Well, let me start by saying that I don’t have any visceral dislike for the Kentucky football program. They’re not Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia Tech… well, you get the idea. I think Stoops is an excellent coach who’s done a good job maximizing what he can get out of that program. The ‘Cats are 6-0 right now and even if they lose today, their prospects for the rest of the season are good, like 10 wins and a potential NY6 bowl game good.
That all being said, Stoops and his team have two big problems. First, they want to run the ball — no, more accurately, they need to run the ball — in order to have a shot today; unfortunately, that runs smack dab into the greatest strength of this Georgia team. Second, they’ve got a couple of key injuries in places where they really can’t afford them, the defensive line and wide receiver.
That being said, I don’t think Stoops lets his offense suddenly go all pass first on the Dawgs. It’s not how Kentucky is built and Stoops knows a shortened clock is his best friend. I think he’ll look for ways to steal a possession or even two. (For some reason, I keep thinking the ‘Cats will try an onside kick at some point, but don’t quote me on that.) Even if he manages that, I doubt it would be enough.
For Kentucky to prevail, it’s going to take an “any given Saturday” course of events, like something crazy in turnover margin (say, at least +3) or Levis having a Beyond Crompton game, as Calzada did last week against TAMU. Neither are impossible, of course, but both are unlikely.
I think it’s more likely that we’re going to see a grinder of a game that Georgia slowly, but steadily, asserts control over. And I think that when the game hits the point of no return, Stoops and Smart are both going to play run the clock. Accordingly, I think Georgia gets close to covering the 22.5, but falls just short. Maybe something like 31-10 or 35-13.
One small thing to keep an eye on this afternoon is the weather. No, we’re not getting a repeat of 2019 conditions, thank Gawd. But it’s supposed to be a windy afternoon, with gusts in the mid-20s. Will that impact the kicking game or the deep passing game? Maybe.
Add your thoughts and observations in the comments. I’ll be back in a few…