 clunker in Knoxville to the outmanned Vols. UT comes to Lexington confident that they continue dominance over UK. However, this isn’t your father’s UK football program. The Cats will be ready in this one.

Prediction: Cats by 7.

Record 6-3


Vanderbilt: It always seems like the Cats visit to Nashville is always a quagmire with the game being ugly and the score matches the game. This could be Dores coach Derek Mason’s last stand to hold onto his job as Vandy’s head coach. I do expect a low-scoring and physical game once again.

Prediction: Cats by 10.

Record 7-3


UT-Martin: To semi-quote NBA legend Charles Barkley at the 1992 Olympics - “I don’t know what UT-Martin has, but I know they’re in trouble.” The Cats outclass their opponents.

Prediction: Cats by 28.

Record 8-3


Louisville: Be honest BBN, how good did it feel to whip Louisville on their home field and help hasten the exit of Bobby Petrino as coach? This year’s matchup, however, will be a more disciplined matchup with UL being led by new coach Scott Satterfield. I look for a hard-hitting affair for the Governor’s Cup.

Prediction: Cats by 14.

Record 9-3


So there you have it; the Cats mirror their 2018 record and have the opportunity for a New Year’s Day bowl game for the second time. If it happens, please send all congratulations to me. Thank you.


Shane Shackleford is a regional sports writer from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Facebook , Twitter and online publications KySportsStyle.com Magazine and A Sea of Blue.

© 2020 by KySportsStyle360, LLC