College Football Predictions – Kentucky Wildcats 2019 College Football Preview
Record – 10-3
ATS – 6-7
The Wildcats had a great season as they bagged ten wins and beat Florida for the first time since the invention of the STEAM ENGINE. They came within shouting distance of making the SEC Championship Game but lost at home to Georgia. Kentucky finished the season in style by defeating Penn St in the Citrus Bowl (W 27-24).
HC Mark Stoops is doing some great work in Lexington and has led them to three consecutive winning campaigns. Can they keep the momentum going?
2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating
East Division – #6
SEC – #11
Kentucky Wildcats 2019 Outlook
The Wildcats managed to win a lot of games last year despite having one of the most anemic passing attacks in college football (161 YPG, #117 FBS). TOUCHDOWN TERRY WILSON was reasonably efficient (67%, 11-8 TD to INT) but did not make enough plays in the THROW GAME. Wilson is a very effective runner but will need to do more damage through the air this year. The Cats have a ton of departures at WR and TE but do return #1 WR Lynn Bowden (67-745, 5 TD LY). We’re still skeptical of their ability to scare defenses with the threat of the forward pass. The rushing attack takes a massive hit with the loss of all-Universe RB Benny Snell who leaves the program as their #1 all-time leading rusher (NFL – Steelers). It remains to be seen what the remaining men in the RB room accomplish. Maybe there is a SURPRISE PACKAGE lurking within? Asim Rose averaged over 6 yards a carry LY and freshman Travis Tisdale has promise. The OL returns just a pair of starters but they look strong at C and LT.
The Cats have posted 26.6 and 25.5 PPG over the past two years and we think a similar level of output can be expected in 2019. If anything, there is risk to the downside.
Kentucky played tremendous defense a season ago and decreased their PPG allowed from 28.2 to a sparkling 16.8 (#2 SEC). Looking ahead? UH OH. DE Josh Allen was one of the top performers in all of college football last year and will be impossible to replace (#1 DC – Jags). Allen led the team in tackles (!) and tallied an impossible 17 sacks (#2 FBS). The Cats only return four starters to the stop unit and will be hard pressed to come up with the same performance that they had in 2018. Not only do the Wildcats have to deal without Allen, but the entire starting secondary needs to be replaced. There is particular concern at CB where experience is extremely lacking.
There are still some talented players in the front seven but there’s no question the defense will be down a significant notch this year.
Some good news! The Wildcats appear to have one of the best groups in the conference with the return of their excellent punter Max Duffy (40.2 yard net LY) and ace PR Lynn Bowden who brought back two of his five (!) returns to the HOUSE in 2018. Chance Poore takes over the FG duties and was 2/4 last season in limited action.
Overall – More good news! The Cats somehow play just four road games and avoid ROLL TIDE, Auburn, and LSU from the SEC West. The non-conference slate is fairly soft, although the games with Toledo and Eastern Michigan will not be gimmes.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Nothing noted as we approach press time.
Season Win Total
Over 6.5 -150
Under 6.5 +130
That’s a sharp number. The Cats lose a pair of superstars BUT have a very manageable schedule. Will probably avoid this market.
AHOY! Trivia nugget ahead!
Paul “Bear” Bryant was Kentucky’s head coach for eight seasons and compiled a record of 60- 23-6. In 1950, the Wildcats finished 11-1 after beating #1 ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. They were not recognized as a national champ since the voting took place before the bowl games. Statistical guru Jeff Sagarin anoints Kentucky as the “real” national title winner from that season.
MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Negative
This has the feeling of a reload season for Kentucky. The good news is that HC Mark Stoops might have built this program to the point where they can lose some all-time players and just need to RELOAD as opposed to REBUILD. We won’t undersell their ability to cobble enough wins together to make a bowl appearance.
HC Mark Stoops has a 30-43-2 ATS record (41%) since arriving in Lexington. The Cats have had trouble vs the number under his watch and this season will probably bring more carnage for point-spread backers. Use caution before adding them to your weekly betting cards.
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