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Phil Steele Forecasts a Gloomy 2019 Kentucky Football Season

Following the best Kentucky football season in 40 years, one of the nation’s top college football prognosticators believes the party is coming to an end in 2019.

Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Preview magazine is on newsstands this week. The 25th edition of the college football talking season Bible does not give Mark Stoops’ team a glowing review. A predictor who relies on a number of formulas to reach his conclusion, Steele’s personally crafted concoctions conclude the Cats will take a step back this fall.

Steele projects Kentucky to finish sixth in the SEC East, ahead of only Vanderbilt, and ranks the Cats 60th out of 130 FBS teams. After three straight postseason appearances, Steele does not believe Kentucky will go to a bowl game following the 2019 season.

Those pessimistic projections come with a few caveats. First and foremost, he does not predict each game. Even though the schedule is favorable for the Cats, UK returns only ten starters. History also plays a significant factor in Steele’s formula too. If Kentucky regresses to the mean of the pre-Stoops era, 2019 will not be pretty.

The thing about the Mark Stoops era is that it has defined the norms. Since he arrived in Lexington six years ago, UK is the only program in America that has not taken a step back. Each year Kentucky’s record has been the same, or improved, from the previous year. Continuing that trend will obviously be difficult, but over the last three years UK has pulled off ten upsets. That’s why Steele hedged his bet in closing by saying a bowl appearance is “probable.”

The preview of Kentucky from the Phil Steele magazine has a lot more information. What you’ll find isn’t too different from the rest of the bulletin board material that will surface during talking season, which unofficially kicks off at SEC Media Days in less than three weeks.

Phil Steele’s UK Preseason All-SEC Selections

  • Drake Jackson, First Team Center
  • Lynn Bowden, Third Team Wide Receiver
  • Kash Daniel, Third Team Linebacker
  • Logan Stenberg, Third Team Offensive Lineman
  • Quinton Bohanna, Fourth Team Defensive Lineman
  • Boogie Watson, Fourth Team Linebacker


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

36 Comments for Phil Steele Forecasts a Gloomy 2019 Kentucky Football Season

  1. NYCCatsFan
    2:06 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    Defined the norms?

    • dwh58
      2:26 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      LOL – yes. I think it defined the norms as as not following the usual norms.

      Proofreading is not a strength – but it does allow for some additional chuckles.

  2. catsby90.1
    2:06 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    Bowden at 3rd team WR is laughable.

  3. Jbentley68
    2:10 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    I dont Give Flying F about what Phil Steel thinks. He dont know his Ass from a hole in the ground.

    • JT55
      4:07 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Actually he’s consistently the most accurate preseason prediction magazine on the market. He knows his stuff. Doesn’t mean he’s never wrong though.

    • antiquefurnitureandmidgets
      6:27 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      He may know his stuff but last year, out of 14 teams in the SEC, he correctly predicted the order of finish for 3 of them. The year before he got 2 correct and exactly 0 in the East. In fact, his predictions for the East were a complete disaster. The year before that he had the correct order of finish for 2 SEC teams, and once again the East was an unmitigated disaster. I’m not exactly running to my bookie. The truth is, rather than being highly accurate, all of these guys are duking it out for the highest level of mediocrity. Some of what they have to offer is helpful even if much of it can be predicted even by the casual fan (picking Clemson and Alabama as two of the playoff teams for instance). But as always, Vegas hasn’t filed for bankruptcy.

    • notFromhere
      7:38 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      He’s only fairly accurate with the 2 of the top 3 in any conference. He and his team suck at knowing much beyond that.

  4. CatfaninCinci
    2:10 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    I’m seeing more and more UK fans who are incredulous about these rankings. 1) we lost our all world DE and the best back in school history 2) Terry Wilson didn’t inspire much confidence at all last year…

    I see these ratings. And I think is fair for sportswriters to not believe just yet. Call me a hater or whatever, I believe Terry will be improved, but he was so bad last year, it would be hard for him not too.

    UK won’t get to 10 wins this year. But 6-8 would be great IMHO. I hope I’m wrong and I eat crow and all that. I really do. But I understand these prognosticators.

    • CatfaninCinci
      2:13 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Lynn Bowden as third team is laughable though. Bowden is the only returning skill guy who’s guaranteed to be a star.

    • mashburnfan1
      3:16 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Part of Terry looking bad was the play calling. If you watch the UF game, The 1st half vs USC the kid can make throws. It was his first year in the toughest Conf in football, even Drew Lock and more struggled their first years. Yea they had yardage because they threw alot but also lots of issues. TW did what was asked of him, not hurt the team. I think, and hope, most of these predictions are because they don’t know we have depth. We do not have a Josh Allen, that we know of, but we have lots of talent at DL and LB. DB I like our safety players and we will need someone to step up at the corners. OL is best it has ever been, TE and WR we are deep, RB we have no Benny, that we know of, but have 4 SEC backs. QB spot is the unknown but we do have that transfer that has experience just in case something happens to Terry. I don’t know, last year was awesome, Orlando was a blast and I am looking forward to seeing what this year brings. We will know by October what our season will be.

    • UK1972
      3:27 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Don’t think its possible to 6-8, unless they won the East with 6-6 record, then lost championship game, and then lost a bowl game.

    • Soylentbeans
      6:20 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Uk1972 I think that’s 6 to 8 wins not a 6-8record.

