College Football Week One In-State Clash: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Odds courtesy of 5dimes
With the repeated success of the basketball program at Kentucky, the football team is aware they are not the most popular sport on campus. But that doesn’t excuse a two win season and rows of empty seats. The team was even worse under Joker Phillips, though, so improvement must come incrementally for this Wildcats team.
Mark Stoops is the coach hoping to reverse that losing culture, and he is primarily known for being a good defensive coach. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown will also be a first year coach with D.J. Eliot, the defensive coordinator.
The new staff is a reason for hope, but the team relies on a QB who threw for just 975 yards last season and his best receiver, DeMarco Robinson is rather small, making it difficult for the team to air it out, given the lack of other options. The defense does return six starters and Avery Williamson will be a senior at middle linebacker. He had 135 tackles last season; good for 10th in the nation.
Western Kentucky went 7-6 last season and lost to Central Michigan 24-21 in the Little Caesar’s Bowl. Bobby Petrino will coach the squad this season after Willie Taggart headed to South Florida. The team is among the favorites in the SBC and Antonio Andrews (RB) and Andrew Jackson (LB) are the two biggest reasons for this team to eclipse last year’s winning season.
Andrews rushed for 1,728 yards, good for 8th in the nation. Andrews led in all-purpose yards with 3,161, which was second in history only to the 88 Heisman trophy winner Barry Sanders. This Hilltoppers offense is potent, and it really all has to do with the backfield. Western lost four of their final five games last season, so they are hoping to sustain it over the long haul this season, and Petrino will have the pressure on him from day one to make sure this team doesn’t backslide after such a strong showing in 2012. This is, of course, relative to their conference, as college football oddsmakers expect a close game between two schools whose primary focus is hoops.
UNDER is 4-0 in last 4 neutral site. OVER 3-0-1 in last 4 non-conf. UNDER 4-0 in Wildcats last 4 on grass.
4-0 ATS vs. SEC teams. 5-1 ATS in last 6 non-conf. 13-3 ATS in last 16 on grass.