Kentucky Season Predictions: Wins, Losses, Marquee Games, and More for Every Wildcats Game in 2023

Our Kentucky Season Predictions are favorable for the Wildcats early on, but how do they finish their gauntlet of a schedule will tell their 2023 fate.

The Kentucky Wildcats had a somewhat disappointing season last year, with a quarterback who started the year as a potential top-three pick in the draft. The Wildcat offense never got out of the starting gate. In our Kentucky season predictions, we look at whether the addition of Devin Leary and a new offensive coaching staff is enough to lead Kentucky to a bounce-back season.

Kentucky Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-by-Game Results

Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the SEC and across the country.

Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, the Kentucky season predictions indicate what fans can possibly expect for the Wildcats in 2023.

Week 1 — Kentucky vs. Ball State: Win, 36-13 (1-0)

The MAC is a mess this season, and while Ball State has the potential to compete in that league, it will be difficult for the Cardinals to upset Kentucky in Week 1.

This will be our first look at Kentucky’s new offense under the tutelage of Liam Coen, who returns after another stint in the NFL. There may be a few kinks, and I’m most interested to see if the Wildcats’ offensive line has improved at all.

Week 2 — Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky: Win, 43-9 (2-0)

The Colonels have been a solid FCS team over the past few years, and though they lost five games last year, that record is deceiving. Eastern Kentucky lost just two games last season to teams that are still in the FCS, and sprinkled in a seven-overtime win against FBS Bowling Green.

Still, we should get the opportunity to see some of Kentucky’s depth in this one, and I’m interested to see the running back rotation early in the year.

Week 3 — Kentucky vs. Akron: Win, 34-8 (3-0)

The Wildcats continue to ease into the season against one of the MAC’s bottom feeders in Akron. Once again, we should be able to see Kentucky’s depth in its final tune-up before SEC play. All of us expect the Wildcats to roll.

Week 4 — Kentucky @ Vanderbilt: Win, 31-19 (4-0, 1-0 SEC)

Kentucky’s SEC opener is not as bad as it could be, as the Wildcats will make the short drive down I-65 to Nashville.

I personally think that Devin Leary is an underrated quarterback, and this is our first chance to see how he fares against SEC competition. The Commodores returned several key pieces on offense, so they should be expected to score some points. However, the defense is not expected to be one of the top units in the conference, and Kentucky’s new offense should be able to move the ball easily.

Week 5 — Kentucky vs. Florida: Loss, 23-24 (4-1, 1-1 SEC)

There’s a real case to be made for the Wildcats opening 5-0 to start the season. Perhaps the biggest threat to that perfection is Florida, as the Gators come to Lexington in early October. Our experts are divided, as Cam Mellor and I have the Wildcats dropping a close one, while Oliver Hodgkinson leans Kentucky in a four-point win.

I don’t expect this one to be particularly high-scoring, as Florida has legitimate issues on offense. However, the Wildcats have historically struggled with the Gators, and Florida has the talent to win this one, even on the road.

Week 6 — Kentucky @ Georgia: Loss, 23-34 (4-2, 1-2 SEC)

I’m not sure anyone expects the Wildcats to beat the Bulldogs, and that’s more of a reflection of Georgia’s prowess than Kentucky’s ineptitude. All of our experts expect the Wildcats to make this somewhat of a game, which is more than we can say for several other SEC teams when they play in Sanford Stadium.

Week 7 — Kentucky vs. Missouri: Loss, 28-21 (5-2, 2-2 SEC)

There’s a case to be made that this is Kentucky’s most important game of the season. On paper, the Wildcats should beat the Tigers, but football is not played on paper. Heading into the bye week fresh off of a win is greatly preferable to limping in on a losing streak. This should be a low-scoring, potentially ugly game, but the Wildcats should emerge victorious.

Week 9 — Kentucky vs. Tennessee: Loss, 26-30 (5-3, 2-3 SEC)

Coming off of a bye, this could be an upset spot for the Wildcats. Two of our experts ultimately gave this one to the Volunteers, but I picked Kentucky in a close one. One thing is certain, Kentucky will want to cleanse the bad taste from its mouth left by last year’s blowout loss to the Volunteers.

The key to this one is likely Kentucky’s secondary, which has the potential to limit Tennessee but looked lost last season.

Week 10 — Kentucky @ Mississippi State: Loss, 22-28 (5-4, 2-4 SEC)

Three of Kentucky’s final four games of the season are on the road, starting with a trip to Starkville. This may end up being the Wildcats’ best chance to clinch Bowl eligibility during the SEC season.

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers is among the best in the conference and could pick apart the defense if given time. None of that will matter if the Wildcats don’t score more than the 17 they scored last season in this matchup.

Week 11 — Kentucky vs. Alabama: Loss, 22-30 (5-5, 2-5 SEC)

Alabama represents Kentucky’s second chance of the season to pull off a major upset at home. The Crimson Tide should have a top-to-bottom strong team but have questions at the quarterback position. This could be the type of game that Devin Leary has the talent to go out and win for the Wildcats.

Ultimately, none of our experts predicted an upset here, but all three believe this game will be closer than some think.

Week 12 — Kentucky @ South Carolina: Loss, 21-26 (5-6, 2-6 SEC)

Head coach Mark Stoops has created quite the feud with South Carolina’s Shane Beamer. In the past two seasons, this game has been marked by trash talk and rivalry-like intensity. Last season, like it did against several other teams, Kentucky got off to a disastrous start and never recovered.

There should be a few more points in this one, but South Carolina’s special teams could be the difference.

Week 13 — Kentucky @ Louisville: Win, 30-23 (6-6, 2-6 SEC)

The Wildcats have had a death grip on the Governor’s Cup in recent years. However, Louisville’s Jeff Brohm is recruiting at a high level and has already shown the ability to win with less talent than he has currently. Still, pulling off this upset in year 1 will be a tough task. It’s possible that both of these teams are fighting for bowl eligibility in late November in addition to all the other things that come with the rivalry game.

I expect Kentucky’s experience to win out in the end, but for the first time in years, this could be an entertaining game.