2017 Kentucky Season Predictions

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JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 31: University of Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Stephen Johnson (15) scrambles during the TaxSlayer Bowl game between the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets and the University of Kentucky Wildcats on December 31, 2016, at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.(Photo by Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2017 Kentucky Season Predictions

After coming ever so close the previous two seasons, the Kentucky Wildcats finally broke through in 2016 making the TaxSlayer Bowl, the school’s first since 2010. With 17 returning starters, expectations are higher than they have been in a decade. Can Mark Stoops keep the momentum going? That is what we are going to decide as we present the 2017 Kentucky Season Predictions.

Payback For Last Season?

At Southern Mississippi- September 2nd

The Cats’ season was nearly derailed before it even started with the season’s first game of 2016. After jumping out to a 35-10 lead, Kentucky gave up 34 unanswered points, losing 44-35 to the Golden Eagles. This is the ultimate definition of a revenge game, and the Cats will do just that.

Kentucky 42 – Southern Miss 31, UK 1-0 / 0-0 SEC

Eastern Kentucky- September 9th

Two years ago, the FCS Colonels came in to Lexington and nearly pulled a shocking upset. Down two touchdowns in the 4th quarter, the Cats rallied to win 34-27 in overtime. This time it won’t be nearly as close as Kentucky wins the first game at Kroger Field with ease.

Kentucky 49 – Eastern Kentucky 14, UK 2-0 / 0-0 SEC

At South Carolina- September 16th

Only once in school history has Kentucky beat an SEC team not named Vanderbilt four years in a row. During the Glory Years of Bear Bryant the Cats handed Florida four straight losses from 1948-1951. Once the Gamecocks moved Jake Bentley into the starting quarterback role, Carolina became a much better team. In front of a “Blackout” in Columbia, the Gamecocks will break their losing streak.

South Carolina 27 – Kentucky 24, UK 2-1/ 0-1 SEC

Is This The Year?

Florida at Kentucky- September 23rd

Speaking of streaks, the Wildcats have not beaten the Gators since 1986. Though they have come close two of the last three years before getting blown out last year.

Kentucky will be catching the Gators at a good time on the schedule. Jim McElwain still hasn’t decided on a quarterback, and they are coming off a huge game the week before against Tennessee. The Wildcats defense will be able to contain the Gators offense and will finally break the streak.

Kentucky 24 – Florida 20, UK 3-1 / 1-1 SEC

Eastern Michigan- September 30th

The Wildcats round out the season’s first month with a visit from the Eagles. Under third year coach Chris Creighton, they went from 1-11 to 7-6 and a berth in the Bahamas Bowl. The Eagles are 0-17 all-time against schools from Power Five conferences. This has the makings of a huge letdown game for the Cats, but one they should still win easily.

Kentucky 38 – Eastern Michigan 17, UK 4-1 / 1-1 SEC

Missouri- October 7th

The Tigers scored a ton of points under Barry Odom last season. The problem is they gave up even more. Drew Lock and J’Mon Moore will put up huge numbers in the game, but the Kentucky offense will put up even more. First one to 40 points wins, as Stoops’ team wraps up an impressive first half of the season.

Kentucky 45 – Missouri 31, UK 5-1 / 2-1 SEC

A Tough Stretch of Conference Games

As we continue on with the 2017 Kentucky Season Predictions, time to head to the second half of the schedule. At this point, the Cats need only one win to reach bowl eligibility for a second straight season.

At Mississippi State- October 21st

After a bye week, Kentucky heads to Starkville for a tough road contest. A field goal by Austin Macginnis gave the Cats a 40-38 win, the first over a Dan Mullen-coached team. The Bulldogs will be out for revenge and will get it behind Nick Fitzgerald in a hard-fought game.

Mississippi State 24 – Kentucky 17, UK 5-2 / 2-2 SEC

Tennessee- October 28th

In addition to the long losing streak to Florida, the Cats have been just as bad against the Volunteers. With only one win since 1984 against Tennessee, Kentucky would love nothing more than a victory against their arch SEC rival. Last season’s game featured 85 points and over 1,200 yards. A similar game looks likely, as the Cats get their first wins over Florida and Tennessee in the same season since 1977.

Kentucky 41 – Tennessee 31, UK 6-2 / 3-2 SEC

Ole Miss- November 4th

With bowl eligibility secured, the goal now will be to improve their destination. The Rebels have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons this summer and are banned from postseason in 2017. Shea Patterson will throw up some impressive stats, but Kentucky gets the win.

Kentucky 31 – Ole Miss 23, UK 7-2 / 4-2 SEC

A True Toss-Up Game

At Vanderbilt- November 11th

The Cats and Commodores are almost mirror images of each other. Two teams trending upwards who want to break through into the upper tier of the SEC East.

A season ago, a goal line stand preserved a 20-13 victory after a fourth down pass by Kyle Shurmur fell incomplete. This is the toughest game on the schedule to predict, as the teams are so similar. A ball control contest between Ralph Webb and Benjamin Snell Jr.  looks likely. The Cats win on a last second field goal by Macginnis.

Kentucky 20 – Vanderbilt 17, UK 8-2 / 5-2 SEC

At Georgia- November 18th

With the exception of last season, in which the Bulldogs won on a field goal at the final horn, the Cats have had little recent success against Georgia. Winners of only three of the last 20, many of which have been blowouts. Kirby Smart‘s team is the preseason favorite to win the SEC, and they have the defense to shut down Stephen Johnson, Snell and company.

Georgia 31 – Kentucky 14, UK 8-3 / 5-3 SEC

Battle For The Bluegrass

Louisville- November 25th

The Wildcats finish the season with a visit from the team 80 miles up Interstate 64. When the two teams last met, the Cats were a four touchdown underdog. However, the defense forced four turnovers by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and upset Bobby Petrino’s Cards 41-38.

Jackson seems to be getting no respect as a returning Heisman winner and will be out to prove it on the field against Kentucky. Both of these teams have weapons galore, and on paper this figures to be a shootout. In the end, Jackson gets his revenge in a close one.

Louisville 38 – Kentucky 34, UK 8-4 / 5-3 SEC

If these predictions hold true, then 2017 goes down as a big season for Kentucky football.  Eight wins in the regular season would be the most since 1984. Five wins in the SEC would be the first time ever since the league split into two divisions in 1992 and overall since 1977.

With their 8-4 season, the Cats will head to Charlotte to play in the Belk Bowl against Notre Dame. Talk about an exciting match up for True Blue Fans!

Thanks for reading the 2017 Kentucky Season Predictions here at Last Word on College Football. What is your guess on a record or bowl game for the Wildcats? Post your thoughts in the comment section.

Main Photo

JACKSONVILLE, FL – DECEMBER 31: University of Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Stephen Johnson (15) scrambles during the TaxSlayer Bowl game between the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets and the University of Kentucky Wildcats on December 31, 2016, at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.(Photo by Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Kevin lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Dr. Rachel McGuffey and two kids Ryan and Mary Beth. He can be heard talking SEC Football On The Hill with Pat Jenkins and with Mark Rogers of Mark Rogers TV. He also is a contributor to the Hey Kentucky program that airs on WLEX-TV in Lexington.
He is a fan of Kentucky football and basketball along with the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Golden State Warriors. He can be reached via Twitter @KevinMcGuffey

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