Kentucky vs Auburn: In the midst of all the nonsense that 2020 has brought us all, SEC football will be returning to us on Saturday. With it comes an abbreviated 10-game all-conference slate, and for the Auburn Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats, they begin anew against one another.
The Tigers and Wildcats each had successful seasons a year ago. Auburn defeated their archrivals, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and celebrated a nine-win season. Kentucky went 8-5 and went to a bowl game yet again, as they continue to go on an upward trend. Both teams are pretty intriguing heading into this season for many different reasons, so this will be a nice test for each side to open the year.
Auburn has a loaded offense, especially at wide receiver. Bo Nix will have plenty of talented wideouts to throw to, as Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz, Eli Stove and Shedrick Jackson represent one of the best receiving corps in the entire conference. Their running backs ain’t half bad either, as Shaun Shivers and DJ Williams return after stout 2019 campaigns.
Meanwhile, UK has an assembly of talented runners. Asim Rose, Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke combined for nearly 2,000 yards on the ground last year, and all are back and good to go this year. They would have former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood, but alas, the SEC is dragging their tail with his transfer appeal. So, they will instead likely have to put it in the hands of Terry Wilson. Look for Josh Ali to be Wilson’s primary pass catcher once they open up the passing game.
Auburn and Kentucky were each in the Top 20 in scoring defense a season ago and each do return a decent amount of their talent from 2019. They’re both absent strong defenders in Derrick Brown and Josh Allen, who are now of course starring in the NFL. It will be intriguing to see though if each compensated for their ‘weakness’ from a season ago. Kentucky was oftentimes cut up on the ground, while Auburn let up over 213 passing yards per game.
Granted, both lean more towards average than abhorrent, but we’ll see if those spots can be taken advantage of. If I were to hazard, Auburn probably has a much likelier chance of attacking Kentucky’s run defense versus UK’s ability to throw the football against Auburn’s pass D. But I’ve been wrong before.