LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – There are five teams ranked in the Top 25 parked on the University of Kentucky’s 2016 football schedule – and the Wildcats play four of those games away from Commonwealth Stadium.

They get Georgia at home on the first Saturday in November. But Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisville must be confronted on the road.

Read between the lines. Kentucky’s path to six victories and the first bowl trip of the Mark Stoops Era is narrow and packed with blind curves, not to mention relentless linebackers.

The formula for six wins is perfectly clear: Win the three non-conference home games with Southern Miss (Saturday night), New Mexico State and Austin Peay.

Win two more home games against SEC East bottom feeders – Vanderbilt and South Carolina

Snatch another win in toss-up games against either Missouri (road) or Mississippi State (home).






Now you’re pushing it with the WDRB Sports staff. We have three predictions the Wildcats will pick six wins against this schedule and three others than Kentucky will stall at five for the third consecutive season.

If you like Kentucky, you like the running game led by Boom Williams, you like the veteran receivers, you like the improved offensive line, you like new offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and you like the talented defensive secondary.

If you look at the picture from another angle and forecast only five victories, you wonder if Drew Barker can play winning football in the Southeastern Conference, you wonder about the durability and health of Williams, you shake your head at how many balls the UK receivers have dropped the last two seasons and you have legitimate questions about how Stoops’ defensive front seven will hold up over a dozen games.

Here is what the WDRB Sports staff is predicting:

TOM LANE: 5-7.  Cats can’t quite get to 6 wins again … third straight 5-7.

MIKE LACETT: 5-7. And I think that’s being generous. Too much going against UK this year. Five pre-season top 25 games. Four of them on the road.  There isn’t a lot of depth on defense and their quarterback is by and large unproven.

JOHN LEWIS: 5-7. QB Drew Barker is unproven and UK is on its third offensive coordinator in three years. Too many question marks before the season for me to think that Kentucky can improve on last year's record.

KATIE GEORGE: 6-6. Bowl eligible! Bowl eligible!

ERIC CRAWFORD: 6-6. Wildcats catch a break in a down year in the SEC East, get their elusive bowl.

RICK BOZICH: 6-6. Three reasons: 1. Did you watch South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt Thursday? Or maybe you turned it off. That’s two wins;. 2. The Wildcats have veteran weapons at halfback and receiver; 3. They’re due (overdue?) a break or two.

Consensus: Flip a coin. Three votes for six wins. Three for another 5-7 season.

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