Kentucky football schedule 2013: Opponents, game dates and more

Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

The Wildcats will have to be patient this season, as wins will likely be few and far between.

After a couple of years in decline under Joker Phillips, Kentucky begins the Mark Stoops era in 2013. The new head coach has created some buzz in Lexington with a solid recruiting class and a big turnout to the spring game in April. But life in the SEC isn't easy, and the Wildcats' schedule may prove to be too tough for a big splash in Stoops' first season.

2013 Kentucky schedule

Date Opponent Conf. Projected ranking

8/31/2013 Western Kentucky (Nashville) SBC 94

9/7/2013 Miami MAC 113

9/14/2013 Louisville AAC 31

9/21/2013 Open date

9/28/2013 Florida SEC 7

10/5/2013 at South Carolina SEC 15

10/12/2013 Alabama SEC 1

10/19/2013 Open date

10/24/2013 at Mississippi State SEC 49

11/2/2013 Alabama State FCS

11/9/2013 Missouri SEC 38

11/16/2013 at Vanderbilt SEC 52

11/23/2013 at Georgia SEC 9

11/30/2013 Tennessee SEC 50

12/7/2013 SEC Championship (Atlanta)

Date Opponent Conf. Projected ranking

Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.

Kentucky opens the year with two games against non-BCS teams, and if the Wildcats want to best last season's 2-10 record, a 2-0 start is an absolute must. After that manageable start to the year, UK plays four straight games against teams that won at least 11 games in 2012, including three teams that played in BCS bowls. Things are liable to get ugly.

The road gets a little easier the final week of October and first few weeks of November, but that doesn't mean it's a cakewalk. The 'Cats should be able to get a victory against Alabama State, but it would take an upset to find a win against either Mississippi State or Vanderbilt on the road or Missouri at Commonwealth Stadium. The penultimate game of the year at Georgia will likely be a lopsided loss, and while Tennessee is also rebuilding, the Volunteers should be favored in the season finale.

Stoops has given the Wildcats some positive momentum in his first months on the job, but he's trying to dig Kentucky out of an awfully big hole. Results should improve in the future, but Year 1 will almost assuredly be rough.

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