On Monday, Tyler Thompson dropped a poll asking you, the Kentucky Sports Radio readers, to cast your realistic opinion on the upcoming football season. No frills, no strings attached. The results seemed optimistic overall, but there was plenty of naysaying and overboard positivity in the comments.
Without a doubt, morale is high around the program. Mark Stoops has sent a massive surge of energy into the recruiting scene and has rallied a dormant fan base around a team that mustered only two wins last season. If what Stoops has done off the field in just a few months is any indication of the product we get on the field, this season will be fun. However, the SEC is still the SEC. It will take time for the young guns to get acclimated to the size and speed. Results will not be immediate, in all likelihood.
That is not discouraging the KSR readers. They have spoken, and the majority says the Wildcats will just miss out on a bowl berth, posting a 5-7 record overall. Twenty-nine percent of the votes say the Cats will be one win shy of the post-season. That is still quite an improvement from what we saw a season ago. Next, with 25 percent of the votes, say 4-8 is most likely. Third was an even 6-6 record, getting 20 percent of the votes.
Kentucky loses five offensive starters from a unit that was among the worst overall in all of college football. That claim was no fault of two veterans on the front line, however, center Matt Smith and guard Larry Warford. Replacing these big boys up front will be no easy task. The quarterback and running back position will be the deepest for offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who can’t wait to air it out.
Defensively, Stoops has a lot to work with. The only major loss is safety Martavius Neloms, and some of the brightest players with the most upside are still young. Fans have a lot to be excited with in defensive end Bud Dupree, along with tackle Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph. Throw in linebackers Avery Williamson and Miles Simpson, and there is plenty of experience in the unit, along with its top three tacklers from last season.
The outlook for the season is not pristine, especially with teams like Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia on the schedule. But with Stoops at the helm, surely this ship with right itself before long. I have to say the KSR readers are optimistic at 5-7. Pick up one surprise upset and we could be bowling!