2012 Kentucky Wildcats Football Preview
2011 Record: 5-7 (2-6 SEC)
Head Coach: Joker Phillips, third season (11-14 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 13
Spring Game: April 21st (Kentucky 35 Wildcats 28)
Notes: The formula for the post-season under Rich Brooks was winning their four non-conference games and at least two conference games. Coach Joker Phillips used that same formula in his first season as head coach at his alma mater, defeating Louisville, Western Kentucky, Akron, and Charleston Southern in non-conference play, and South Carolina and Vanderbilt in conference play, in 2010. In 2011, Kentucky’s streak of five straight bowl games was snapped. The Wildcats beat Ole Miss and Tennessee in conference play as well as Western Kentucky, Central Michigan, and Jacksonville State in non-conference play, but fell at home to rival Louisville, costing them a bowl bid and the Governor’s Cup. On the bright side, Kentucky’s win over Tennessee snapped a 26 game losing streak, dating back to 1984.
BVTSB Take: The easiest way for Kentucky to get to the post-season would be to beat Louisville, Kent State, Western Kentucky, and Samford. The latter three are likely wins, but Louisville has been the more dominant team in the state of Kentucky as of late, and is likely a loss for the Wildcats. The conference schedule is absolutely brutal. Kentucky will not play Ole Miss; the SEC West teams they play are Mississippi State and Arkansas – tough opponents. Quarterback Maxwell Smith returns for his sophomore season, as does leading rusher CoShik Williams, who accounted for one-third of the Wildcats rushing touchdowns. Wide receiver La’Rod King returns in 2012; he hauled in seven of the 12 receiving touchdowns that Kentucky had last season. Matt Roark and Nick Melillo, the next two leading receivers, graduate. Look for Kentucky to struggle mightily in the SEC this season. And look for a second straight season with no bowl game.
2012 Early Projection: 3-9
To see the 2012 SEC composite schedule, click here.
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