As basketball news seems down to a trickle, it's time to look ahead to football season, and at where the Gridiron Felines figure to shake out in the SEC East. My intention is to make this part of an ongoing series, starting from the 50,000 foot view and drilling down to individual players.
There has been a lot of talk, and some pretty good analysis done on the SEC lately. We here at ASoB intend to join the party, and see if we are prescient enough to read the tea leaves for ourselves. As usual, I will disclaim my football analysis skills by warning you, dear reader, that I am a basketball guy. I am a casual football fan at best, and if that shows through, well, you have been warned.
Football, unlike basketball, has relatively few games, so the accuracy of any prognostication generally comes down to one or two games. Last year, most pundits figured the 'Cats to show up with 5 or 6 wins. That turned out to be a little low.
So let's take a look first at the past, and where we were last year compared to this year.
What a difference a year makes
Last year about this time, the big topic around Wildcat land was whether we should fire Rich Brooks now, or wait until the end of the season. As Kyle King of Dawg Sports put it in a Q & A exchange with JL, "Do you think the Kentucky A.D. believes Coach Brooks is on the verge of making the Wildcats competitive again or is he just keeping the chair warm until a better option becomes available?"
The money quote from JL's answer went like this:
You have to admit, JL's answer was excellent, and suggested that Barnhart wasn't nearly as tone-deaf as many UK football watchers assumed. Of course, talk of "Brooks is Barnhart's buddy" was everywhere, but in hindsight, quite simply, Barnhart was right and Brooks' detractors were wrong. The 'Cats went 8-5 and won the Music City Bowl.
Kyle King (I'm picking on ol' Kyle today) had this to say in a Q & A exchange with Swamp Ball:
How'd that work out for ya, Kyle?
David Fox of Rivals.com ranks the Kentucky Wildcats 38th in the land. Now, 38th is not exactly a team considered to contend for a BCS bowl bid, but it is light years away from 3-8 or 2-9. Many light years.
It turned out that even this cautiously optimistic assessment by Sports Illustrated wasn't optimistic enough:
Will the ranking of 38th by Rivals be this year's SI.com?
Jon at Fulmer's Belly was shocked -- shocked! to find Kentucky in second place in the SEC East. So shocked, in fact, that he had to write it down more than one time:
Unfortunately, history will record that Tennessee held on to continue that streak, which hopefully will end at 22 this year.
Fulmer's Belly has begun to recognize that Kentucky is no longer a slightly more distant version of Vanderbilt:
It remains to be seen if the "playahs" in the SEC east will take Kentucky seriously this year, if what we are seeing is merely rhetoric designed to ward off the overconfidence bug, or if Kentucky is actually worth taking seriously.
Make no mistake, the Gridiron Felines have been pussycats to this league for a long time, and one good season will not undo years of abject suckage. So if we see some scoffers out there about Kentucky's chances this fall, just remember -- we got that derision the old-fashioned way -- we earned it.
Now, let's earn some respect.
More NCAA backtracking on live blogging games. Sue, C-J, sue.