A Big Blue Charge

We’re in a rare situation in Lexington. It is currently the end of July and more people are excited about football than ever before, in fact no one even cares about the thought of N’Faly Dante joining the Basketball Team but who blames them? There is so much build up around the football program, even with the injury to Davonte Robinson. Kentucky Football is a next man up program and good thing there are tons of four stars backing up Robinson. But all of this is due to one man and his intentions on forever (Mark)ing his legacy in Lexington.

If you would have told me that Kentucky Football was beating LSU, Alabama, Michigan, and even Louisville in recruiting, I would not believe you, not at all. But it’s a different feel in Lexington these days and that is mainly due to Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops. In November 2012, Mark Stoops took over the program and it started off very rocky. In his first year he went 2-10 and then followed it up with two straight 5-7 seasons, barely missing bowl season. Everyone was calling for Mark’s head, including myself but I am forever thankful that Mitch trusts himself more so than the passionate Big Blue Nation.

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After his first three years of going a combined 12-24, he started his 2016 season with another disappointing 0-2 before he turned it around. He finished up going up 7-5 defeating Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals in the best way possible. This was followed by another 7-6 season due to another bowl loss and we all know what happened this past season, 10-3 with a Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State. Stoops has given Kentucky fans a wild ride, but the actual ride is only beginning.

Last year put Kentucky Football on the map. A team that was never expected to win more than 6 games ended up being the team that beat the streak, demolished Louisville, and posted a 5-3 record in the SEC. Josh Allen led the way and became the eleventh top 10 pick in program history and the 17th first rounder. He is the highest Wildcat drafted since Dewayne Robertson in 2003 when he was selected 4th by the Jets. Benny Snell also changed the program, becoming the all time leading rusher as well as posting highs that haven’t been accomplished in so long at Kentucky. Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow have built on all their success. When looking at Allen, the 2 star recruit out of high school, helps Kentucky’s recruiting game more than anyone. Marrow and Stoops built him into a top 10 pick after being a 2 star and it shows the tide is turning at Kentucky.

Kentucky is changing, folks. It is no longer only a basketball school and a big thanks goes to Mark and Vince. With the growth, comes the disrespect which many analyst have already brought on. Not predicting a bowl game, not thinking they’ll get over 6 wins, ranking Terry the worst in the SEC, etc. This only builds the passion of the team. Their feeding this team with tons of bulletin board material as they prepare to shock the world even more. As Michael Jordan once said, “the ceiling is the roof.”

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Let’s See How the NCAA Can Mess This Up

The Kentucky family lost one of the most beloved members of their community when Jared Lorenzen passed away due to kidney, heart complications as well as an infection. Since then, Kentucky fans have raised nearly $100,000 for Jared’s family (huge s/o KSR) and have shown why being a Kentucky fan is still one of the greatest things in the world. We’re a family, who will do anything for anyone. Which leads us to Terry Wilson. A week or so ago Terry Wilson tweeted that he wanted to “rock the deuce deuce” for opening day and we thought it may be far fetched, but apparently not.

According to WLex 18, Stoops said “He reached out to me right after it happened and my initial thought was, that’s a great idea.” One of the big obstacles was the coaching staff, just because a lot goes into the numbering as well as the planning, but with Stoops on board there is only one thing that could stop this…the NCAA.  Our good friends over at the NCAA love to ruin good things, like NCAA Football. But they could step in saying this isn’t allowed due to money allocation on the sales of the #3 jersey or that they do not want to set a precedent that players can just change numbers whenever, but I think they should just let this happen.

Think about this…if the sales of #3 dip, then just make a #22. You know how many fans would scoop up a newer version of a Lorenzen jersey? This would also give them good press for the first time in a very long time and would seemingly put them in good graces with Kentucky (for the time being). With Stoops, our athletic department, and pretty much everyone else on board, let’s hope they don’t ruin this.

If Terry Wilson is able to pull this off, how beloved will he be? Kentucky will definitely have a ceremony on before their opening kick and may even wear some “22” stickers but if Terry Wilson changes his number for a game that would be the sign of ultimate respect and a way for him to win over some fans. As for Lorenzen, he was the one that got me into Kentucky Football. The “Hefty Lefty” inspired many and lived the dream of any player raised in Kentucky. Wic wrote a piece on him the other day (here) but our continued thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. In 2016, he said “Life’s too short to cry about stuff. So get out there laugh, smile, and have fun doing it.” So let’s take those words and live on. See you on the other side, 22.

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ESPN Does Not Include Kentucky In Top 10 of SEC

As Football season finally approaches, predictions are coming out daily. When SEC Media day began, I for one was hopeful we’d get an ounce of respect just because we went 5-3 in the league last season, but yet again I was wrong. The Louisville Courier Journal released their predictions for the SEC and had Kentucky ranked fourth in the East, behind Georgia, Florida, and Missouri…two teams Kentucky beat last season (on the road) and play at home this season but that’s not what is dumb. ESPN decided to run their ranking of SEC teams and well, Kentucky isn’t even in the top 10 and oh yeah, there’s only 14 if you forgot.

