Kentucky will have a rare chance to win two in a row against Tennessee.
This is an overview. Predictions come later. Home games in CAPS.
9/2: at Louisville
9/8: KENT STATE
9/15: WESTERN KENTUCKY
9/22: at Florida
9/29: SOUTH CAROLINA
The first month looks like the standard opening fare for a Kentucky football season. It has Louisville, two cupcakes, and Florida. Thanks to a five-week September, it has South Carolina in it too. Picking up a win versus their in-state rival is, as always, a necessity for the Wildcats' bowl hopes. That's not a typo by the way; the 'Cats are playing the Cardinals on Sunday. The shorter week won't matter with a MACrifice coming up after. This year, Kentucky has the good sense to play WKU in Lexington instead of in an empty stadium in Nashville.
Kentucky broke the country's longest uninterrupted losing streak of one program to another by beating Tennessee last year, which makes its losing streak to Florida the longest one now. For that streak to be broken, it will require a drastic turnaround from recent events. UK was last close to beating UF in 2007; in the four games since, it has lost to the Gators by a combined score of 200-36. They've been a lot closer to South Carolina of late, though not in last year's 54-3 drubbing.
10/6: MISSISSIPPI STATE
10/13: at Arkansas
10/27: at Missouri
Unlike Ole Miss, Kentucky did receive a brutal October slate. Mississippi State appears right now to be the most winnable game, and the Bulldogs are probably going bowling for a third straight season. Arkansas will have one of the country's truly elite offensive attacks, and the other two teams here should be fighting it out for the division crown. My real question is whether the team will give Missouri a patented Kentucky Game™, where a good team ends up a close scrapper for no good reason, or whether the 'Cats will roll over in their first visit to their new division mates' field.
11/24: at Tennessee
Kentucky probably wishes its off week came before rather than after the Vanderbilt game given the tough October, but you can't always get what you want from the schedule makers. A virtual second bye week against the customary I-AA opponent then precedes a chance to build an actual winning streak against Tennessee. The last time the Wildcats won two straight against the Vols was 1976-77.