While many talking heads agree that the Kentucky Wildcats will be challenged in their opening football game against Southern Mississippi, the preseason CBS college football poll suggests that the visiting Golden Eagles should be a heavy favorite.
Ranking the top 128 teams instead of the traditional top 25, CBS sports writers have Southern Miss ranked No. 34 with the Wildcats coming in at No. 74.
Kentucky’s rank of 74 should not come as a surprise to anyone. After a disappointing 2015 season, with questions about Mark Stoops’ ability to develop the talent he has been able to successfully recruit, and considering the Wildcats are under the leadership of their third offensive coordinator in as many years, this team has a lot to prove.
An argument could even be made that Southern Miss should be ranked above Kentucky. The Golden Eagles did go to a bowl game last year. They are returning the majority of the offensive production that led them to a 2nd place finish in Conference USA.
However, to have the Golden Eagles so close to the top 25 seems to be jumping the shark a bit. With an entirely new coaching staff (including former Kentucky offensive coordinator, Shannon Dawson) and after finishing last season with an out of conference record of 2-4, Southern Miss is even ranked ahead of Western Kentucky (No. 39) who finished 12-2 last season with their only losses coming to Indiana and LSU.
Do you agree with the rankings gap between Southern Miss and Kentucky? Where would you rank these teams leading up to their match-up on September 3rd?