Alabama Football: Kentucky will be a tougher out than LSU

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Mark it down. Alabama football will face a tougher challenge against Kentucky than LSU.

The expected response from Alabama football fans to the above claim is “what, are you kidding, or just terribly uninformed?” Some retorts will be more blunt. If the ‘Kentucky will be a tougher challenge than LSU’ does not bear out, the flaw will be in underestimating an LSU ability to rebuild by November.

The Kentucky Wildcats, on the other hand, surprised last season. They will not surprise in 2020. In Lexington, both sides of the ball will be better. The defensive-minded Mark Stoops has the talent to reload. Last season the Wildcats were No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense and a solid, No.  14 in scoring defense. Total Defense was a more than respectable No. 21 in the FBS.

Stoops returns eight defensive starters, plus LSU transfer, Kelvin Joseph. In 2020, his defense is expected to surpass last season. One reason is the depth Stoops has quietly built In Kentucky’s last few signing classes.

The other big plus for the Wildcats defense will be an improved Kentucky offense. Lynn Bowden was sensational but overall last season’s offense was too predictable. Kentucky OC, Eddie Gran will have a more balanced attack this fall. Terry Wilson returns from injury as the starting QB. Auburn QB transfer Joey Gatewood will battle freshman, Beau Allen for the backup role.

Lexington is buzzing over hometown boy, Allen. Kentucky OC, Eddie Gran had this to say about Allen,

"He’s done some things that are really special. He’s taken some alerts and he’s really, really accurate with the ball. I love what I see out of him. He’s out there, he’s studying it all the time. He’s a junky when it comes to football. That’s what makes him, I think, a really special quarterback."

Allen will not beat out Terry Wilson early in the season. He may not beat out the veteran at all, but Allen will have plenty of time to gain the starting role before the Wildcats travel to Tuscaloosa. He is the QB of the future for the Cats and the future might be 2020.

Enough about the Wildcats, who have beaten the Crimson Tide, exactly once since 1922. Alabama football will get the late November win. But the game will be tougher than most expect. One big reason is the game is one week after the Crimson Tide travels to Baton Rouge. Even Alabama football teams can be flat after big, rivalry wins.

Win the Crimson Tide will in Baton Rouge. There has been so much attrition from last season’s championship roster, Coach O is having to recruit a 2020 class again with transfers. The latest blow to the Bengal Tigers was defensive tackle, Tyler Shelvin opting-out.

A month ago, Saturday Down South ranked LSU as the SEC’s No. 6 best defense. That was before Shelvin’s exit. Coach O had already lost six 2019 defenders to the NFL. There is more talent in the roster but no amount of Coach O (and Bo Pelini) magic will make the Tigers defense great in 2020.

As all Alabama football fans know, LSU also has the burden of building a new offense. With no proven QB and now no Ja’Marr Chase, LSU is likely to struggle on both sides of the ball.

Crimson Tide Defensive Depth Chart. dark. Next

In November, oddsmakers will make the Crimson Tide a bigger favorite over Kentucky than LSU. This way-too-early opinion is the oddsmakers might be wrong.