We’re just a few weeks into the college football offseason, and the disrespect for the Kentucky football program going into the 2020 season has already begun.
Major publications such as ESPN, The Athletic, CBS Sports, USA Today, Pro Football Focus, Athlon Sports, and Bleacher Report have already released “Way-Too-Early” preseason top 25 rankings for next college football season, and none included Kentucky. To make matters worse, very few included the Wildcats in the “just missed” or “others receiving votes” categories.
Finally, one outlet is giving Kentucky a tip of the hat going into the 2020 season.
While they didn’t include the Wildcats in their initial top 25 rankings, CBS Sports has since highlighted the six teams that “can crack the top 25 and make some noise in 2020” and listed Kentucky as a team to pay close attention to.
“The Wildcats are a well-kept secret within their own conference,” Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports wrote. “Seventeen starters return from an eight-win team. Mark Stoops pulled off one of his best coaching jobs in succeeding with wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. at quarterback. The guy he replaced, Terry Wilson, returns from injury. Watch the Cats. The last time they won 18 games in two seasons was 1976-77.”
Here was the entire list from CBS Sports and their rationale:
|Fourteen starters return from the best team in the program’s brief FBS history (13-1). Sure, Eli Drinkwitz won with Scott Satterfield’s players. Now, Shawn Clark will win with Satterfield’s and Drinkwitz’s players. Quarterback Zac Thomas (23-3 as a starter) returns as the Mountaineers make a legit run at a New Year’s Six Bowl.|
|The Golden Bears are the underground buzz of the West Coast. Justin Wilcox gets back just about every difference-making player on offense. That includes quarterback Chase Garbers, who threw four touchdowns in the bowl game. The eight wins tie for the most since 2008. Cal gets TCU, Stanford, Oregon, Utah and Washington at home.|
|Fourteen starters are back from a 7-6 team that lost four games by a touchdown or less. In the Big 12, if you’ve got a quarterback, you’ve got a chance. Brock Purdy returns for Year 3. While 2019 was a bit of a downturn, Matt Campbell is still considered a hot coaching commodity.|
|Considering the fragile nature of Kansas State at all times, coach Chris Klieman had an impressive debut. Eight wins — including an upset of Oklahoma — proved Klieman has the chops to succeed in the Big 12. He gets back veteran quarterback Skylar Thompson and six of his top seven returning receivers. The offensive line must be rebuilt.|
|The Wildcats are a well-kept secret within their own conference. Seventeen starters return from an eight-win team. Mark Stoops pulled off one of his best coaching jobs in succeeding with wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. at quarterback. The guy he replaced, Terry Wilson, returns from injury. Watch the Cats. The last time they won 18 games in two seasons was 1976-77.|
|The Cowboys became a factor when Chuba Hubbard announced Monday was returning. The 2,000-yard rusher returns with quarterback Spencer Sanders and WR Tylan Wallace to a form a typical Big 12 team. An offensive juggernaut that will have trouble stopping people.|
One national outlet down, dozens to go.