UK-Western Kentucky live blog — pre-game

Hi, hello and welcome to week No. 4 of the UK football season. This week, of course, the Cats welcome Western Kentucky to Commonwealth Stadium as the Cats try to improve to 4-0 before their much-anticipated date with No. 8 Alabama next week.

As expected, UK is a huge favorite in this one. I’m not so sure that has much to do with how the Cats have played so far — you do remember the near Middle Tennessee State fiasco two weeks ago, right? — as it has to do with Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are only in their second season in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and haven’t had a significant win since transitioning from the Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-A).

But that doesn’t mean UK can take Western lightly. Several things will be working against the Cats, none more so than the fact that Western resides just a few hours down the road. What does that have to do with actually lining up and playing football you say? A little more than you might think. These players know each other. Even though the two programs have never squared off, a lot of these guys have gone head-to-head with one another on the high school level.   

And then there’s the fact that Alabama looms just one week ahead. If I’m a player or coach, it’d be tough for me not to overlook this game. 

UK is also plagued by a couple of key injuries. Linebacker Micah Johnson, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin and quarterback/wide receiver Randall Cobb are all sidelined with ankle injuries. Braxton Kelley will slide over to the middle to cover for Johnson, but Cobb’s versatility and Lumpkin’s size on the line will certainly be missed.

Having said all that, who knows what will happen. We’re a little under 20 minutes from playing on a beautiful evening at Commonwealth Stadium — it’s literally perfect football weather. There was plenty of red at the tailgate scene and it appears there’s going to be a pretty large contingent of Hilltopper fans in the stands tonight for this one. I’ll have more as soon as we get underway.