The first college football preseason magazine is on newsstands this week. Athlon Sports officially kicked off talking season by releasing its annual publication. As you might expect, the Kentucky Wildcats are not near the top of the SEC East’s pecking order.
While many across the Big Blue Nation believe 2020 could be a breakthrough season, Athlon Sports thinks it will be much of the same. The outlet predicts a 7-5 record with a fourth-place finish in the SEC East, behind Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Let them explain:
After winning 26 games through the first five seasons under Mark Stoops, Kentucky has posted 18 over the last two years. Just finishing 8-5 in 2019 was an accomplishment for Stoops and his staff. Starting quarterback Terry Wilson was lost for the season due to injury in early September, which later prompted the team to move receiver Lynn Bowden to the position in October. Bowden left for the NFL after finishing with 1,871 total yards in 2019, but Wilson is expected to return to the starting lineup.
He’s joined by one of the SEC’s top offensive lines and a backfield that brings back three running backs that accumulated at least 500 rushing yards in 2019. Kentucky’s defense finished fourth in the SEC in fewest points allowed per game (19.3) and allowed 5.3 yards a snap. The line will miss Calvin Taylor and T.J. Carter, and the departure of linebacker Kash Daniel is significant. Despite those personnel departures, this unit should be solid once again in 2020. The Wildcats will be tested right away with a trip to Florida on tap in Week 2.
Athlon is not anxious to go out on a limb for Kentucky, even though they did tip their caps to six different Wildcats on their preseason All-SEC team. Darian Kinnard, Drake Jackson and Max Duffy each earned First Team nods, Landon Young and Boogie Watson appeared on the Second Team and Luke Fortner earned a spot on the Third Team.
You can examine Athlon’s entire All-SEC Team by looking at the fantastic photo below taken by KSR’s Adam Luckett or by purchasing a copy of the magazine here.