Kentucky Football Predictions

The Wildcats haven’t been to a bowl game since 2010. It’s put up or shut up for head coach Mark Stoops as he enters his fourth season on the job. He has recruited as well as anyone ever has at Kentucky, but he’s simply not getting the results.

Kentucky has only won four conference games total over the past four seasons. It is coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons that ended in heartbreak with narrow losses to Louisville in the season finale. Stoops desperately needs to get to a bowl game in 2016 if he wants to retain his job.

The Wildcats will welcome back 14 starters and 43 lettermen while losing only 22 letter winners. They get seven home games this season compared to just five on the road, so if they can take care of business at home, they will be going bowling finally in 2016.

Last Season
SEC East
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
5-7 (2-6 SEC)
2016 Kentucky Wildcats Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/3 Southern Miss
9/10 @ Florida
9/17 New Mexico State
9/24 South Carolina
10/1 @ Alabama
10/8 Vanderbilt
10/22 Mississippi State
10/29 @ Missouri
11/5 Georgia
11/12 @ Tennessee
11/19 Austin Peay
11/26 @ Louisville
Estimated Wins: TBD

The Wildcats should be improved on offense this season with nine starters back on this side of the ball. They only averaged 24.7 points and 372 yards per game last season. The new offensive coordinator is Eddie Gran, who held the same position for a high-powered Cincinnati offense over the past three years.

Starting QB Patrick Towles transferred to Boston College in December. That leaves talented sophomore Drew Barker to battle JUCO transfer Stephen Johnson for starting duties. Barker completed 50.0 percent of his passes for 364 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in limited action as a freshman last year.

Kentucky will have one of the most underrated rushing attacks in the SEC. That’s because Stanley “Boom” Williams (855 yards, 7.1/carry, 6 TD) and Jojo Kemp (55 yards, 5.7/carry, 6 TD) both return. They are a thunder and lighting combo that should do big things this year.

Each of the top four receivers are back from last year in Garrett Johnson (46 receptions, 694 yards, 2 TD), Dorian Baker (55, 608, 3 TD), Jeff Badet (29, 430, 2 TD) and Blake Bone (20, 210, 1 TD). Also back is sophomore TE CJ Conrad (15, 149, 1 TD).

Stoops will have his best offensive line yet with four starters and 87 career starts returning. Leading the way will be senior C Jon Toth and a trio of juniors in RG Ramsey Meyers, LG Nick Haynes and RT Kyle Meadows. Junior LT Cole Mosier will have to fend off talented JUCO transfer Tate Leavitt for starting duties.


Stoops had his best defense yet last season as the Wildcats allowed 27.4 points and 394 yards per game. While those numbers are just mediocre, it was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Wildcats only bring back five starters on D while losing a whopping seven of their top eight tacklers from a year ago.

The defensive line managed just 5.5 sacks last year and loses 4.5 of those. The lone returning starter is DE Regie Meant (31 tackles, 1 sack). The Wildcats need NT Matt Elam (23 tackles) to live up to his potential. Senior DE Courtney Miggins (12 tackles) figures to be the third starter up front.

The linebacker corps will see a bunch of new faces this year. The Wildcats add in Nebraska transfer Courtney Love and Minnesota transfer De’Niro Laster. Sophomore Jordan Jones should be ready to start at MLB after gaining valuable experience as a freshman last year. The lone returning starter is sophomore OLB Denzil Ware (39 tackles, 5.5 for loss).

The secondary will likely improve because they had three freshman starters to end last season. Those three are now sophomores and expected to start again in CB Chris Westry (36 tackles, 2 INT), CB Derrick Baity (19 tackles) and SS Mike Edwards (39 tackles, 1 INT). They do return a pair of senior starters in FS Marcus McWilson (66 tackles) and NB Blake McClain (31 tackles, 5 pass break-ups).

Odds (Courtesy of 5Dimes)
Regular Season Win Total
SEC East Odds
SEC Championship Odds
4-Team Playoff Odds
National Championship Odds
Season Predictions

The Wildcats have been tormented by great starts and awful finishes over the past two seasons. They opened 5-1 in 2014 before going 0-6 to finish and missing out on a bowl game. They started 4-1 last year and went 1-6 the rest of the way. They had Louisville on the ropes in the season finale both seasons, but came up short.

Stoops will have his best offense yet in 2016 provided either Barker or Johnson steps up because there are nine returning starters on this side of the ball. Unfortunately, the defense may be one of his worst with the losses of seven of the top eight tacklers. Somehow the D is going to have to overachieve for this team to get to a bowl.

The Wildcats do get seven home games this season and should be favored in five of them with the exceptions being Georgia and Mississippi State. If they can win those five and upset one of those two, they could go bowling. But I have them going 5-2 at home and 0-5 on the road as they will be a dog in all five road games. Plus, they are just 1-21 on the road over the past five seasons. It’s going to be a third straight 5-7 season in Lexington in 2016.

2016 Projections
SEC East
SEC Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
Under 6
More College Football Predictions
Conference USA

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