Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Kentucky Wildcats
The Kentucky Wildcats and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers open up their 2011 College Football seasons with a battle of Kentucky that takes place in Nashville. The Wildcats are -19.5 favorites over the Hilltoppers with an over/under point total set at 50.5.
It’s a rebuilding year for the Kentucky Wildcats and Head Coach Joker Phillips as major pieces of last years’ offense are gone. At QB Morgan Newton takes over for at QB for Mike Hartline and while this is Newton’s first year as the starter, Newton has played plenty including last year in Kentucky’s bowl appearance but he will need to be more consistent to be more successful. With Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb gone, it will take a group of players to contribute and try and fill that void and at running back Raymond Sanders will be the starter with a host of others probably getting a look early. At Receiver it’s La’Rod King and Matt Roark while Basketball starter Brian Adams will see action as well. While there are missing pieces on offense, the defense returns a lot and with new Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter, it will be an aggressive defense with a young DL but Senior leadership at Linebacker with Danny Trevanthan on the outside and Ronnie Sneed in the middle. The will have a lot of Senior with tackling machine Winston Guy and the only starter not a Senior is Junior Martavius Neloms. The Cats play in a tough conference but they manage to go bowling every season.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are coming off of their most successful season since making the jump to FBS and while Willie Taggart’s team went just 2-10, that’s two more wins against FBS teams than they had in all of their existence combined. The star of the show for Western Kentucky is Running Back Bobby Rainey who was third in the nation in rushing last season. In all the offense returns seven starters including QB Kuwaun Jakes, WR Marcus Vasquez, and Tight End Jack Doyle. Last season the Hilltoppers were decent against the pass and while the run defense was lacking and I’m not sure it’s much better this season starting an entirely new linebacking group. Arius Wright and Tyree Robinson get a year more experience at corner and while this team should be better overall than last year, they still might be a few years away from even getting on the map.
Kentucky is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games against Sun Belt, 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as a favorite, and 12-4-1 against the spread in their last 17 non-conference games. Western Kentucky is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games as an underdog and 0-4 against the spread against SEC teams.
Look for Kentucky to just dominate here with the better talent and simply just a far better team.
Kentucky -19.5 Western Kentucky