My co-blogger Keith wrote a thoughtful post recently predicting the upcoming Kentucky football campaign would be a smashing success. He points out that his prediction of a 7-5 record contradicts Vegas' own predictions, but he points to historical data showing the future production of individual players is set to increase. Keith also discussed immeasurable factors like player development and coaching that in all likelihood are making a difference. He may admit to seeing things through blue tinted glasses now and again, but parts of his argument are grounded in cold, hard data. He's right that the team should be better in all three phases of the game this season, especially offensively. Sadly, I don't find myself agreeing with him.
Hello, my name is Will, and I'm a cynic...
I take no pleasure in that either, fellow BBN faithful. As crazy as it is to say, I would love nothing better than to spend hard earned vacation time on a mini-December vacation to Shreveport, LA for the Sandals Luxury Spa & Resort Bowl (may or may not be a real bowl). It's terrible to approach my only team's season with an acceptance of defeat before there's even been a game. Life on this side of the tracks is no fun.
I'm cynical this season largely because of timing. Various programs in the SEC are in a state of flux, and I can't shake the feeling that UK is not poised to take advantage of them when they were at their weakest. For example, last season feels like the time for this year's UK team to time travel and pick off one or two of Florida, Mississippi State and Tennessee. UK will be better this season, no doubt, but all three of those teams will be improved and probably have higher ceilings than UK this season. Meanwhile, it feels like another season until UofL will become vulnerable to UK again.
This season Vanderbilt appears vulnerable, but that team will still be comprised of James Franklin recruited players, and it's new head coach and defensive staff have an impressive pedigree. The other team that will be down this season compared to last will be Missouri, but I'm not sure if I can pull the trigger on that upset. Mizzou will still have talent and it's a road game. These players have yet to prove they can win tough road games. Overall, my lingering concerns about the run defense will continue until I can see the team in action.
I'm also cynical because Stoops is still in the process of flipping a roster. It takes longer to rebuild football programs than it would with other sports. Kentucky will certainly be better this year, but could still sport an unimpressive record given the competition. I'm still undecided on what UK's win total will be, and I'm going to let my thoughts marinate for another few weeks. Hopefully I find myself on the optimistic side of town, because I'm getting tired of the doom and gloom on this side.