Preview: No. 8 Kentucky vs. Northern Illinois
Click below to read more of the Herald-Leader’s and Kentucky.com’s preview coverage ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky-Northern Illinois football game scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kroger Field in Lexington.
The future of the SEC football schedule remains in flux, but the current format will carry over into 2023.
Kentucky’s 2023 schedule is highlighted by home games against Alabama, Florida and Tennessee. The Wildcats also host Missouri and will travel to Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt in SEC play. UK opens the season with consecutive home non-conference games against Ball State, Eastern Kentucky and Akron then closes the regular season at archrival Louisville.
The matchups on Kentucky’s 2023 schedule were already known, but the dates for the games were released by the SEC on Tuesday night.
Here is what you need to know about the 2023 slate.
A new-look SEC opener
Kentucky has generally faced Vanderbilt toward the end of its SEC slate in recent years, but the Wildcats will open SEC play at Vanderbilt in the fourth weekend of September next year. Kentucky last faced the Commodores in September in 2014. UK last opened SEC play against Vanderbilt in 1941.
A well-timed bye week
The Wildcats’ October off week comes after seven consecutive games to open the season. The most difficult part of that stretch appears to be consecutive games against Florida and at Georgia. Kentucky then plays Missouri before a week to rest before what is likely to be an important SEC East matchup against rival Tennessee on Oct. 28 at Kroger Field. An extra week to prepare for Tennessee could help overcome UK’s historic struggles in the series.
Alabama returns to Lexington
Kentucky will host Nick Saban and perennial national championship contender Alabama in the final home game of the season on Nov. 11. Alabama last played in Lexington in 2013. The Wildcats are 2-38-1 against the Crimson Tide. UK’s last win in the series was an overtime win in 1997.
2023 Kentucky football schedule
Home games in all capital letters
Sept. 2: BALL STATE
Sept. 9: EASTERN KENTUCKY
Sept. 16: AKRON
Sept. 23: At Vanderbilt
Sept. 30: FLORIDA
Oct. 7: At Georgia
Oct. 14: MISSOURI
Oct. 21: Open
Oct. 28: TENNESSEE
Nov. 4: At Mississippi State
Nov. 11: ALABAMA
Nov. 18: At South Carolina
Nov. 25: At Louisville
This story was originally published September 20, 2022 7:40 PM.