The guys at ESPN’s SEC blog have been going through the best and worst case scenarios for each SEC team headed into the football season. They finally got around to Kentucky and the results are about what you’d expect. They are reasonable predictions for a team we still don’t know much about, but that doesn’t mean we won’t debate them. Since they disabled embedding, I’ve transcribed a decent portion of the commentary, but you can always watch it here if too much reading hurts your eyes. Poor thing.
Worst Case: I think it’s 4-8 for Kentucky. Which would mean they would probably have to lose one of their four nonconference games, and really just struggle on offense. If they have trouble in the passing games, teams are really able to cheat against them, load that line of scrimmage and really come after Morgan Newton it could be a long season. And again, I say 4-8 is a worst case scenario. Obviously that would snap the bowl streak.
If the one nonconference loss is Louisville, I have to agree that is probably the worst case scenario. Of course losing to any of the other nonconference opponents (WKU, Central Michigan or Jacksonville State,) would be ultimately more embarrassing. Still, even a 4-8 season with a win over Louisville has a tinge of brightness to it, despite being utterly disappointing. In other words, worst case scenario is a loss to Louisville, another loss to Tennessee and no bowl game, regardless of win total.
Best Case: I think 7-5 in the regular season, getting back to a bowl for the sixth straight season, winning that bowl game and winning 8 games. Now that may not seem like a lot, but when you look at where Kentucky was before Rich Brooks got there several years ago, and what Joker Phillips has done with it, I still think that’s progress. I think getting to 7-5 this year, getting to a bowl game and getting that 8th win is the best case scenario for this season. For that to happen, the key game – third week of the season – against Louisville in Lexington. I think that’s a game Kentucky has to win.
It may be the blue tinted glasses I’m wearing, but I have to disagree with Low on this one. I think 7-5 (8-5 with a bowl win) is certainly a better than average case and in all circumstances considered a pretty largely successful season. But the schedule is there to win more than 7, honestly. If we are going ‘best case scenario,’ Kentucky wins the first three games at home, starting 3-0. They likely lose the next three no matter what (Florida, @LSU, @USC,) but in a best case scenario I can see them stealing one of the three. Still, we can go conservative and have them sitting 3-3 headed into the home game with Jacksonville State. This opens a three game home streak with Jacksonville State, Mississippi State and Ole Miss – all winnable games. With best case scenario rules, Kentucky sits at 6-3. The Cats close out the season with @ Vandy (win,) @ Georgia (likely loss,) and hosting Tennessee (obvious win.) This leaves Kentucky at 8-4 headed into a bowl game with the potential to end the season 9-4.
The reality is, the season will likely end somewhere in between 4-8 and 9-4. I would consider Low’s best case a reasonable optimistic view of the upcoming season, with the extra loss coming against Tennessee or one of the Mississippi’s. What are your thoughts headed into the Fall? Time to rise?