Despite losing three straight games at the end of last season, many Kentucky Wildcats fans think they may have turned a corner with Mark Stoops as head coach after two straight 7-6 seasons. Given those winning seasons and the continuity with Stoops returning, they have done enough to be right in the middle of our SEC Power Rankings.
Hey, they were .500 in the SEC last year. And their final three losses were to the Georgia Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals and Northwestern Wildcats. Georgia played for the national title, Louisville has Bobby Petrino, and that Northwestern loss was by one point, 24-23, after Kentucky scored a late touchdown and went for two and the win.
Speaking of those close losses, Kentucky easily could’ve been 10-3 last year. They should’ve beaten Northwestern and also lost by one to the Florida Gators. And they lost by three to the Ole Miss Rebels. We only have them ahead of Ole Miss because they actually finished with a winning record and have a bit more continuity in coaching.
Heading into this year, there remain numerous questions for this team. Also, how well they perform depends heavily on the way the rest of the SEC East shakes out. But they seem to be on solid ground as a program.
Kentucky’s opener against the Central Michigan Chippewas is a very good test. This is a team that went 8-5 last year in the MAC, so it’s a quality non-conference match-up against a Group of Five team. Should they win, they’ll have plenty to be excited about.