    • Matt10
      6:25 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      6-8 wins

    • RAGE
      7:36 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      I agree again CanfaninCinci… I think our team with our schedule for this season we should get to Six wins at least.. I mean our non conference schedule is a cakewalk or should be but for us to get a guaranteed bowl we have to sweep the non conference slate… I know Louisville was horrible last year but they had quit on Petrine by the time we played them and they will be better this season.. If we were to lose to them or any other non-conference foe it could make for a long season…

      On another note I think Bowden being a third team choice is a knock on Wilson than him.. it don’t matter how good you are at WR if the QB ain’t accurate you won’t put up good numbers.. I know people will say that Wilson was not allowed and play calling was the reason but even with that we had way to many games under 100 yards passing.. I mean against Texas A&M and Vandy we only had like 18 yards passing for the game.. That ain’t on Stoops it Gran that is on our QB

  5. Headhurts
    2:12 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    Thanks for the bulletin board material Phil!

  6. bigblue98
    2:22 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    No Landon Young and Bohanna at 4th best are a joke. Evidently these guys don’t recognize that once again our offensive and defensive lines will be good. Keep underestimating and giving billboard material. I’m sure leaders like Kash will continue to let the team know what the so called experts think.

  7. brainesman
    2:23 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    I’m too lazy to look it up, but his predictions last year weren’t much better either. I understand his methodology, but the talent level at this program seems to be on a steady rise. If that’s the case, they’ll win a minimum 7 games with this schedule.

  8. Boman2112
    2:35 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    I can see a path to 10 regular season wins this year.

  9. BluKudzu
    2:35 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    Every game is won or lost at the line. I like our OL and DL.
    Phil is an idiot.

    • UK1972
      4:09 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Your right. The D line needs to get pressure to help out young secondary until they gain some experience. The O line should open holes for the tandem backs.

  10. Realme
    2:39 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    Y’all already did this story a few days ago.

  11. az1006
    3:44 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    The last two years, it’s become abundantly clear that most prognosticators simply will not let go of history when evaluating Kentucky. Aside from Cole Cubelic and Chris Doering (both of whom were high on the Cats early last season) everybody basically kept predicting the wheels to fall off. They never did. So, now, since we’ve lost our two best players (two of the best we’ve ever had), the assumption is we’ll fall back down to earth. Fact is, we might regress a little bit: it’s difficult for most programs to replicate 10-win seasons in back-to-back years. So, a regression shouldn’t be all that surprising. But, the level to which many expect us to regress is really surprising, given the amount of skill guys we have coming back, and the depth and returning talent we have on the lines. When you couple that with the way our schedule sets up, we are FAR more likely to win 8 games than 5 or 6.

    Florida- Toss-Up
    Missouri- Toss-Up
    Tennessee- Toss-Up

    I see 6 fairly easy wins, and 3 toss-up games that could go either way. Win 2 of those (considering all are at home, I’d say that’s likely) and we are at 8 wins. Even if you want to argue Arkansas and Vandy are toss-up games, it just seems silly to me to think this team can’t win AT LEAST 7 games. I’m going to say we go 8-4.

    • UK1972
      3:46 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink


    • tdub
      3:53 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Yep, 8-4 would be a good year after what we lost.

    • CatfaninCinci
      6:56 am June 27, 2019 Permalink

      Agree with this. This seems legit. But we COULD win 6. It’s not hating to say that. We lost 12 starters

  12. SuperTroy18
    4:15 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    The funny thing, to me, about all these “prognostications” is that last Summer no one thought Josh Allen was going to do what he did. They thought Benny would be good again, but didn’t think we would have any success on offense since Johnson was gone. Now, every “expert” is like “They lost WAY too much talent!” Well…that’s not what you said last year…and all the years before that. And I’m prognosticating that’s not what you’ll say next year either. Kentucky winning football games looks weird to these guys, so they will never admit we are a solid, up and coming program. It’s safer to say, “Yep. They’re gonna lose again. Haha.” Because that’s what all their peers are saying. If one of these guys actually said “UK will win a lot again and compete for the East crown.” All their peers would laugh at them and say I told ya so when we lost even one game. None of these guys have to balls to admit we are challengers for the East.

    • Matt10
      6:28 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      I like your thinking!!

  13. antiquefurnitureandmidgets
    5:08 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    He said we won’t go to a bowl but then said it was probable that we will? Huh?

  14. UKrulesall
    7:23 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    How can he say that the cats won’t make a bowl game but their odds are “probable” two paragraphs later.

    • notFromhere
      7:28 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      Cause that’s how you “are a great prognosticator” … you play both sides so you are never “wrong” He’s a troll with a magazine

  15. notFromhere
    7:26 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    If Steele is at the top,that’s a real shtpile of prognosticators you’re looking at

  16. RAGE
    7:37 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

    Wilson stats last year wasn’t just the play calling.. Most of it was just bad QB play

    • RAGE
      7:38 pm June 26, 2019 Permalink

      To many TO’s and way to many misses on open wide receivers

  17. CahillsCrossingNT
    6:16 am June 27, 2019 Permalink

    If they offered 6-6 right now I’d take it and not take chances otherwise. They will miss Snell and Allen and a few others far more than people realize. They aren’t a powerhouse that can just reload and never will be.

    • CatfaninCinci
      7:15 am June 27, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed. We aren’t a powerhouse, but people don’t realize that 5 years ago if we lose 12 starters, they’re projecting 2-10 or 3-9… We have the depth to be 6-6… That in and of itself is a huge step!