October 20, 2012
Overall Record: 51-12-2
Last 10 Meetings: 8-2
Richt vs. Kentucky: 9-2
Kentucky's seemingly-impossible trip to the top of the SEC East just got more difficult in the form of Missouri. The Cats, who managed only two conference wins in 2011, have a challenging road schedule – at Louisville, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. They might not win any of those games.
Meanwhile, wins in the friendly confines of Commonwealth Stadium will be a struggle, too. In short the Cats have a long way to go to get back to the success they saw at the end of last decade.
Its interesting, too, that Kentucky has elevated in many sports – baseball and tennis had very successful spring campaigns; women's basketball has become an SEC power; men's basketball won the national title.
Still, just the way Georgia's men's basketball has flailed around for decades, Kentucky can't seem to figure out how to win on a consistent level in football. This would have been a good time, too, for the Cats to jump up in the standings. Tennessee is as weak as they have been in decades while Florida seems lost without (and perhaps because of) Urban Meyer. Georgia had its only losing season in the last decade recently.
The time for the Cats to climb up the standings has come, but their lack of ascension begs this question: Can they ever actually do it?
Kentucky player to watch:
Approaching 100 career catches, La'Rod King has been a stable figure in the Wildcats offense the past two seasons. He caught 36 passes in 2010, followed by 40 more receptions last season. His 13 career touchdowns prove he can find the end zone, too. Moving into his final season in Lexington, King, a native of Radcliff, KY, will be looked to for more touches and more yards after the catch.
What the Dawgs must do:
Focus will be key for Georgia when its travels to the Bluegrass in October. The game comes a week before the annual trip to Jacksonville, and while the Bulldogs have played better in Lexington of late the game is always dangerous. If Georgia's defense plays well they won't lose.
Inside the numbers:
Kentucky's problem is offense. That wasn't the case for a long, long time. The Cats managed to score over ten points in only two contests this fall. That's not a formula for success in the SEC.
Very little. There are times when Kentucky comes to Georgia to pick up the crumbs left over after Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Clemson and others have their dinner. The fact of the matter is that Kentucky couldn't get the top player from Georgia if they had to, and Georgia could be in the mix for the top player in the Commonwealth if the situation were to occur. The last four-star player to sign with the Cats from Georgia was LaGrange WR Emmanual Harrell in 2003.
Last year's prediction:
Hold on to the ball. The last three times Georgia has lost to Kentucky – 1996, 2006 and 2009 – the Bulldogs lost the game more than Kentucky won it. Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers – that's the way Georgia loses to Kentucky. If Georgia holds on to the football – if they are just within a turnover or so – they should win.
2011 was a turnover fest by both the Dawgs and the Cats, but in the end the better team won. Isaiah Crowell's injury near the start of the contest forced the Bulldogs deep into its running back rotation, and the defense and special teams were forced to win the game on their own.