Tennessee at Kentucky
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Commonwealth Stadium
TV: SEC Network (play-by-play Brent Musburger, analysis Jesse Palmer, sideline Maria Taylor)
Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 190, Sirius Channel 83
Records: Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC), Kentucky (4-3, 2-3 SEC)
Series: Tennessee leads 77-24-9, and has won 29 of the last 30 contests.
Last meeting: Tennessee won 50-16 on Nov. 15, 2014, in Neyland Stadium
Favorite: Tennessee by 81/2 points
THREE KEY QUESTIONS
1. Will UK play with belief?
For the first time this year, the Wildcats turned in real stinker in getting blasted 42-16 at Mississippi State last week. Now, the Cats must try to bounce back against Tennessee, a team that outscored UK 50-16 and outgained it 511-262 last season. The daunting historical aspect of the matchup probably doesn't help the Cats. The Big Orange has bested the Big Blue in every football meeting but one (2011) since 1984. Put together, that's a lot of headwind Kentucky must sail against.
2. Does Kentucky have a prayer in Hades of containing Joshua Dobbs?
Continuing "the dual-threat quarterback domination" of Kentucky, Mississippi State star Dak Prescott took the Cats apart last week, throwing for 348 yards and three TDs and running for 117 yards and three scores. Now comes Tennessee's Dobbs, another QB capable of beating a team with legs and arm. A season ago, Dobbs threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns against UK and also ran for one TD. Dobbs is not as good a passer as Prescott — but off this season's UK defensive performances, he doesn't have to be to confound the Cats.
3. Will the Breeders' Cup take all the oxygen out of the football game?
Other than the 1985 men's basketball Final Four, Saturday might be the biggest sports day in the history of Lexington. Only hours before UK-UT kicks off, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is slated to run in the Classic, the highlight of the first Breeders' Cup ever held at Keeneland. Will the crowd in Commonwealth Stadium be energized by the Breeders' Cup presence — or will the stadium be unfilled and the football game an afterthought?
Is dispirited. After starting 4-1, Kentucky appeared on an inevitable march to bowl eligibility. Suddenly, the Cats have lost two straight. Vanderbilt, a team UK backers were counting on beating, no longer looks like a certainty. So Kentucky fans are starting to fret that last year's second-half-of-the-season collapse (started 5-1, finished 5-7) may be repeated. Whether or not they can beat the Volunteers, it behooves Mark Stoops and the Cats not to get blown out again by the Rocky Toppers.