It’s hard to argue that the last seven years have been the most successful stretch in Kentucky football history, with 54 wins (to 35 losses) with bowl appearances each season.
Year 11 of the Mark Stoops era in Lexington kicks off with hopes that the Wildcats can once again punch above their weight class in the ultra-competitive SEC East, somehow one-upping last year’s high of the 7th spot in the AP top-25.
That quest on Sept. 2, when the Wildcats host MAC squad Ball State to open the 2023 regular season, before hosting Eastern Kentucky and Akron in their next two contests.
The 2023 SEC slate includes home games against Florida (Sept. 30), Missouri (Oct. 14), Tennessee (Oct. 28) and Alabama, offset against road clashes versus Vanderbilt (Sept. 23), Georgia (Oct. 7), Mississippi State (Nov. 4) and South Carolina (Nov. 18).
The annual Governor’s Cup showdown against Louisville takes place at L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium on Nov. 25, with the Wildcats looking to notch their fifth consecutive victory in the in-state rivalry series.
BetKentucky.com took a quick break from Kentucky sports betting updates to break down where Stoop’s squad stands as the Wildcats look to make their seventh straight bowl appearance in 2023.
Kentucky Football Rankings
BetKentucky.com gathered all the important rankings for Kentucky football. Below you'll find rankings for recruiting, SEC odds, & National Title odds:
- Recruiting Ranking (247 Sports): 31st nationally/12th in SEC (ahead of Mizzou & VANDY)
- SEC Odds (Caesars Kentucky Sportsbook): +20000 (T-Mizzou for 13th, UGA -115/BAMA +200/LSU +600/TA&M +1200/Tennessee +1200/Ole Miss +3500/Auburn +7500/Miss State +8000/SCAR and Arkansas +10000/UF +12500)
- National Title Odds (BetMGM Sportsbook): +15000
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Kentucky Looking To Extend Record Bowl Streak In 2023
If Kentucky can reach a bowl game for an eighth straight year this fall, they’ll extend a program record that they currently hold.
That’s because the Wildcats’ previous streak was five straight, between 2006 and 2010, under head coaches Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips.
The only other time Kentucky made more than two consecutive bowl games was between 1949 and 2021, when they played in the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls, winning the latter two under Bear Bryant.
Looking at 2023, oddsmakers at national sportsbooks like BetMGM Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook aren’t buying into Kentucky’s championship odds.
The latter lists the Wildcats at +15000 to win it all in 2023, while the latter gives Stoops and company +20000 odds of winning the SEC this year, ranking in a tie with Missouri for 12th in the 14-team conference.
As for Kentucky’s recruiting efforts, 247 Sports lists the Wildcats’ 2023 class as the 31st best in the country and the 12th best collective in the SEC, ahead of Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Stoops will have to replace outgoing quarterback Will Levis, who declared for the NFL Draft after throwing for 2,406 yards and 19 touchdowns last fall. CBSSports.com lists Levis as a top-five pick in their latest mock draft, with the senior quarterback going second overall to the Texans.
Kentucky will also lose last year’s leading rusher, Chris Rodriguez Jr., who ran for more than 2,200 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final two seasons with the Wildcats.
One way or another, Stoops and his staff will need to find the right components to get the Wildcats back to a bowl game in 2023, beginning with Kentucky’s first four contests against the Cardinals, Colonels, Zips and Commodores.
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