Kentucky vs. Central Michigan fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 3:30 pm ET
Venue: Kroger Field, Lexington, KY
Kentucky (0-0) vs. Central Michigan (0-0) Game Preview
With the annual loss against Florida to follow, Kentucky had better win the opener, or else.
The Wildcats should be good enough to get to a bowl game, and the schedule isn’t all that bad for an SEC team, but losing to a team from the MAC would be a nightmare to kick things off.
Central Michigan isn’t the team it was last season – it’s a rebuilding one – but there’s just enough talent retuning to pull this off if UK isn’t sharp. The Wildcats struggled to get by Eastern Michigan last season in a 24-20 win, and this year’s CMU team is stronger.
One Reason Why Central Michigan Will Win
Can the Chippewa defensive style that took the ball away 31 times on the year – third in the nation in takeaways – continue to force a whole lot of mistakes?
The run defense might have been an issue at times, but the linebacking corps comes back loaded, with Malik Fountain leading a group that should be among the MAC’s best. As long as the D keeps taking the ball away, and as long as the revamped secondary keeps picking off passes, the Chippewas should stay in this until the end.
This isn’t a Kentucky team with a whole lot of firepower – it’s not going to get up and run away with the game. It’s going to be a grind, which means …
One Reason Why Kentucky Will Win
Benny Snell has to control the action from the start.
The great UK back leads a strong rotation of runners that should be excellent behind a line that gets back four starters. Going conservative isn’t that bad a way to go against an aggressive defense, especially if the Wildcat D can do its part to come up with takeaways.
Yeah, Central Michigan was amazing at coming up with turnovers, but the offense was just as proficient at giving the ball away. UK might be starting a new quarterback, but so are the Chippewas, and the receiving corps is iffy, too. There are going to be mistakes.
Between being the team that finished with the second-most giveaways in college football, and being awful on third downs, CMU had a whole lot of issues – and now it’s rebuilding the O. UK has to take advantage of the mistakes that are sure to come.
What’s Going To Happen
To be really, really, really annoying about this one key point – Kentucky was outstanding last season when it took the ball away, and struggled when it didn’t.
The D that had so many problems forcing mistakes over the second half of the season will make up for it in the opener, but it’ll be Snell who makes the game his as he controls the clock and the tempo.
UK is going to win because the running game will be way, way stronger.
And because it’ll be +2 in turnover margin.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Kentucky 31, Central Michigan 17
Line: Kentucky -17, o/u: 49.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2.5
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