Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition of The Krystal Ball. For those of you new to the site, I like to have a little fun and try to predict the outcomes of the week's SEC games. However, today's edition is all about the 2010 season.
After an unprecedented fourth straight bowl, it has been a busy off season. Pa-Paw Rich Brooks retired and now Joker Phillips gets his chance to run the Wildcat program.
Looking at this year's team, the biggest question will be "Who Is the Quarterback??" Mike Harline seems to have the early nod, but with Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski in the wings, who knows. The rest of the offense seems to be in good hands. Randall Cobb, Derrick Locke and Chris Matthews, who has said to have looked really good in training camp, all return.
The defensive side of the ball is where the questions lie. Corey Peters, Trevard Lindley, Micah Johnson and Sam Maxwell are all gone. Also Paul Warford didn't make grades so he is out this year as well.
Cobb has said he thinks this team can score 40 points a game...they may need to.
With that in mind, let's look at the season game by game.
September 4 at Louisville - Joker's first game at UK may be his biggest. Charlie Strong comes in from Florida to take over the Cardinal program. The bad news for UK fans, Strong is going to be a better coach than Steve Kragthorpe. The good news, this is probably the worst team U of L will have under Strong. Look for the Cats to make it four in a row.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 27-17 (UK 1-0)
September 11 vs. Western Kentucky - For Kentucky's home opener they get the Hilltoppers from down the road in Bowling Green. New Coach Willie Taggart comes in to coach at his alma mater. But he inherits a team that was 0-12 last season and this year doesn't look much better.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 48-7 (UK 2-0)
September 18 vs. Akron - This will be UK's third straight game against a new coach. Former Notre Dame assistant Rob Ianello takes over a team that was 3-9 last year in the MAC. Kentucky should have little trouble going 3-0.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 38-14 (UK 3-0)
September 25 at Florida - Well we all know the story here, the last Kentucky win against Florida was 1986. It certainly was an interesting off-season down in Gainesville. Urban Meyer did his best Brett Farve by retiring, then deciding to come back, and the NCAA has been sniffing around as well.
Tim Tebow is gone and now John Brantley takes the reigns of the high powered offense. I would love to pick an upset, but it isn't going to happen.
Krystal Ball Says - Florida 41-20 (UK 3-1 0-1 SEC)
October 2 at Ole Miss - Houston Nutt's team is coming off a 9-4 season and a win in the Cotton Bowl. However they must replace 13 starters including QB Jevan Snead, who made the really bad decision to enter the NFL draft. Nathan Stanley takes over for Snead.
This looks to be a prime opportunity for the Cats to pull an upset, however they haven't won in Oxford since 1964.
Krystal Ball Says - Ole Miss 23-20 (UK 3-2 0-2 SEC)
October 9 vs. Auburn - Gene Chizik's club started the season 5-0 before fading to finish 8-5 including a win in the Outback Bowl. Included in that was the Cats first win over Auburn in 43 years. Much like the Ole Miss game, this looks like a great chance for a UK win. This time I think they will get it.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 27-17 (UK 4-2 1-2 SEC)
October 16 vs. South Carolina - We all know the story here, The Ole Ball Coach is 17-0 against Kentucky in his career. The Cats have had chances but haven't been able to pull out a win. Stephen Garcia is back for seemingly his 20th season in Columbia, and on paper UK seems to have a great chance to win here. However something will happen...it always does.
Krystal Ball Says - South Carolina 24-21 (UK 4-3 1-3 SEC)
October 23 vs. Georgia - Marc Richt has gone 90-27 in his time in Athens and still there are folks rumbling about his job. The Dogs return everyone from their offense except QB Joe Cox...and that might not be a bad thing. The Cats won in Athens last year for the first time since 1977, but I think the Dogs may return the favor this year.
Krystal Ball Says - Georgia 31-28 (UK 4-4 1-4 SEC)
October 30th at Mississippi State - Dan Mullen went 5-7 in his first season in Starkville including a big win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Expectations are running pretty high in season two. The interesting thing about this series, Kentucky always seems to win in Starkville and the Bulldogs seem to always win in Lexington.
The Cats rebound starts here.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 21-17 (UK 5-4 2-4 SEC)
November 6 vs. Charleston Southern - The Cats step out of conference for a game against the Buccaneers of the Big South conference. After six straight games against the SEC, they could use a break. The Bucs are a pretty good FCS team but UK will get bowl eligible here.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 34-17 (UK 6-4 2-4 SEC)
November 13 at Vanderbilt - The Commodores went 2-10 and 0-8 in the SEC, and then Bobby Johnson surprised everyone by retiring over the summer. This lead to Robbie Caldwell taking over. The self-proclaimed "Turkey Inseminator" or Larry the Cable Coach as some have called him was the hit of the SEC Media Days. Unfortunately for him reality is about to hit. Vandy is bad...really bad.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 31-10 (UK 7-4 3-4 SEC)
November 27 at Tennessee - It comes down to this...25 straight losses to the Vols. Lane Kiffin lasted one season, pretty much alienating everyone and left for USC. Enter Derek Dooley, the son of Vince Dooley who comes from Louisiana Tech where he was 17-20 in three years.
Matt Simms will be the QB after transferring from Louisville. The looks to be the worst Tennessee team in years and this should FINALLY be the year the streak ends.
Krystal Ball Says - Kentucky 28-20 (UK 8-4 4-4 SEC)
Well there you have it! I am calling for 8-4 for this season. Of course with some breaks either way the record could go up or down. I will say UK goes to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville to play a team from the Big Ten.
What do you think? Are my picks way off, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and for supporting KSN. Next week I will predict the SEC East. See you in 7!