While summer brings the inevitable heat and even slower news, it also is responsible for bringing about various preseason magazines. There are many publications known for their previews of collegiate football and basketball, and with it being the dog days of summer the football publications are currently on their way out. Athlon Sports is one of those team prognosticators and has come out with their annual rankings of the individual SEC units. While all the usual suspects like Alabama, Georgia, and LSU have found their way to the top, Joker Phillips’ Wildcats have found themselves near the bottom in every single position ranking. Below is a chart containing all the respective SEC schools, their position rankings (keep in mind a “1” means the best unit), and their average rank according to Athlon Sports’ 2012 Preview Magazine.
Keep in mind these rankings are based upon talent and not past production. When positions are averaged Alabama comes out to be the highest rated (due to alphabetical order) over traditional SEC East power Georgia, while the team who is predicted to win the conference, LSU, comes in third. Kentucky, after averaging all position rankings, comes in ranked #13, ahead of only Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss Rebels. Unfortunately this seems to be the consensus thought of nearly every single preseason rating service out there, for example Kentucky has been ranked 14th in Linebacking and 13th in Defensive Secondary in the past two days by ESPN alone. While disagreement cannot be easily found in a majority of positions, the Defensive Line should be much better than their ranking due to the experience/skill returning in Collins Ukwu, Donte Rumph, and Mister Cobble (although there are questions about depth at the position). The Defensive Secondary also has a case for a higher ranking due to the return of Martavius Neloms and Mikie Benton. Because of these rankings Athlon has predicted Kentucky to finish with a final record of 4-8 while going 1-7 in conference. Not surprisingly because of this, Kentucky is predicted to finish last in the SEC East.