Week 9 - Kentucky at Missouri

Posted Oct 25, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Kentucky at Missouri

Kentucky (1-7) at Missouri (3-4) Oct 27, 12:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: This hasn't exactly been the way 2012 was expected to go for Missouri and Kentucky, and now the loser might have the ugly distinction of finishing dead last in the East.

Missouri has been a disaster in its move to the SEC with no offense, not enough defense, and with too many disappointments for a team that was considered a rock-solid lock to go bowling before the season began. Losing to Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama isn't a big deal, but a lifeless home gaffe to Vanderbilt a few weeks ago meant an 0-4 SEC start and big concerns over the final five weeks. It's going to take wins over Kentucky and Syracuse at home and an upset on the road against Florida, Tennessee or Texas A&M to get a 13th game, but for right now, just generating a little bit of offense would be a good step.

The Wildcats are in yet another year of rebuilding and trying to reload, and it's not working. Despite coming off a good battle with Georgia, and even though they gave South Carolina a game for a half, they're not generating anything on offense and they're getting picked clean defensively. With home games against Vanderbilt and Samford, there's still hope for a few wins, but the team needs to do something impressive to show signs of life for the near future.

This is just the third time the two schools have faced each other. Kentucky won 12-6 in 1968 and 7-0 in 1965.

Why Kentucky Might Win: The running game is actually starting to work a little bit. An 87-yard dash from Jonathan George bumped up the stats a bit, but the Cat ran against the squishy-soft Georgia defensive front for 206 yards and two touchdowns last week. This is a hit-or-miss offense that's missing more often than not, but considering the Tigers aren't doing anything offensively, if UK can come up with another good game on the ground, it might be able to control the game for a stretch. Defensively, against a team with no passing game, the pass rush from the Wildcat defensive front could throw the Tiger offense off. However …

Why Missouri Might Win: If the Mizzou midrange passing attack was ever going to work, this would be the week. Everyone is picking apart a dismal UK secondary that was lit up by Georgia and Aaron Murray for 427 yards and four scores and gave up 372 yards and five touchdowns against Arkansas. South Carolina's Connor Shaw completed 20-of-21 passes, and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater hit 19-of-21 passes. In all, opposing quarterbacks are connecting a whopping 70% of their throws on the miserable Wildcat defense. The Tigers might not have a passing game that works – ranking 108th in the nation in efficiency – but this is the week for a banged up Corbin Berkstresser to put up some decent stats.

What To Watch Out For: For two teams with bad offenses, field position will mean just about everything. One of Kentucky's few big positives has been a punting game that's averaging close to 40 yards per try with Landon Foster doing a nice job of bailing the team out of jams. However, Missouri's Marcus Murphy is having a fantastic year returning punts taking back two in the opener against SE Louisiana and one against UCF. He's not getting too many chances, but he's a proven threat who needs to be avoided.

What Will Happen: This is the week the Missouri offense looks healthier. T.J. Moe and the Tiger targets will finally start to come up with a few yards after the catch and it'll start to look a little bit like the good old days of the Big 12. Kentucky won't have the offensive pop to keep up.

CFN Prediction: Missouri 27 … Kentucky 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Missouri -13.5 O/U: 49
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23): 2