Kentucky has arguably the toughest schedule in college football this season. Yesterday we learned that Kentucky will face 5 of the USA Today Coaches Poll’s Pre-Season Top 10 teams. The task is nothing short of daunting for new head coach Mark Stoops in his first season in Lexington. The schedule will always be tough when competing in the SEC, but this year’s will be as tough as any in recent memory. Knowing that the road ahead is difficult, here are 5 reasons to embrace Kentucky’s brutal football schedule. Why not look at the glass half full? Let’s try to find that silver lining, if there is to be one…
1. We will get to see the best teams in America come to Lexington for home games
Sometimes if you know that your team is not going to have the best season, you can at least find excitement in the fact that you will get to see some of the country’s best teams on display. Whether or not the games will be ultra competitive or not, Commonwealth will play host to the big boys in the SEC such as Florida and Alabama. Chances are good that we will see the future national champion with our very own eyes playing in Lexington on October 12th.
2. It buys Mark Stoops a year (unless you’re one of those kind of crazy fans)
A new head coach should always be given a year or two buffer from the fans before they start making snap judgments on whether or not he/she will be successful. In a prefect world, all fans and administrations would allow for a transition period before passing judgment. If any fans were not willing to at least give a year buffer to Mark Stoops anyway upon his hire, this year’s #1 ranked schedule in difficulty in the country SHOULD at least buy him a year. Anyone who expects a large number of wins against this schedule is probably just being unrealistic. If Stoops had a relatively “easy” year in comparison for an SEC schedule, more pressure would be placed on him and his team to get results right away.
3. A chance for a big time upset to bring major buzz to Kentucky
Remember when we upset LSU when they were ranked #1? Remember when we ruined Brian Brohm and Louisville’s national championship hopes right at the start of the season? Although the odds won’t be in Kentucky’s favor to win any games against the highly favored teams, Kentucky will have a chance in at least half of its games to pull of major upsets that would create a huge buzz for the program. A single win (even if the rest of the season is mediocre or bad) against either Louisville, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama or Georgia would mean knocking off a legitimate top 10 team in the country. I’m not saying it’s likely to happen, or even feasible. But hey, we can dream, right?
4. With the amount of insanely good teams in the SEC, surely at least one of these SEC schools will overlook Kentucky
If something like #3 is to happen, it might just be because Kentucky catches someone off guard or sleeping. With all of the juggernauts in the SEC, surely at least one team will not take Kentucky as seriously as they should. Could that lack of focus be just enough to allow Kentucky to pull one over on someone?
5. It’ll get better next year…
The brutal schedule this year sets up for a much more favorable SEC schedule next season for Kentucky. Stoops will have more talent available on his roster and an extra year to implement and perfect his offensive and defensive schemes.
Only 4 weeks until football season, folks…