It's hard to pick out the highlights of Kentucky's schedule for this coming season, in part because Kentucky is expected to have a fairly rough go of it. There are few indications that the Wildcats are in serious contention for the postseason. No one really expects them to snap a 27-game losing streak against Florida. Getting to one or two SEC wins would be a sizable accomplishment.
But if Kentucky is a bit better than expected, they might be able to have something to play for going into November. Not much to play for, mind you, and the November road swing is enough to all but guarantee that Kentucky will lose what they have to play for. But just seeing the last month of the season as something less than a yawning chasm of despair would be progress. Baby steps.
It starts off as good as it gets. Aside from the trip to Gainesville to take on the Gators, this is about as favorable an opening schedule as Kentucky could get. If there is any faint hope of the Wildcats of making a bowl game -- if -- it has to start with a 3-1 record in these games. The layout is just too perfect: the FCS cupcake and home games against a midmajor and the Commodores, the latter coming off of a bye week. That's not to say that a 3-1 record here is likely, just that it's the best chance for Kentucky to set itself up for success. Even then, a postseason berth could be difficult to get, because things only get harder from here.
October, more trick than treat. About the only good news in this stretch is that three of the games are at home. Underestimating Louisiana-Monroe is a mistake that's proven fatal for more than one SEC team, so even the purported cupcake in this stretch is trickier than your average Sun Belt foe. Oh, and did we mention that the Gamecocks, Tigers and potentially improved Western Division Bulldogs are the other teams playing against the Wildcats this month. If a good record for Vanderbilt in the first month is 3-1, an acceptable record for the second month has to be 1-3; simply going 2-2 might be overachieving for Kentucky this year.
On the road again and again and again. The annual rivalry game against the Cardinals has been shifted to the end of the season, so Kentucky fans will have to wait to get their latest shot at Bobby Petrino. By then, Kentucky will be on its third road game in four contests, so avenging losses that happened several years ago will probably be near the bottom of the Wildcats' priorities by then. But for whatever goals Kentucky might have, you almost wonder if it would have been better served with either the Missouri or Tennessee games being at home instead of the Georgia game. Not that UK is likely to win any of those three games, but the Vols and the Tigers seem like they would be easier upset victims than the Dawgs. No matter how you arrange the games, though, it wouldn't be surprising to see Kentucky go 0-4 this month, dashing whatever hopes that might be intact going into November.