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The Definition of Success for UK Football this season

Eight weeks. That is all we have until it is finally time for football in Lexington. While I love the game of baseball, the kickoff to football season begins the most entertaining months of the year.

This year’s Kentucky football team is one of the most interesting ones in recent history. On offense, you have a player who might go down as one of the top offensive players in program history. At the same time though, you have a lot of questions at the quarterback position. Who will start game one is probably the biggest. Defensively, they have the potential to be really good, but still have some holes that could be exploited by teams with strong offenses.

On paper, this is probably a team that should be an obvious bowl eligible team and one that could go to a decent bowl game. The issue is that this year’s schedule is difficult with road games in Gainesville, College Station, Knoxville and Missouri.

While covering different teams over the past few years, one of my favorite things to ask a coach in a one-on-one setting is what his or her definition of a successful season is? Is it strictly based on reaching a certain win total? Or is it based on winning a championship? Or how successful players are at the next level?

Fans, on the other hand, typically have a very different definition of success. On the show, you will hear some fans call in expecting this year’s team to win at least 8 games where some will say they’ll be lucky to win five.

For me, this year’s Kentucky football team will be a success if they can do three things.

Win the Games they’re Favored in

This one might sound stupid, but it seems that it happens every year that Kentucky loses to someone that they shouldn’t lose to. Last year, it was the Ole Miss game. Two years ago it was the Southern Miss game. While they have still become bowl eligible even with those losses, it just makes me ask what if they would have won those games? Could the bowl game have been even better?

This year, the games I would classify as games the Cats should win would be: Central Michigan, Murray State, Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee State. All four of those games are at home and all are games that this year’s team HAS to win.

Beat Florida

Like everyone that reads this site, I am sick and tired of losing to Florida. 2018 brought the end to one of Kentucky basketball’s big streaks, so could it actually bring the end to one that fans long for the end of. Winning in Gainesville is hard, especially when officials let you snap the ball with no time remaining on the clock… but that is a post for another day.

In a way, I would take going 1-11 this season if that one win came against Florida. For one, this year’s Gator team is not that much better than Kentucky’s team. Plus, nothing would be sweeter than beating Florida on their home turf.

Become Bowl Eligible

This shouldn’t even be a goal for this year’s team. It needs to start to be an expectation for Mark Stoops’ teams. While the schedule is difficult this season, it would be a major disappointment for the team to fall short of bowl eligibility for this season.

In fact, I had considered making this section of my definition of success as making it to a better bowl game than the Music City Bowl. We need to change the expectations of the program. While the location is perfect, a game in Florida sounds a lot better. Trust me, as one of the fans that was in attendance in Nashville this past year, a warmer weather bowl game sounds so much better.

So now I leave you with this question: what are your parameters for success this year? Is it the same as mine? Or would you add something else?


Article written by Sam Gormley

Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR; "The Whitest Man in the World"-JRock

20 Comments for The Definition of Success for UK Football this season

  1. JTHinton
    4:06 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    Best our big rivals (Florida Tenn and UofL) and make a bowl game. And a decent one at that…

    • Luether
      5:21 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      Very optimistic…

    • ArmyCatFan
      5:52 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      I believe this is optimistic but for the first time in years, I believe this is doable. All of those schools are in places as a team/program that we CAN win these games and SHOULD have a decent shot. None of those games SHOULD we be 10+ point underdogs.

  2. drew_123
    4:37 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    List needs to start and end with beating Florida. At this point it’s clear they can beat them, now it’s just mental.

    • CatsfaninFL
      4:49 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      I’ve given up on this. 3 of the last 4 against them very easily could have been wins. 2 SHOULD have been (last year and 2014 in Gainesville). It is all mental at this point. Not sure playing them as first SEC game/away/2nd overall game is a great year for it though… especially with a new QB.

    • drew_123
      5:00 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      I agree. The good news is that they haven’t found their QB yet either so maybe that’ll help the cats out.

    • And it’ll probably be 500 degrees at UF. Last year was absolutely inexcusable with the multiple incidents of uncovered receivers. I like Stoops, but for him to get prickly when Matt or others asked about that was ridiculous. Just own it man.

  3. CatsfaninFL
    4:46 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    I have no idea what to expect this year. We have great talent and a ton of returners, but an unproven QB, often seen as the most important position. Couple that with a really tough schedule and I feel 6 is doable but not exactly easy either. I have VERY tempered expectations this season. Very much in the camp that we can be a lot better this year and still have a worse record.

    • CatsfaninFL
      5:40 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      I think 8 is possible with a bowl win. I think 8-4 regular season is a lot with this schedule/ no experienced QB is a tall order.

  4. jaws2
    4:49 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    This team needs to win 8 games. Stoops has been here long enough to produce 8 win seasons. After 45 years of UK football devotion, most of those as a season ticket holder, 7-5 seasons from here on out are not good enough for me. Occasionally, sure, I can handle that. I’m exhausted from the we’ll be better next year dialogue. Yeah I know, go support another team blah, blah, blah in 3,2,1……

    • cats646
      5:26 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      I actually agree with you jaws. I’m sick of hearing “we’ll be better next year.” I wanna be better right now! Go cats!!!!

    • UK Big Board Update
      8:34 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      jaws2 is a 40+ year season ticket holder because sure he is. LOL

  5. ukflyguy
    6:33 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    I am happy with 6 wins and a bowl. Only two other UK coaches have gone to bowl games three years in a row so that would be pretty big feat. However with the talent they have this year, don’t be surprised if they win 9 or 10 games this year and contend for the east. Florida, Miss State, Texas A and M, and Tennessee all have first year coaches and serious issues. All I have to say about South Carolina is Will Muschamp. Missouri hired Derek Dooley as their offensive coordinator. Louisville has issues too. All will disappoint this year. We get Georgia at home with a young team. Could be the biggest year we’ve had in a long time. `

  6. kjd
    7:20 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    Dan Mullins will turn Florida around and he has Stoops’ number. Second game of year at the Swamp is a loss. You said we have some holes on defense, Mullins will exploit them.
    For me, beat the lesser opponents and do so handily in a couple of them. Tired of going to the wire at home. Fans need to see/enjoy a blowout.
    I don’t want to leave a game or turn off a game, and say we should have won that game.
    Beat Louisville.
    Make a decent bowl.
    That’s success.

    • UK Big Board Update
      8:27 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      You know an awful lot about this “Dan Mullins” guy….

    • kjd
      9:45 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

      I stand corrected, Dan Mullen.

  7. Sergeant
    7:28 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    Baseline for happy: 6 season wins and a bowl win.

    Very Happy: 7 season wins and a bowl win.

    Crazy Happy: 8 season wins and a bowl win.

    What the hell is going on happy: 8 season wins, beat UF, and win a bowl.

  8. bigblue98
    7:55 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    7 or 8 wins playing disciplined football. Believe we have leadership to achieve this. Be nice to beat 2 of the 3 (Gators, Vols, Cards), but realize that may be a stretch.

  9. jaws2
    8:41 pm July 7, 2018 Permalink

    Wellllll, what do you know, it didn’t take ol’ pricknose to long to chime in!
    I can prove it [email protected], in fact, I still have stubs from when tickets were $10 apiece! And you pricknose?

  10. zoupman
    9:32 pm July 9, 2018 Permalink

    With this schedule, 7 wins would be fantastic.
    Hopefully, if we make another bowl it won’t be officiated by another racist ref who threw Benny out for not accepting his help up. That official should be banned from the sport.