With SEC Media Days taking up most of last week, there were a few times throughout the week that left Kentucky fans scratching their heads. Kentucky picked to finish 5th in the SEC East? The number 2 running back picked for third-team all SEC over Benny Snell? Jordan Jones as only a third team selection? No Kentucky offensive linemen on any of the top three preseason teams? All questions that were left unanswered.
Saturday Down South looked into the 10 things that SEC media members were wrong about during SEC Media Days. Kentucky was all over the list, and for good reason.
Numbers 1 and 2 on the list go together. SEC media members picked Tennessee to finish third in the SEC East, while picking Kentucky to finish 5th. Joe Cox of SDS brings up what we’re all thinking.
Sure, history is a lazy way out. But if you watched these two teams â€” and then look at who they each lost to â€” youâ€™d assume the analysts just got them backward.
Cox continues the discussion, mentioning who each team brings back from last season and notes that Tennessee lost their top performers at all the skill positions on offense and top athletes on the defensive side.
Meanwhile, Kentucky returns the vast majority of starters from a team that won four SEC games for the first time in seven years and knocked off intrastate rival Louisville and their Heisman winning QB in the regular season finale.
Neither UT nor UK will go to Atlanta, but if I had to buy stock in Butch Jones or Mark Stoops, I wouldnâ€™t be buying Jones.
Moving down the list, it doesn’t take long to find another UK slight from the media. Georgia returns their starting running back, Nick Chubb, and yet somehow their number 2 back still made a preseason All-SEC team. Don’t get me wrong, Sony Michel is a hell of a running back; however, he’s not even going to be getting the majority of the touches in Athens, and he had worse numbers than Benny Snell did last year.
Yeah, heâ€™s a good back. He rushed for 840 yards and four touchdowns behind Nick Chubb last year after eclipsing 1,000 in 2015. And heâ€™s still behind Chubb this year. The voters bypassed Benny Snell (1,091 yards, 13 touchdowns), Damarea Crockett (1,062 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Trayveon Williams (1,057 yards, eight touchdowns) for Michel.
I think the largest part of SEC Media Days that disrespected the Cats was the fact that Jordan Jones, who, numbers wise, is the best returning linebacker in the SEC, only made third team preseason All-SEC. Saturday Down South sees issue with that as well.
The leading returning tackler and leading returning tackler for loss is Kentuckyâ€™s Jordan Jones (109 stops, 15.5 tackles for loss). So for Jones to be named third team while guys like Alabamaâ€™s Rashaan Evans (53 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss) and Auburnâ€™s Tre Williams (67 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss) are picked ahead of him is ludicrous.
Catch the rest of the list with all of the ways that SEC Media just mailed in their picks this year by visiting the full story with the link near the top of the post. I’m not going to sit here and say that Kentucky was the only one to not get a fair shake, but easily identifying more than just one or two instances is something to make you take notice.
If youâ€™re noticing a theme that the voters appeared to just run down the Alabama, Auburn, or LSU rosters rather than consider deserving players from mid-level teams, youâ€™re not the only one.
Hopefully, at the end of the season, we’ll be able to compare the preseason All-SEC teams with the real ones, and notice that the Cats got some deserved love.