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Terry Wilson’s Uncertainty Defines Kentucky Football’s Preseason Projections

When compiling preseason predictions, the first thing a college football prognosticator looks at is the name. Name brands carry significant weight. Yes, Alabama and LSU typically have great players, but that’s not why they will make up about half of the media’s preseason All-SEC selections. Inherent bias plays a part in making predictions.

Once pundits put on their reading glasses, one stat will primarily form the basis of their opinion: returning production. What did they do last year? Who is returning and is one of them a quarterback? From that point forward, arguments can become more nuanced based on schedule and strengths of certain positions, but at its heart all preseason predictions are modeled off of returning production and quarterback play. Figuring out where UK falls in this simplistic analysis is tricky.

Take a look at the section titled “Final Analysis” in Athlon Sports‘ college football preview magazine. After spending a few hundred words noting the positives and negatives from last season and what’s returning, this is how they summarized what could happen for UK in 2020.

If a quarterback emerges — and that’s a big if — there is enough talent and depth elsewhere to make it easy to imagine a special season for Kentucky in 2020. With more uncertainty than ever in college football, it’s not out of the question that Stoops’ team could land near the top of the SEC East.

The hyphenated “and that’s a big if” will certainly fire up fans. I can already see the “Terry Wilson is 12-3 as a starter” in the Facebook comments section. Folks will only get more fired up when they find Terry Wilson at No. 44 in Athlon’s quarterback rankings, eighth in the SEC and one spot behind Feleipe Franks.


Terry Wilson certainly has the tools to finish the season as one of the 25 best quarterbacks in America. In the limited amount of time outsiders have watched him as a Wildcat, he’s been asked by Mark Stoops to do what Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst asks of Jack Coan — manage a run-heavy offense by making a few good throws a game and avoiding turnovers. Of course, Wilson played well above that standard in a win at The Swamp, but well below it a month later when he completed only three passes against Vanderbilt.

In 2019 Terry Touchdown could have launched himself into the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC by playing like the guy we saw at The Swamp. Instead his injury left UK left scrambling, forced to completely change its offense on the fly. Bowden Ball was successful but it leaves pundits stunned, unsure if they can state with conviction whether or not last season’s success will be compounded into double-digit wins with Terry Wilson back under center. If Wilson plays to his potential by exceeding outsiders’ expectations, there’s no doubt in my mind that will happen, but as Athlon said, “that’s a big if.”

Article written by Nick Roush

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

5 Comments for Terry Wilson’s Uncertainty Defines Kentucky Football’s Preseason Projections

  1. Wakecrash
    5:27 pm June 15, 2020 Permalink

    Bo Nix at 21, what the ….. he was terrible with no signs of improvement. They must put too much weight on his recruiting ranking. I do believe Terry shows upside, just needs to stop the silly stuff. So some folks in these are graded a bit high, a bit low, whatever,,,, But Bo Nix,,, at 21,, that has got to be a clerical error…

  2. antiquefurnitureandmidgets
    5:28 pm June 15, 2020 Permalink

    “…manage a run-heavy offense by making a few good throws a game and avoiding turnovers.“

    This is all we need out of Terry. Assuming his scrambling/running ability hasn’t been terribly effected by the injury, I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t expect him to be able to do those things. My guess is the 4-6 win predictions are mostly from habitual 4-6 win prognosticators.

  3. UKCatAttack
    8:51 pm June 15, 2020 Permalink

    I have no issue with the ranking. He was a game managing QB Who wasn’t asked to throw the ball around much with Benny Snell in the backfield. He suffered a debilitating season ending injury that could have threatened his career. We have no idea where he is going to be at coming off of this injury. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be better than he was 2 seasons ago.

  4. Looother
    11:19 pm June 15, 2020 Permalink

    My sources say that 44 is about right for Wilson…

  5. kjd
    7:54 am June 16, 2020 Permalink

    Can’t argue with the “IF” qualifier.