DEMAREE: New Year's Day Bowl for Kentucky?

The Mayor of Kentucky football, Lonny Demaree, takes a shot at predicting the 2007 Kentucky football season. Would you believe it ends in a New Year's Day Bowl for the 'Cats? Check inside for game-by-game analyses and the prediction for the overall season to find out.

Game one - The Cats open with the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Commonwealth Stadium. The Colonels have the second longest season winning streak in college football behind Florida State. The longtime EKU fans remember when, but this is not the time. They will put up a fight early but depth will wear them down. Rich Brooks hopes to use a game like this the get backups some experience.

UK wins 52-14. 1-0 on the season.

Game two - Kent State rolls into Commonwealth looking to spoil the party. As with any upper crust MAC team, they are dangerous if the Cats are still strutting the Cat Walk, leaving their game outside the stadium - lookout. The Golden Flashes return eight starters on each side of the ball from a 6-6 2006 team that finished second in the Eastern Division of the MAC. The Cats remember the tussle last year with Central Michigan and the black-eye in Brooks' tenure against Ohio University.

UK wins 45-20. 2-0 on the season.

Game three - In this Louisville Cardinal Bird-Wildcat match up in the friendly confines of Commonwealth, several things are different. The birds have a new head coach, no matter how much a new coach says things will stay the same in offensive schemes, minor tweaks in total add up to one big tweak. This time the Cat defense won't allow the Cardinal offense to put them back on their heels coming out of the chute. The Cats now had some bullets in their gun and could turn the table the other way. Like him or not, Bobby Petrino was a great offensive mind. With all the offensive fireworks on each side, fans expect a shootout and often times the game is a defensive battle.

UK wins 27-21. 3-0 on the season, and major waves being made.

Game four - The Cats leave Commonwealth to play the Arkansas Razorbacks at Fayetteville. The Razorbacks sport the possible Heisman Trophy winner in running back Darren McFadden. Given the off season player and coach defections and the rumor mill swirling around head coach Houston Nutt, Arkansas is a loss at Alabama before playing the Cats from the wheels rolling off. Their backfield resembles Clemson's with two dynamite running backs and a so-so quarterback. One has to wonder if the Cat's late season defense against the run was genuine.

In a fight, Arkansas win 28-24. 3-1 (0-1) on the season.

Game five - Howard Schnellenberger's Florida Atlantic Owls get a rude greeting from a bunch of mad Cats. Schnellenberger won't like his welcome back home. Again, Kentucky' backups get some needed experience.

UK 59-14. 4-1 (0-1) on the season.

Game six - Steve Spurrier wakes up every morning and looks himself in the mirror and says, "I will not lose to Vandy and Kentucky." He pulls out all stops in order to achieve victory. Can UK pull off a repeat of the Antonio O'Ferral miracle on ESPN TV on Thursday? We don't think so.

The Gamecocks win 21-17. 4-2 (0-2) on the season.

Game seven - The LSU Tigers sport more talent than the Wildcats and most other teams in the USA.

Tigers 34-24. 4-3 (0-3) on the season.

Game eight - The Florida Gators - My Upset Special. The Gators, though talented, are extremely young on defense. They have one returning starter, senior safety Tony Joiner and only one other player with significant experience, defensive end Derrick Harvey who played in all 14 games. Of the seven cornerbacks, only two have ever played in a college game at the position. What better time to break a 21-game losing streak than to have the young Gators coming to Commonwealth with a new starting quarterback?

Cats win 34-24. 5-3 (1-3) on the season.

Game nine - Unfortunately for Sylvester Croom and he Mississippi State Bulldogs, by that time in the season, the Dogs will have had major run in's with the Dogs (fans). And the Dogs in pad's tails will be dragging especially after the previous weeks thrashing in Morgantown, West Virginia. They are on the road again in Lexington.

Cats in a romp 54-13. 6-3 (2-3) on the season.

Game ten - After a week off, the UK travels to Vanderbilt University. At the beginning of the year for the last three years, this is Vandy's year Perhaps this year the UK defense handles the slick operating quarterback Chris Nickson better. UK cornerback David Jones returns to the scene of the crime in 2005, where he was terrorized by Vandy star receiver Earl Bennett, which sent him scurrying back to the offensive side of the ball. Jones is back at cornerback for a rematch.. Kentucky manages to stay a few steps ahead of Vandy.

Cats in a shootout 45- 41. Cats even SEC record, 7-3 (3-3).

Game eleven - Georgia down between the hedges. Head coach Mark Richt values his job too much to let the Cats come in to Georgia and turn the trick two years in a row. He remembers the goal post coming down at Commonwealth. He will have his boys ready.

Georgia 27-20. 7-4 (3-4) on the seaon.

Game twelve - The Tennessee Volunteers come into Commonwealth with the memory fresh on their mind of the licking they took from the Cats last year at Neyland Stadium. But that won't be enough to stop UK from breaking the twenty-two year streak. Eric Ainge will be trying to outshine Andre Woodson but Woodson will go about his business of capping off a memorable season.

UK 38-21. Cats conclude the regular season at 8-4 (4-4).

Wow That's 8-4. Well, too late, I've already made my picks. Is that enough to put UK in a New Year's Day Bowl game? Only time will tell on both counts.


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