10:51:37UKvsSC2020FB

Kentucky Wildcats offensive lineman Jeremy Flax (77) puts up a peace sign while running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (24) breaks for a touchdown during the University of Kentucky vs. University of South Carolina football game on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 41-18. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Opponents on the gridiron are determined years in advance, so we already knew who the Cats would face in 2021. But we now know exactly when each game will take place.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Kentucky officially released its schedule for the upcoming year. After taking on an All-SEC slate this past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cats get back to a more traditional set of foes, including rival Louisville.

The first game of the season comes on September 4th, when the Cats will battle Louisiana Monroe, who hails from the Sun Belt. The Warhawks are Kentucky’s first adversary out of that conference since 2015, when Louisiana-Lafayette came to Lexington.

Conference play begins the next week, when Mizzou heads to town. Kentucky had won five straight against the Tigers before falling in Columbia 20-10 in their most recent meeting.

The Cats then play Chattanooga at home, and head to the SEC’s other Columbia for a date with the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Next on the docket are two massive home matchups, the first of which is 2019 National Champion LSU. A meeting with Florida – who beat up an undermanned Wildcat squad last year – follows.

Kentucky goes to Athens afterward to face Georgia, which kicks off a stretch of three road games in five weeks. The bye comes between the set of Bulldogs, as the Cats see former offensive coordinator Mike Leach and Mississippi State once their off week ends. The border squads open November, with the arch-rival Volunteers invading Kroger Field on the sixth and the Commodores playing host on the 13th.

New Mexico State serves as what should be a massive Senior Day event, and the Cardinals at Papa John’s Stadium round things out.

The full schedule is below:

DATE OPPONENT LOCATION 
 9/4 Louisiana-Monroe Lexington, KY
 9/11 Missouri Lexington, KY
 9/18 Chattanooga Lexington, KY
 9/25 South Carolina Columbia, SC
 10/2 LSU Lexington, KY
 10/9 Florida Lexington, KY
 10/16 Georgia Athens, GA
 10/30 Mississippi State Starkville, MS
 11/6 Tennessee Lexington, KY
 11/13 Vanderbilt Nashville, TN
 11/20 New Mexico State Lexington, KY
 11/27 Louisville Louisville, KY

*Home Games are in BOLD.

After culminating a chaotic and adversity-packed 2020 with a Gator Bowl victory, the Cats have an opportunity to make a bowl game for a sixth straight year – and win a bowl game for the fourth year in a row – this upcoming campaign. Each achievement would be a first for the program. With a number of returning upperclassmen and notable additions to both the roster and staff though, expectations – and hopes – are set higher than they’ve ever been. We’ll see if they can meet them once August rolls around.