Bowl appearance for Kentucky football? WDRB Sports staff predict - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bowl appearance for Kentucky football? WDRB Sports staff predictions

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Kentucky needs a big season from quarterback Patrick Towles to make a bowl game this season. Kentucky needs a big season from quarterback Patrick Towles to make a bowl game this season.

By WDRB Sports staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Over the last four seasons, the Kentucky football program has averaged 3.5 victories.

The Wildcats have won seven regular-season games once in the last seven seasons.

A year ago Kentucky started 5-1 and finished 5-7.

Knowing all that, all five members of the WDRB Sports staff have Kentucky winning at least half its games. Three staffers predict 7-5 seasons for the Wildcats.

What is the path to six or seven wins for Kentucky?

It’s simple. First, Kentucky plays eight home games. The Wildcats finished 5-2 at Commonwealth Stadium in 2014, year two for coach Mark Stoops in Lexington.

Second, Louisiana-Lafayette, Eastern Kentucky and Charlotte all project as solid Kentucky victories. The Wildcats should also win at Vanderbilt. That’s four.

Difficult to imagine Kentucky winning at Georgia or toppling Auburn, one of the SEC favorites.

The formula after that is simple: Kentucky needs to split its six other games – road games at South Carolina and Mississippi State; home games against Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Louisville.

The Wildcats have lost seven straight at Columbia. They beat an 0-5 South Carolina team in 1999.

Kentucky has lost 28 straight against Florida.

The Wildcats are 0-3 against Missouri since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012. The average margin of defeat in those losses has been an average of three touchdowns.

Kentucky has lost six straight to Mississippi State.

The Wildcats have beaten Tennessee once since 1984, losing, 50-16, to the Volunteers last season.

Louisville has won four straight against Kentucky.

Now you know what a big deal it will be if Stoops and the Wildcats win seven games this season.

On to the 2015 predictions for Kentucky.

ERIC CRAWFORD: 6-6. The Wildcats get to a bowl, but still have work to do.

TOM LANE: 6-6. Improvement … enough for a bowl appearance.

JOHN LEWIS: 7-5. UK will benefit from eight home games in a renovated stadium this season, which will allow the Cats to win a couple that maybe they’d lose on the road.

MIKE LACETT: 7-5. This is the year the Wildcats not only beat Louisville but also get back into a bowl game. They have the talent but they’re in a tough conference.

RICK BOZICH: 7-5. I said it in July and I’ll say it again: Kentucky wins home games against Florida and Louisville.

WDRB SPORTS CONSENSUS: 7-5.

PHIL STEELE COLLEGE FOOTBALL YEARBOOK: Wildcats are 58th in Steele’s power poll, one spot behind Iowa. They’re also picked sixth in the SEC East. Steele does not predict a bowl appearance for Kentucky.

ATHLON SPORTS: Wildcats ranked 55th nationally, behind Navy. Kentucky projected to play North Carolina in the Independence Bowl. Wildcats picked sixth in SEC East, ahead of Vanderbilt.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Kentucky projected to finish sixth, ahead of Vanderbilt, in SEC East.

ESPN MAGAZINE: Kentucky ranked 48th nationally in ESPN power index, behind Texas Tech. Wildcats picked sixth in SEC East, ahead of Vanderbilt. Win projection total is 5.9.

SPORTING NEWS: Wildcats predicted to finish sixth, ahead of Vanderbilt, in the SEC East.

SAGARIN RATINGS: Kentucky ranked 57th in Sagarin’s pre-season computer formula. Wildcats favored by 10.81 against Louisiana-Lafayette at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night.

AGAINST THE NUMBER: Chris Andrews ranks the Wildcats 43rd in the nation, behind Penn State. Predicts Kentucky to win 5.9 games. Andrews puts UK’s win probability at 50 percent or better against Louisiana-Lafayette, Eastern Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Charlotte and Louisville.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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