With less than a week until the Mark Stoops Era, it’s time to step back and think big picture for a moment before the daily in-season grind begins. While I don’t believe any of these things I have listed below will happen, it is in the realm of possibility. Before you get the good news, here’s as bad as it could get this season (don’t worry too much, it’s impossible to be worse than last year).
-Another loss to Western. Despite an unprecendented amount of excitement surrounding the program, Petrino gets Antonio Andrews to make multiple big-plays on the inexperienced defense. Andrew Jackson completely shuts down the run, forcing Neal Brown to rely heavily on youthful wide receivers. Pro-Petrino fans of the #BBN receive the ultimate satisfaction and proceed to blow-up the Fan Outfitters Phone Line for many months.
– The Air Raid never takes off with coaches attempting to use two QBs. In a system based on continuity, tempo, and rhythm, using both Jalen Whitlow and Max Smith causes neither of them to ever develop positive relationships with their young WRs. Max’s shoulder injury prevents him from going deep down the field, while Jalen rarely puts together back-to-back successful plays.
– After defeating UK by 50+, Teddy Bridgewater wins the Heisman en route to an undefeated season and a BCS National Championship game birth. The most unlikely of all scenarios should be mentioned, just because every U of L fan out there thinks that this is what exactly will happen this year (SPOILER ALERT: IT WON”T!).
– Murderer’s Row decimates the team with injuries. The greatest fear for all UK fans should be the meat and potatoes of the schedule where UK faces off against #9, #10, #6, and #1. It shouldn’t be a fear for losses, it should be a fear for losing players. Coach Korem and the staff have put their highest emphasis on injury prevention, but it’s hard to stop big Bama boys from busting a few heads. If someone like Avery Williamson goes down, it could have a Nerlens Noel-effect, except the UK basketball team was a Top 25 team before his injury. Even if the Cats get through this stretch relatively unscathed, can they emotionally recover from being sent to the dogs for a month straight? How they respond will dictate the amount of success in Mark Stoops’ first season.
– Fans forget that it’s Stoops’ first season and quickly quit showing up after a bloody Murderer’s Row. While nothing will every be able to compare to the Vandy atrocity, football fans can be shaky at times. After the Spring Game had 50,000 in attendance, I’m confident we can mark this one off the table. Just do me a favor #BBN, don’t take away what little confidence this program has by openly protesting the team’s actions.
– Barker can’t convince Elam to stay in-state, while other recruits forget about buying in to Stoops. After an abysmal year Matt Elam is more concerned about winning than staying close to home, taking his talents to Alabama. Barker does his best to continue optimism around the program, but Boom Williams and other high-profile recruits can’t settle for a team with 5 wins in two years.
The only legitimate worry I have at all is if the team can weather the storm during the awful September-October stretch. While this may be a little Debbie Downer for your afternoon, your best case-scenario will be posted shortly (Spoiler: it can actually be a REALLY great season).