Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Kentucky Wildcats
Is this just sort of … it?
Of course Kentucky fans want a great football program, and of course basketball is always going to take center stage, so is fighting tooth and nail just to get bowl eligible really all there is?
It’s a program that owns one outright SEC Championship – and it took having Bear Bryant as the head man in 1950 to do it – and made some noise in the mid-1970s as it shared one title and, except for an NCAA probation thing, won another.
But since going 10-1 in 1977, Kentucky has had 11 winning seasons, 26 losing ones, and had three .500 campaigns. Worse yet, it’s not like the program has been a threat.
There were some fun offenses under the weird, wacky and wild Hal Mumme era of the late 1990s, Guy Morriss had one decent year and bolted for a miserable Baylor program, and Rich Brooks put together a run of 30 wins in four years, but UK hasn’t won more than eight games since 2007.
Now in Year Six under Mark Stoops, Kentucky might have its best team in a long, long time.
At least, it’s going to have one of its more experienced squads.
Here’s the good part. The Cats welcome back 18 starters, the losses aren’t terribly significant, and there’s as much decent depth and as many good young players as Stoops has had.
The team has a star in RB Benny Snell working behind a solid, veteran line, and the defense that needs to be more disruptive at least comes back experienced.
Here’s the problem: the SEC East isn’t going to be a disaster again.
Florida and Tennessee are going to be better, Georgia is a killer, South Carolina is great, and the Missouri game is in Columbia. Outside of Vanderbilt – maybe – there just aren’t any layups.
The talent isn’t quite there to expect a whole slew of upsets, so experience, coaching, and a little bit of good fortune and early positive momentum would do wonders.
No, working way too hard for seven wins doesn’t have to be it for UK. The program has been built up now under Stoops, and this is when the payoff has to come – or at least start.