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Inside Enemy Territory: Kentucky Edition

#BBN is finally talking about football.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Inside Enemy Territory, where this week we’re taking a look at the rarely observed phenomenon of Kentucky Wildcats fans talking about football. I ran into the usual problems of not being able to access some of their better known, premium message boards, but the free forum over at Rivals’ Cats Illustrated site had plenty of fresh material to comb through.

Let’s dive in.

This is going to be a TOUGH game as this team will score points. They have good receivers. Their QB is not always consistent, but he’s a better passer than either Franks or Fitzgerald.

The Gamecocks’ passing game and wide receiver corps appears to be the primary point of concern for Kentucky fans, which makes sense. As another poster pointed out, UK has primarily played against offenses that lean on the run, so this is a bit of a different look for them.

South Carolina is looked down upon because Georgia easily beat them in Williams Brice, but South Carolina is a dangerous football team. I have no doubt that the Cats can lose on Saturday if they have a letdown and play without desire, or if they make turnovers.

Another fair point. Even though Vandy played Notre Dame tough and College GameDay unanimously picked South Carolina to lose to the Commodores last week, USC got zero credit for winning that game and continues to catch grief for getting rolled by Georgia. To say this Kentucky game is critical to changing the national narrative is an understatement — and that goes for the Wildcats as well, who still have more left to prove.

The team that wins the rushing battle will win this game.

Can’t argue with this, either. South Carolina’s run defense has been a total no-show for the past four years in this series. Kentucky has certainly had talented backs in that span, but the Gamecocks have been all too willing to give them a hand. That absolutely has to change to get back in the win column, and another solid effort from the Gamecocks’ own rushing attack will be important as well. Their performance against Vanderbilt was encouraging, but the run game has been too prone to boom-or-bust showings.

We will find out soon enough. But my feeling is this will be the least competitive UK-USC match up of the current streak.

I certainly hope not. (Well, unless it’s a blowout in favor of the Gamecocks, of course.)

Georgia ran for 271 v Carolina in Columbia. I see UK going over 300 in Lexington.

What would this feature be without the inclusion of at least one incredibly optimistic fan?

Relevant or not, a lot of attention will be paid by the press (by fans, too) to the comparison between Georgia’s earlier performance against SC in Columbia and the performance UK gives on Saturday. The southeastern media is beginning to wonder if UK is a credible challenger to Georgia in the SEC East. They know Georgia has to come to Lexington. SC will be the first common opponent.

Again, this game really is incredibly important to the perception of both programs. Kentucky wins, and it can finally be crowned as an SEC East dark horse outside of the occasional preseason magazine. South Carolina wins, it restores the more traditional SEC pecking order and shows more signs of progress under Will Muschamp.

If we win the TO battle, we rush like we have been, and we get pressure on Bentley I think we’ll win comfortably. But make no mistake, USC is a good team. If we don’t handle our business they will hand it to us.

Definitely hoping for another good performance from the offensive line, which has been a pleasant surprise this season. If they can continue to keep the pocket clean against Josh Allen and company, that should be great news for Deebo, Shi Smith, etc.

I’d feel better if Kurt Roper was still OC

And thank the good Lord he ain’t.

In summary, it seems most Kentucky fans are confident about picking up a fifth straight win, though some did temper that enthusiasm with caution. I’d say it’s a tad presumptuous to expect to rout South Carolina the way Georgia did, for example, but I suppose that kind of bluster is inevitable when you’re riding a winning streak.