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Are we expecting too much from Kentucky Football this year?

When it comes to Kentucky Football, I am an eternal optimist. If you are anything like me – and because I care about you, I hope you are not – it’s the same story year in and year out. As September draws near, we begin plotting routes to extraordinary success. Typically, by the time October ends, reality has set in.  For the past three years, however, our crash back to earth has been a much less precipitous drop than in years past. In fact, these past seasons have provided the optimists among us with a very strange (and dangerous) reason to be excited: reality.

We return 16 starters from last year’s team. We have been to two straight bowl games. We have a generational talent at running back. We have continuity in our coaching staff. No one is predicting an SEC Championship…but the pieces seem to be in place for a special season (eight regular season wins in the benchmark in my mind). College football analyst, Phil Steele, seems to think otherwise. In his annual “College Football Preview”, a purported deep dive into every team that matters, Steele ranks Kentucky’s position units as follows:

Nationally:
QB – NR
RB – 34
WR – NR
OL – NR
DL – NR
LB – 41
DB – 30
ST – NR

SEC:
QB – 14/14
RB – 6/14
WR – 13/14
OL – 11/14
DL – 13/14
LB – 8/14
DB – 8/14
ST – 12/14
Coaching – 6/14

These rankings don’t speak to the sunny outlook that many fans are hoping (and maybe even expecting) for this season. Call me crazy, or unrealistic (I know you will) but, at the very least, these seem…disappointing?

My initial thought is that Steele’s standings reflect a lack of respect for UK Football generally and not any real analysis of this year’s team. As an analyst, it is much safer to underrate Kentucky than it is to overrate them – and for most of my life, that strategy has paid off. A few of these rankings indicate that Steele took this route. Our OL is not amongst the SEC’s worst and Benny Snell alone merits a top 25 national ranking for our RB unit. I would even argue that our quarterback situation is not the worst in the SEC. Gunnar Hoak will be a system QB and the ceiling with Touchdown Terry seems to be high. I know they are both unknown commodities but Steele’s is forecasting anyways.

With that said, despite all of the bright spots, Kentucky does have some looming question marks. Obviously, the most important being at quarterback. Our schedule is more difficult this year than last. We have won many games over the past few seasons on the leg of now graduated Austin MacGinnis.

Given those concerns, should we reconsider how we define a successful season? Would six wins and a bowl berth be enough? As it stands right now, I think many fans would be disappointed with that outcome. In any case, we know that the margin for error will be slim – the past two years have taught us that. A few points can, and probably will be, the difference between four wins and a true breakthrough season. Oddsmakers currently have our win total at six…give me the over.

Article written by Matt Wheatley

23 Comments for Are we expecting too much from Kentucky Football this year?



  1. Catcasey1
    2:03 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Never will as long as stoops is here



  2. deputy305
    2:04 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Yes no better than 4-8 or 5-7 team, FIRESTOOPSALLDAY!!!



    • sprtphan
      3:48 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah. And pick from that long line of coaches wanting this job. Dumbass.



  3. Booher
    2:20 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Y’all are crazy stoops is a solid coach and great recruiter



  4. Wade
    2:24 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Gotta won



  5. Bourbon Ginger
    2:28 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Honestly all I want is a bowl win and the losing streak to Florida to end, if either or both of those things happen I’d call it a successful season



  6. Cousins Fake Tooth
    3:09 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    We are on what, year 5 now? When is the expecting too much going to end?



  7. Headhurts
    3:21 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    One of the 2 QB’s must produce average or above or we in big trouble birdsong.



  8. BluKudzu
    3:28 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    If you expect anything better than what we have had thus far, you will be disappointed.
    This is the direction Mitch has chosen, so as a fan, you need to suck it up and go with it.
    We are as good as we will ever be, with a coach serving up an unqualified and inexperienced resume, getting “on the job training” in the SEC, much less trying to build a program to compete effectively in the SEC East.
    I do hope he gets it together. He seems to be a good person. But after 6-7 years, you get what you get.
    Hope for the best, Go Cats.



    • bradinmississippi
      4:35 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

      I’d like him to be able to out recruit Ole Miss while they are on probation and in the midst of a two year bowl ban



  9. Rick_S
    3:30 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    This is a 5 or 6 win team..Stoops is an okay recruiter (very good for UK) but can he coach at the SEC level



  10. kjd
    4:52 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not expecting anything more than last year.
    Stoops has improve his coaching. MUST reign in his temper.
    Defense had to be play sound football. We should be past trying to play the make the last minute read and call a defense and hope to be into it prior to the snap.
    Have to open up the offense. Quit sitting on small leads.
    But, Stoops will remain true to form and stubborn. Thus, same boring play and mediocre results.



  11. dismore
    5:00 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Until we get to 7-8 wins constantly don’t get your hopes up.



  12. CombatMedic_98
    5:45 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    BLUF: win ALL games…End all losing streaks…SEC Championship this year… the FOCUS!



