Does Kentucky football boast a top-five roster in the SEC?
Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network certainly thinks so.
In his final 2020 SEC Power Rankings, Cubelic listed the Kentucky Wildcats at No. 5 overall and No. 3 in the SEC East.
Alabama came in at No. 1 overall, followed by Florida at No. 2, Georgia at No. 3, LSU at No. 4, and Kentucky at No. 5.
Behind the Wildcats? Texas A&M at No. 6, Auburn at No. 7, Tennessee at No. 8, Mississippi State at No. 9, and Ole Miss at No. 10, among others.
Check out Cubelic’s entire power rankings below:
MY 2020 SEC power rankings: pic.twitter.com/HucOkIqMCE
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) August 15, 2020
In recent months, the SEC Network analyst listed the entire Wildcat offensive line as the third-best unit in the SEC, coming in behind Alabama and Tennessee.
MY top 5 SEC OL’s for 2020: pic.twitter.com/LnnEGWaJqZ
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 5, 2020
This week, Pro Football Focus’ Brent Rollins also tweeted a wildly impressive stat about the Cats’ offensive line, which includes four of the SEC’s highest-graded returning linemen in Darian Kinnard, Landon Young, Drake Jackson, and Luke Fortner.
Darian Kinnard, UK – 89.2
Jamaree Salyer, UGA – 81.3
Trey Smith, UT – 78.6
Landon Young, UK – 78.3
Drake Jackson, UK – 78.0
Ben Cleveland, UGA – 77.4
Luke Fortner, UK – 77.0@PFF_College
— Brent Rollins (@PFF_Brent) August 14, 2020
Individually, Cubelic ranked Drake Jackson as the No. 1 center in the SEC Conference, while Pro Football Focus tabbed the senior standout as the country’s most valuable returning center. Athlon Sports also recently named Jackson to its Preseason All-SEC First-Team list.
Cubelic’s coworker at the SEC Network, Chris Doering, also had high praise for the Wildcats, picking them to make some serious noise in the SEC East.
“I’ve got Kentucky as my dark horse in the SEC East,” the former Florida Gator said. “I know a lot of people are fans of Georgia and Florida, but I look at this Kentucky team and a lot of the reasons I like Florida are why I like Kentucky. They’ve got continuity in their coaching staff. They return a lot of players on both sides of the ball with a ton of experience.”
Doering noted that Kentucky’s defense will be better than last year’s and added that Mark Stoops is one of the best in the SEC in terms of developing talent.
“Most importantly to me though, this is a program that Mark Stoops has now built. He’s brought in quality players in recruiting cycle after recruiting cycle and he’s one of the best at developing that talent, so I really believe the biggest thing that he’s done is upgraded the talent and the mentality that they can win. They’re much more confident than they ever were before.”
Outside of praise from SEC Network analysts, 247Sports recently projected the preseason AP Top 25 with only six conferences and 76 total FBS teams in action, with Kentucky coming in at No. 20 overall and No. 8 in the SEC.
Go down the list, and it’s clear that Kentucky is working with something special this football season.
(Please let us have a football season)