When the season began, no one thought the Missouri Tigers had a chance in competing for the SEC title and with just three more victories, they will be headed to the conference title game. Entering a new conference, no one believed that this average Big 12 team could make any noise in the SEC — they were all wrong.
On the other side of the field, the Kentucky Wildcats are not on the same level as the Tigers this season. As a long-standing SEC team, the Wildcats have won just two conference titles ever. It would be a tough pill to swallow if the Tigers won half the titles Kentucky has as members of the SEC in just two seasons.
Missouri lost quarterback James Franklin a few weeks ago and that led to the team’s first loss of the season against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Freshman gunslinger Maty Mauk had filled in nicely for the veteran quarterback, however, passing for 748 yards and five touchdowns in three starts. Franklin will be back and his 1,577 yards and 14 touchdowns this season has to be enough to take his job right back. L’Damian Washington has 36 catches for 680 yards and nine touchdowns to lead this talented group of wide outs. Henry Josey leads the 16th-ranked run offense with 647 yards and eight rushing scores on the year.
Kentucky has a lower-tier offense this season. With a new head coach in place, the Wildcats have already equalled their win total from 2012, but with an unfavorable schedule remaining and no wins in conference play, it looks like the Wildcats could go 2-10 once again in 2013. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Whitlow looks to be the starter after a battle between him and Maxwell Smith, but Whitlow brings far more to the table. Whitlow might not have standout numbers because he has split time this season, but he has passed for 690 yards and five touchdowns with a 65 percent completion rate and the ability to run the ball at the quarterback position.
Defensively, the Wildcats allow 27.3 points per game which is good for 70th in the nation. They also allow 438.7 yards per game which is good for 87th in the country. Missouri ranks 23rd in points allowed and 63rd in yards allowed per game.
Missouri will travel to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 9. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.
PREDICTION: Missouri 34, Kentucky 17