  13. cats646
    5:56 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Stoops is the best coach we’ve had in recent history. He’s one of the best recruiters we’ve ever had. There is no one we could find that could do a better job than he has so far. All you whiners pipe down. We will be good this year! Go cats!!!!



    • My Dixie Wrecked
      7:41 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

      Cats646 is right! This is as good as it gets for Kentucky football. UK will never be a perennial contender in the SEC. Sure, a good coach may catch lightning in a bottle once a decade or so. That’s probably the limit. Kentucky’s home recruiting area is terrible. Therefore, they will always fight for scraps in other team’s backyards.



  14. kybigblue
    7:51 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    UK’s program had no where to go but up after Joker. Can Stoops keep the program moving in the right direction? QB is the big question mark but overall this looks like the most talented team UK has had under Stoops. During Stoops first 3 years of recruiting he was able to pull in some of the top recruits in Kentucky and outside the state with the talk of UK moving in the right direction. But recently some top recruits in Kentucky and other recruits have gone elsewhere because they only see UK slightly above .500 after several years under Stoops. This year to keep moving the program forward they need to do better than just 7 wins. Stoops has been near the bottom of the SEC in recruiting each year and the coaching in the UF game last year was not to SEC level. If Stoops doesn’t do better this year will UK continue to settle for a 6-6 or 7-5 record and a bowl game (approx. 60% of all teams in Div. ! go to a bowl game)..



    • My Dixie Wrecked
      10:52 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

      See my comments above in CATS646 comment. Kentucky has reached its potential. UK must recruit above its potential to get better. It cannot because Kentucky HS football is terrible. So UK has to try to steal scraps from other teams. Those scraps will never equal a whole meal, so just be happy with 6-6 or 7-5.



  15. jimmer
    8:51 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Experts like Phil Steele doubt UK bc they prove them right every year. Until otherwise they ain’t changing and I don’t blame them. The hype going in to most seasons lately is out of control. Only to have our best be 6 wins and lose bowl. I put my expectations with the non-homer media and experts. Safer that way.



  16. KyZoneBlitz
    11:21 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    If I may offer my own opinion, this is year 5/6 and in most cases, I would say that better results would be expected, but we are NOT most cases. If everyone forgot, before Stoops, Joker took us straight to the bottom of the league, after back to back 8-5 finishes and a loaded roster his 1st year as head coach. We went straight down to his final year at 2-10, capped off by a 40-0 beat down at home to VANDY…. VANDY. Stoops had to start from scratch basically. We had the talent level of a MAC school. Recruiting isn’t easy, and at Kentucky it’s even more difficult. Truth is, recruiting has been better than we’ve ever seen here. Yes, we’ve had some players, but overall classes, year after year, I don’t think there’s any comparison unless you go back to Bear Bryant days. Even with that, we are still 10th-11th-12th in conference while teams like UGA-UF-UT are top-10 yearly with 2-3 5-stars, sometimes more, and 10-15 4-stars. Did I mention this is YEARLY? So to stay even, or improve year after year, after starting with 0-3% talent worthy of playing in this conference, ZERO depth, no offensive or defensive line, and facilities comparable to a D2 school back in the 80s? Not to mention players like Barker, Elam, Timmons, Hatcher, guys heavily recruited that were supposed to lead this team up the ladder, not really living up to the hype for one reason or another tells me, that Stoops has done a tremendous job for what he’s had to overcome just to get here. Also losing guys to transfer, academics, early departure, it could be worse. Not to mention he’s a 1st-time head coach, so he is seeing most of this stuff for the first time, learning on the move, some things are understandable, others have been more puzzling, but being in most games for the past 3 seasons, with several tgat could’ve gone our way pushing us to 8-10 wins? I don’t know about anyone else, but I bleed blue, and I’m thankful Stoops is our coach, because it could he worse with coach- insert random name willing tot make the job here with no pull in any state or any even decent recruiters on staff, forget about an ACE like Marrow the big dog, and no, I don’t think we’ve reached our peak either.



  17. lexcatfan2367
    11:32 pm July 14, 2018 Permalink

    Honestly, it’s easier for me to just enjoy the football games for what they are: a nice social event. Expecting anything more from football isn’t fair to the players or to ourselves.



  18. Jiminy Crickets
    8:04 pm July 15, 2018 Permalink

    1. We’ve had one the worst defenses in the nation for 5 straight years, and were pumped about most of them coming back
    2. We have a QB that lost the BACKUP competition in Oregon, where he then transferred to juco to only average 55% completions and threw 11INTs
    3. We have mediocre skill position players except Snell, and he’s only “generational” to UK football standards.
    4. We have a coach that left Florida WRs uncovered TWICE in same game, both resulting in TDs and one being the game winner.
    5. We’ve lost 5 games to end the season 4 outta 5 years
    6. Our schedule is harder this year and the last 3

    Excuse us if we’re not ready to jump on the hype just yet