Editor’s note: While we have no idea when college football will start, we are bringing you a look at each of the 12 opponents Florida has scheduled to play.
When: Sept. 12, TBD.
Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Last year: Kentucky had to change its offense when quarterback Terry Wilson went out with a torn patella and Sawyer Smith proved to be ineffective. They put wide receiver Lynn Bowden at quarterback and ran the ball almost exclusively. Bowden ended up the SEC’s top rusher and the Wildcats won their last four games (including the Belk Bowl over Virginia Tech) to finish 8-5. Among those five losses — a crushing defeat by Florida after leading 21-10 in the fourth quarter in Kyle Trask’s coming-out party.
Outlook for 2020: The big question will be at quarterback. Wilson would have missed the spring anyway (Kentucky did get in two weeks of spring practice) and will compete with Smith and possibly Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood (appealing for immediate eligibility). Kentucky has a solid offensive line, excellent tailbacks and a strong defense that returns most of its starters. The Wildcats will go back to the offense they were running in 2018 with Bowden headed to the NFL.
Best offensive player: One reason the Wildcats were able to win eight games without a passing game was offensive tackle Darian Kennard, a 347-pound bruiser who figures to only get better as a junior. Kentucky’s run-first offense played right into his hands.
Best defensive player: One thing you can count on with Kentucky under Mark Stoops are defenders you would love to have on your team. This year, that guy is Boogie Watson. The outside linebacker has size (6-foot-3, 248 pounds) to be a dominant defender and the speed to get to the passer (13.5 career sacks).
Fun fact: There are three coaches who have won the most games at two different schools. One of them is Steve Spurrier at Florida and South Carolina. Gary Pinkel did it at Toledo and Missouri. The third is Bear Bryant at Alabama and Kentucky. Bryant won 60 games as the Kentucky head coach, but probably will be eventually overtaken by Stoops, who has 44.
Quote: “I think the expectations are that they have a chance to get to where they were two years ago (when Kentucky won 10 games). They have a chance to at least challenge Georgia and Florida if everything goes right.” — John Clay, Lexington Herald Leader.