With the 2022 Kentucky Football starting in yet another historic manor, there is no doubt that the fan excitement is at a level it has not quite seen in the Stoops era. After taking care of business in Stoops' 62nd win as the Kentucky Football head coach, it appears that next week's bout between the Cats and the Northern Illinois Huskies is nearing a sellout.
Assuming Kentucky does what most people think they'll do and win against NIU, the 8th ranked team will be going into Ole Miss to face the Rebels, in a game where Kentucky should be the favorite. Kentucky will then host South Carolina, a team many Kentucky fans have had their eyes on and, in most years, is a night game. As of 4:25 PM on Sunday, I can not believe that game has not already been announced as a sellout.
As long as Kentucky takes care of business against a South Carolina team that has, at this moment, a 1-2 record, Kentucky may very likely go into the Mississippi State game at 6-0. So, besides Georgia, that is probably the Cats' best team on their home schedule. The game will likely be yet another night game and the elite Kentucky defense will have something to prove after Will Rogers absolutely picked them apart last season. With these variables, plus the fact that this will be many fans' last chance to see them in almost a month, expect a raucus environment (and maybe chrome domes).
There are MANY factors that will determine the attendance of the Vanderbilt game. For instance:
Tennessee looks damn good, so do fans momentarily tune out if Kentucky drops one in Knoxville, especially if Kentucky doesn't look great against Missouri?
This is a very reasonable concern and one that could ultimately keep this game from being a sellout. However, it is important to remember as a fan that, even if Kentucky were to lose to Tennessee, unless the Vols take over the throne against Georgia and get over their hump of losing to Florida, the UK-UGA game will still be for the East. Another factor is:
What time is the game?
You have to think the tailgate scene will still be a good one with a night game, but that isn't always promised against Vanderbilt. Other considerations include:
What will the weather be like?
We all know what a November forecast in Kentucky can look like. If Kentucky can kick off after a day in the 60's, I think a sellout is absolutely in the works. Everything must line up perfectly, but it CAN be done.
The Kentucky-Georgia game has been sold out since approximately 30 minutes after they went on sale back in August. This game has the chance to be the big game that everyone across the country is talking about leading up to college football Saturday. This could be for all the marbles, sending one team to the SEC Championship and presumably the College Football Playoff. This game is much more than a sellout, it's a chance to make history.
The attendance for Kentucky and the Louisville Cardinals has been a bit disappointing over the past few years. Starting in 2018 in Louisville, Cards fans knew after losing head coach Bobby Petrino the chances of knocking off Kentucky were slim to none. Going into that game 2-9, with Benny Snell and Lynn Bowden to defend, as well as attempting to score on Josh Allen and THAT secondary, it was all but over. Cats fans showed up in numbers but selling out an opponents' stadium is an impossible task, no matter the distance. In 2019, the Cats vs Cards in Lexington was played in an absolute monsoon and was freezing cold. The weather ruined our chances at anything close to a sellout. After not playing in 2020 due to COVID, the 2021 edition of the Governor's Cup brought in a decent crowd from both sides, but at the end of the night, it was the Cats that prevailed in an absolute curb stomping. If Kentucky goes into this game with 9 or 10 wins, expect a sellout in Kroger Field to celebrate yet another milestone and remarkable season.
If Kentucky keeps on winning, the fans will be there to watch history. One thing that sticks out about this schedule that is different than the others is the fact that the other 3 non-conference games are played in 3 of the first 4 games of the season. We have yet to see what the BBN can truly do, but hopefully we get to find out soon.