The Kentucky Wildcats had last weekend off after surviving one of the nation’s most difficult stretches over the last four games. Kentucky played four straight ranked opponents, and played three of them pretty well. The exception was the last game, a 48-7 loss, at home, to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Having made it through the tough part of the schedule, Kentucky now faces some games against teams that are more on their level. That starts on Thursday night when the Wildcats travel to Starkville to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Kentucky has had pretty good success against Mississippi State over the years, leading the series 21-19. However, the Wildcats have lost four in a row to the Bulldogs, last winning in 2008.
The Wildcats are also facing a number of injuries after being physically dominated by Alabama. The most significant injury was an ankle sprain suffered by starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow. Initially, head coach Mark Stoops said that Whitlow would not play against MSU, but it now appears that Whitlow might be available, if needed. Maxwell Smith will get the start at quarterback against MSU.
For the Kentucky program to be successful, the Wildcats need to consistently beat teams like Mississippi State. The Wildcats should also get their share of wins against the Vanderbilt Commodores, and when playing lesser opponents out of the Southeastern Conference‘s Western Division.
As for the 2013 season, Kentucky is just 1-5 and could use a win, any win, and unlike in the last four games, they may actually have a shot in this one. It won’t be easy, winning on the road in the SEC never is. But Kentucky has shown improvement in Stoops’ first season, and they now hope that improvement actually earns them a victory.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.