Before the AP releases the official preseason Top 25 on Monday, Sporting News has re-evaluated their rankings following the Big Ten and Pac-12’s cancellation of football this fall. Their loss is Kentucky’s gain.
Last week’s dismissals of football forced Bill Bender to remove ten teams from his initial preseason Top 25. It’s clear that the Wildcats narrowly missed the cut the first time around, now ranked No. 16 overall.
The Wildcats are 18-8 the last two seasons and have achieved stability under Mark Stoops, who continues to build depth through recruiting. Kentucky has most of its starters on both sides coming back, but the loss of All-American talent Lynn Bowden needs addressed. Quarterback Terry Wilson is coming off a season-ending knee injury, and the key will be establishing a consistent running game behind him. That’s led to more success in the SEC East. Can the Wildcats hold their spot in the pecking order when they arrive at a two-week November stretch that features road games at Florida and Alabama?
Those two teams at the end of the season are ranked second and seventh, respectively. UK will open the season against No. 8 Auburn, Georgia comes in at No. 3, Tennessee is one spot ahead of Kentucky at No. 15 and the disgusting flavor of the month from down the road is No. 14.