LEXINGTON, Ky. — Six down and six to go.
The Wildcats are off this weekend and their record sits at an even 3-3, 2-2 SEC. Kentucky needs three wins to receive its first bowl bid since 2010. Just how likely is it?
We ranked Kentucky’s opponents from easiest to toughest. All records are prior to this weekend’s games.
6. Austin Peay (0-5), Nov. 19
The Governors can’t hang with fellow FCS opponents and this one should be a scrimmage for the Wildcats. Austin Peay’s lowest margin of loss was 14 points to Tennessee-Martin. There’s not much else to say past that.
Austin Peay is sandwiched between Tennessee and Louisville at the end of Kentucky’s schedule. Beating the Governors is a given, and it could be the elusive sixth win to get the Wildcats bowling.
5. Mississippi State (2-3), Oct. 22
It’s a must-win to keep postseason aspirations alive, but history isn’t on Kentucky’s side. The Wildcats are winless against the Bulldogs in coach Mark Stoops’ tenure and Mississippi State has won seven in a row in the series.
That said, Mississippi State is having a down year and Kentucky is presented another winnable home game. Kentucky is off Saturday with an extra week to prepare for Mississippi State, who had to head west for a Friday night matchup against BYU.
4. at Missouri (2-3), Oct. 29
Kentucky edged South Carolina and held on against Vanderbilt. Beating Missouri would complete the trifecta of wins against the bad second tier of the SEC East. It’ll be another crucial game for Kentucky, but this one is on the road.
The Wildcats have just one win away from Lexington in Stoops’ tenure. They won’t get too many road trips more appealing than this one. Kentucky needs to beat Missouri and tally wins in the previous two to secure its sixth win.
3. Georgia (4-2), Nov. 5
Here’s where the schedule starts to heat up for Kentucky. It’s not the Georgia of old, but the Bulldogs only two losses have come at Ole Miss and on a Hail Mary miracle at the hands of Tennessee.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are still in the Bulldogs backfield and that means trouble for an improved but banged up Kentucky front seven. Even if the Wildcats are healthy it’ll be no easy task. Georgia still has superior talent and a home crowd will be the only thing Kentucky has on its side.
2. at Tennessee (5-1), Nov. 12
At Neyland Stadium against the class of the SEC East. Tennessee has been known for sluggish starts and fast finishes this season but it’s hard to imagine Kentucky staying close.
The Vols will likely be playing for a shot in the SEC championship and there’s not much chance they’ll be overlooking the Wildcats. Again, Kentucky has just one road win in the last three and a half seasons. Notching another in Knoxville against a talented Tennessee team isn’t likely.
1. at Louisville (4-1), Nov. 26
Kentucky is coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons and the team has to make sure it doesn’t face Louisville at the end of the season still stuck on five wins.
The Cardinals are one of the top teams in the nation and Louisville has owned the rivalry in recent years, but this might be its best team yet. Lamar Jackson will be fighting to put his team in the College Football Playoff conversation and put himself atop the Heisman race.