Is Kentucky really good?
Clearly, the idea is hard for everyone to get their heads wrapped around. The normally spot-on odds makers in Las Vegas must have been caught off guard when Sunday when the line bounced around within minutes of being posted and eventually settled on the Wildcats as the favorite..
Here’s what we know about Kentucky so far: The Wildcats (4-0, 2-0 SEC) are undefeated. They have beaten two bad teams – Murray State and Central Michigan – out of conference and two good to maybe good teams – Mississippi State and Florida – in the conference.
It was easy enough to overlook Kentucky until last week, when it thumped the then-No. 14 Bulldogs 28-7 in Lexington, Ky., where South Carolina will play the Wildcats on Saturday. Kentucky is now ranked No. 17, making its first appearance in the Associated Press poll since 2007.
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The Wildcats only gained 300 total yards against Mississippi State, but they only allowed 201. Mississippi State rushed for only 56 yards. The Bulldogs were averaging 311 rushing yards per game before playing Kentucky.
The Wildcats other conference win was on the road, 27-16 over a Florida team than just beat Tennessee 47-21. The Gators rushed for 128 yards that day, which is more than 60 below their season average.
And then there’s Benny Snell, who leads the SEC in rushing with 135 yards per game.
All of this is to point out that Kentucky can run and stop the run, which are Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp’s top two criteria for success in the SEC. So, yeah, the Wildcats are really a good football team.
How good, South Carolina will find out on Saturday.