TAYLOR: 'Cats can split schedule in half

On paper, Kentucky's schedule is friendly enough to help the Wildcats produce at least six wins this season. One-third of the team's 12 games are against lower-caliber opponents, while at least two Southeastern Conference games fit into the swing category.

However, Texas State won't be an easy pushover, and neither will Central Michigan. Texas State was in the I-AA semifinals last season, while Central Michigan has made strides as of late and plays in the historically tough Mid-America Conference.

The type of schedule that Kentucky's administration has assembled is one the team desperately needed in the first season off of probation. Kentucky has a core of solid returnees back, plus an experienced offensive line to go along with an improved defensive unit. Although the season opener at Louisville will be a tough one, the games which follow, a home opener against Texas State, followed by an SEC lid-lifter against Ole Miss at Commonwealth Stadium, give Kentucky an opportunity to win two straight home games before heading off to Gainesville to face the Gators.

The team will need at least a taste of victory, plus some confidence before entering The Swamp to face a Florida team hungry for another conference title.

Kentucky will rebound against Central Michigan, followed by one of two "swing games" on the schedule against South Carolina. Besides the Gamecocks, the other possible upset win on the schedule is a home date against Georgia later in the season.

A win over Steve Spurrier's outfit would give the Cats a boost heading into Baton Rouge the following week. Kentucky will face Mississippi State in Starkville two weeks after the visit to Louisiana, which figures to be another check mark in the win column.

The Cats close out the season with three straight home games, two of which have better odds than the other, followed by a season-ending trek to Knoxville to take on the Volunteers. Kentucky could have some problems with the Bulldogs, but figure to have a better shot at defeating Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe in its final appearance before the home folks in November.

Tennessee, well, will as always, be a tough task.

At least from this writer's perspective, Kentucky has more than a legitimate shot at splitting the schedule in half. If that happens, Brooks will be back next season, plus Kentucky will be in the postseason for the first time in seven years.

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