ESPN ranked the top teams in the following order: Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and then Missouri. To be fair, I do think the top three are accurate and there is no argument from probably anyone. Kentucky should fit in before or after Florida but with the game being at Kroger Field and Kentucky whooping their ass last season Kentucky should be fourth. We lost important parts to both our defense and our offense, beginning with Josh Allen and Benny Snell but we bring back our QB, a fantastic O-Line and D-line, and oh yeah Lynn Bowden who will probably get over 1,000 this year.

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Kentucky Football is going to be something special this season, all of Big Blue Nation knows that. The team will use this hate as motivation much like they did last season and our offense is going to be special. If Terry can be Florida game Terry, he could break some records and lead our offense to heights we haven’t seen since 22 held down the fort. AJ Rose and Smoke will be more than enough to balance the loss of Benny but Lynn Bowden will steal the show. We saw how special he could be last season, especially against Florida and Penn State, but I’d expect it much more often this season. Our defense will struggle at first, much like any new defense. But with the D-Line coming back in a big way, Stoops will get his defense back to top shape in no time.

As a Kentucky fan my entire life, we’re not used to being good at football. This is a special time in the Bluegrass and we need to take full advantage of it. Embrace the hate, just like this team will. And when it is all said and done, they’ll make the media look dumber than they did last season. For more Kentucky news, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook.

The SEC Referee Twitter Can Really Only Go Poorly

Because the NBA Referee Twitter account went SOOO well, the SEC has decided that they will start their own. If there is one thing that everyone knows, it’s that drunken southern football fans whose team just lost because of a blown call are surprisingly reasonable. This is going to be a disaster.

And here we are on day one of the account. A month and a half from the start of the season and it is already going exactly how everyone expected.

If you want some old unresolved memories brought up for no reason at all, go ahead and take a gander at the replies to that tweet. Some of them are funny, but some of them cut deep. What seems to be the overall theme of the page is serious hate of Alabama. Half the replies are examples of blatant favoritism for the Tide. Don’t expect that to change, but maybe the SEC will finally notice it.

This is going to be a train wreck for the SEC referees and I AM HERE FOR IT. I am all for holding referees accountable, but why are referees the only people on the field who aren’t allowed to make mistakes? Quarterbacks throw interceptions, linebackers miss assignments, safeties miss tackles, you name it. But the only thing people remember years later is how a 50/50 call at 100% speed did not go their team’s way.

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What are Your Realistic Expectations for Kentucky

Coming off the best season in Kentucky Football history, well since I’ve been alive, expectations are high in the Commonwealth. This offseason Kentucky has been the subject of tons of hate, including Terry Wilson being ranked last in the SEC, our buddy Phil Steele projecting Kentucky to miss out on a bowl game, and lastly tons of national media just setting Kentucky’s over/under anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5. With the schedule released, let’s take a look and walk it through.

First, let’s begin with Toledo. Opening day at Kroger Field, Cats win easily and they win the second week against Eastern Michigan as well. Those are two locks. Then Kentucky enters possibly the most important three weeks of the season involving Florida, @Mississippi State, and and @South Carolina. Kentucky needs 2 of the 3 if they want to be special. Personally, I think Kentucky will best Florida again, especially with Touchdown Terry showing up in a big way and the crowd just behind them. Mississippi State is much improved from last season and so is South Carolina. I think our best bet is Mississippi State and we’ll start the season 4-0 with our first potential loss the following weekend at South Carolina. So 4-1 entering the Arkansas game.

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Arkansas is Arkansas. They’ll have their usual ups and downs but at Kroger Field for the first time in weeks, this Kentucky team will eat them alive and come 5-1 coming up on the possible SEC East Championship in Athens. I’ll be blunt, I’d be shocked if Kentucky even comes close in this game so I’ll put us at 5-2 and then a win against Missouri to make us bowl eligible. Tennessee demolished us last season, for no reason. I see it as a revenge game and we’ll be 7-2, 8-2 after Vanderbilt. 9-2 after Tennessee Martin and I think Kentucky absolutely obliterates Louisville again making us 10-2. This is my prediction.

Obviously a lot can change. Defensively we are much weaker than last season, but Stoops has set the bar high and this team can play higher. The offense will be the show, if Terry can be Florida Terry all year then this team attains this easily, possibly setting Kentucky scoring records. The one game I look at that could change…Mississippi State. That three game stretch is brutal and Kentucky needs 2 of the 3. Otherwise, we could end up 9-3 or worse. It’ll set the tone for the season.

So I ask you, what are your predictions?

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