No Respect for Kentucky Football

The NCAA Football preseason rankings is one of the most untrustworthy things in sports. Outside the top 5, the rest of the top 25 is populated with historical powerhouses and SEC teams with way too much hype around them. These rankings, though, influence season long projections and ultimate respect for the rest of the season. An unranked team at the start of the season that finishes with 3 losses may land them in an unimportant bowl game, but teams that begin in the top 10 can lose the same amount of games and still make a New Year’s 6 Bowl, like LSU. Here is how the preseason polls ended up:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Georgia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Texas
  7. Michigan
  8. LSU
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Oregon
  12. Florida
  13. Penn State
  14. Wisconsin
  15. UCF
  16. Washington
  17. Auburn
  18. Washington State
  19. Utah
  20. Stanford
  21. Virginia Tech
  22. Iowa
  23. Missouri
  24. Northwestern
  25. Nebraska

No Kentucky to be found. Shocker. I am not saying that Kentucky should be in the top 25. They lost a lot of good players especially on the defensive side of the ball. All I am saying is that Kentucky has a better case to be ranked than a lot of these teams. Nebraska, Iowa, Tennessee? The offense and recruiting class of Kentucky shows much more promise than a team that lost most of their offense to the draft and two schools that didn’t even make bowl games.

It doesn’t stop there though. According to several sports betting sites, Kentucky’s projected win total is set at 6. Give me a break. They made this prediction with full knowledge that they play Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, UT Martin and Louisville. The UK homer in me wants to say that they can hit 9-3 again, but realistically 7 or 8 wins is what will probably happen.

Bottom line is that Kentucky, yet again, has been given no respect. Sure, it’s frustrating, but the cats thrive in the underdog role. At least, the last couple of years. Mark Stoops has proven time and time again that BBN is not something to mess with. He has shown that he can make something out of nothing putting 2-star recruits in the NFL. It will be interesting to see what he can do with one of the best recruiting class in UK history.

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A Changing of Culture

Look back to the Rich Brooks days when we were excited to even get close to six wins, but now we are expecting more than 6. Mark Stoops has completely changed the culture of the Kentucky Football program a mere three years after everyone, including myself, called for his firing. Last year, Kentucky posted their best record in years finishing 10-3 and a huge bowl win over Penn State. They also had one of their highest draft picks in Josh Allen, who is the perfect example of how Stoops changed this program. With Kentucky coming off their best season in years, everyone is anticipating another stellar year but that won’t stop Stoops from preparing for even the next year.

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Yesterday, four star running back Jutahn McClain committed to the Cats who had offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and others. Let me repeat that…he had offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan but he decided to come to Lexington. They also signed Torrance Davis, another highly sought after running back and he just picked Kentucky. 2020 is shaping up to be the best class in Kentucky history with a top ranked recruit in Justin Rogers, John Young, and Beau Allen. But that’s not even the best part.

Four star linebacker Quandarrius Robinson, who has been Alabama’s to lose, is considering flipping to Kentucky this weekend. After visiting the campus and talking with Marrow, Justin Rowland says that flipping to Kentucky is very possible. And according to Brett Beaird, Nick Saban is a little unhappy about this.

Could you imagine Kentucky flipping this recruit? It may not be the best player in the world, but a player flipping from Alabama to Kentucky would be life changing for this program. There is a tide coming in college football, but it isn’t red and white…it’s blue and white. Kentucky is changing the landscape one day at a time, thanks to the guy everyone (myself included) wanted fired a few years back. It’s only the beginning.

Remember When Denzil Ware Threw a Trash Can at Geron Christian

There are plenty of ways to disrespect an opponent. One of my personal favorites is telling them that they can’t guard me, but a close second is informing someone that they, in fact, are trash.

And there are still plenty of ways to tell someone they’re trash. Dwight Howard would do it behind his teammates’ backs then pretend like they were best friends. Odell Beckham Jr. would do it in post game press conferences. Drake does it directly to Draymond Green’s face. So many ways to get the point across figuratively, but what about doing it literally?

Well, that is exactly what Kentucky DL Denzil Ware did to Louisville’s Geron Christian back in 2017. Obviously, any UK vs. UL rivalry game is going to get unnecessarily chippy and will often come to blows after the whistle. And this game was no exception:

Sure, Kentucky lost this game 44-17 and Ware got thrown right on his ass, but this was one of the funniest things I have seen Baker planted the flag in the middle of Ohio State’s field. Call him “classless”, whatever that means, but he for sure got his point across.

Josh Allen is Finally Home

A huge storyline for the NFL draft was Josh Allen becoming 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. Another storyline for Kentucky during the draft was Josh Allen’s banner that Kentucky paid for and placed downtown near the draft, but it was removed by the NFL and the shithead Roger Goodell. Well, panic no more Cats fans, the banner has returned home.

This just brings a smile to my face. Allen is Kentucky’s best prospect in years and I truly believe he’ll make an immediate impact in Sacksonville. Another thing this proves is how Stoops can bring the true talent in every single underdog…well not everyone but this shows he has the ability to find a true star.

Allen was the 5th linebacker drafted from Kentucky in the past 8 years. The list includes Josh Forrest, Bud Dupree, Za’Darius Smith, and Avery Williamson. He was Stoops’ 6th drafted player since he has been at Kentucky and the second first round pick…again Bud Dupree. Allen is the 3rd Kentucky member of the Jags joining Marlon McCree and Winston Guy. Here’s to hoping Josh Allen’s career is much more impactful than those two players. So, thank you to Kentucky for returning this banner to its’ rightful home…where Allen’s lustrous career began.

