Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Kentucky coach Rich Brooks doesn't sound overly optimistic about the status of senior middle linebacker Micah Johnson this Saturday against Mississippi State.
Johnson has a strained MCL in his knee, and even if he's able to play, Brooks said he won't be 100 percent. Brooks also said he expects cornerback Trevard Lindley to miss his fourth straight game with a high ankle sprain.
If Johnson doesn't play, that would leave the Wildcats without the three players they expected to be the heart and soul of their defense back in the spring. Defensive end Jeremy Jarmon was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and taken in the supplemental draft by the Washington Redskins.
This is an important game for both teams. But for Kentucky, holding serve at home would put the Wildcats (4-3, 1-3) in position to make a run at an eight-win season.
After this game, Kentucky gets Eastern Kentucky at home, Vanderbilt on the road, Georgia on the road and then Tennessee at home.
A win over Mississippi State would also boost Kentucky's chances of getting to .500 or better in the league. Only once under Brooks have the Wildcats not finished with a losing SEC record. They were 4-4 in 2006.
Since league expansion in 1992, Kentucky has never finished with a winning SEC record and has finished with a .500 record only four times.
For what it's worth, the Wildcats last had a winning record in league play in 1977 when they went 6-0.