The One Person Essential to Terry Wilson’s Success

Terry Wilson (aka Touchdown Terry) has been at the helm of the Kentucky football program for over a year now, but expectations are higher than ever. If you have followed me, you know I have never really been a fan of Terry and due to my friendship with Gunnar, I was a little biased. But with Hoak transferring, I am fully invested in Terry and him having the best season of his college career. It will happen… as long as AJ Rose is used correctly.

Terry Wilson has what it takes to be an elite quarterback. He is tall, athletic, and can run the RPO offense which the NFL seems to be leaning towards. He has the arm to make the downfield threat but you really never know where his ball will go. He has experienced the lowest of lows, including his season opener against Central Michigan where he went 11-18 with only 78 yards and 2 interceptions but he also has had his highlights when he beat Florida at the Swamp by throwing two touchdowns and running for one more. Terry has shown he has what it takes, especially against Kentucky’s rival opponents…so why can’t he do that every game?

If you look at Terry’s stats last season, the games he struggled in seemed to be the games that Benny excelled (minus Louisville where everyone killed it). Benny Snell was the best running back to come through Kentucky, we will not find another like him for a while. But what Kentucky does have is AJ Rose. AJ perfectly complements Terry. He is not the elite runner that Benny was, but he has the ability to be more effective in the passing game. No offense to Benny at all, like I said he was the best Kentucky has had, but he struggled in the passing game. Rose will perfectly complement Terry due to his ability to turn upfield and be more of a dual threat where Benny would just run over everyone.

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If you take a closer look at the games Terry did well, you would also see that those were the games Bowden seemed to take over. I’m not promising that AJ Rose will be as effective as Lynn Bowden, but he’ll have a major effect. When you have two athletic runners on the field mixed with a dual threat QB, anything is possible, and that showed in the Louisville game. It was Terry’s best game and it just happened to be Rose’s best game where he rushed for 112 yards on only 10 attempts. Terry was very effective passing, Bowden was effective in the receiving game, and Rose took over on the ground.

Now, I’m not saying Kentucky will win 10 games like last season, but I do think they will have a better QB this season. Eddie Gran seemed to call a ton of plays for Benny (again he should have because Benny was unreal) but it seemed to take Terry out of any rhythm he had. Rose allows Terry to be Terry. They’ll go from the shotgun, just like with Snell, but we’ll see a ton more option, a ton more Bowden, and a ton more TD passes from Terry due to defenses having to cover Rose like an actual receiver…not just a RB like Snell.

I have never been more confident in Terry, but it all starts with AJ.

Kentucky Left out of Preseason Top 25 Poll That Includes 10 SEC Teams

What else is new?

Kentucky is once again left out of the preseason top 25 poll. Even after their first 10 win season since the 70’s, even after beating Penn State in the Citrus Bowl, even after Mark Stoops has proven time and time again that he can transform 2-star recruits in top 100 draft picks. Despite all that, it is understandable. Especially with losing Josh Allen, Benny Snell, CJ Conrad and the entire secondary to the NFL.

The part that hurts the most to a born and raised Kentucky fan and alumnus is that there are 10 SEC teams in the top 25 and Kentucky is not one of them. Take a look.

Alabama, Georgia and LSU being in the top 5 is somehow less surprising than Kentucky not being ranked at all. Then there is Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M at 8, 9 and 11. Not completely ridiculous, but all of them are about 5 spots too high. If last year was an indication of anything, it is that these teams will continue to be overrated and have inflated rankings.

Tennessee is ranked 15. 15!?!? How? This team finished 5-7 last year. Apparently winning a bowl game is more detrimental to next year’s ranking than not making one at all. Their recruiting class is not even in top 25 according to ESPN. My only guess for this bogus ranking is that they are returning every player at every position and they are all going to be upperclassman. Because, after all, they were the only SEC school to not have a single player drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.

But, I digress.

Mississippi State at 16 make sense, they are always solid defensively. South Carolina at 18 is a bit of a stretch. Jake Bentley (more like Jake Kia) is entirely overrated and will be unranked as soon as they lose to Kentucky for the 6th straight season. Missouri at 19 makes sense. They may have lost Drew Lock to the draft, but they reloaded by securing the best QB transfer in Kelly Bryant.

But no Kentucky to be found. Like I said before, it makes sense because of the significant losses on defense, and losing important pieces like Benny Snell and CJ Conrad. But if Mark Stoops has proven one thing during his time at UK, it is that he can take 2-star nobodies and make them into Heisman hopefuls… at least for a couple weeks. I’m not saying that Kentucky should be ranked either. I am a Kentucky homer through and through, but I like to think I am at least a little rational. All I am saying is that if 10 of the 14 teams in the SEC are ranked in the preseason poll, maybe a team that had a 10-3 record should be one of them. And most of all, if Tennessee is ranked, Kentucky sure as hell should be too.

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Tennessee Lets Down the Entire SEC Yet Again

Tennessee is the single most disappointing team in the Southeastern Conference. This past year in basketball, Tennessee won the SEC regular season and entered the NCAA Tournament as a 2 seed. Literally never had the possibility of playing a higher ranked team until at least the Elite 8 and still lost in the Sweet 16. The best team in the SEC and the best team Tennessee ever had could handle any kind of pressure. Leaving the SEC’s chances of a title in the hands of Auburn.

Just a month later they let us all down again. This time, at the NFL Draft.

For the 13th straight year, the SEC had the most selections in the draft. All but one school had a player selected. So who dropped the ball? Kentucky? Usually yes, but not this time. Vanderbilt? Nope. Tennessee once again disappointed the entire conference by not having a single player drafted.

But what did we expect? Tennessee finished last in the SEC East and have been having a serious fall from grace ever since they let a wide receiver from Kentucky out quarterback Tyler Bray.

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