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Expect a lot of darkhorse talk for Kentucky Wildcats football

Usually, the mention of Kentucky Wildcats football is absent from the preseason SEC hype and accolades. It’s going to be a different year this time around.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next month or so, we are going to see the college football preseason hype machine whir to life and a lot of predictions start to hit the internet. One of the biggest differences for this off-season will be that the Kentucky Wildcats are actually part of the preseason hype for once, rather than the annual "can they finish above Vanderbilt?" storyline.

The hype is already starting.

Expect to see "darkhorse" mentioned a lot this year. For good reason.

While I would not term last year a "breakthrough season" for Kentucky Wildcats football, it got the ball rolling and these Wildcats have a very favorable season schedule ahead.

For starters, they avoid teams named Alabama, LSU, and Auburn in the SEC West part of the schedule. Instead, Kentucky will play the two Mississippi teams. Plus, Kentucky has three of their biggest games (Florida, Tennessee, and Louisville) in the friendly confines of Kroger Field, where they have yet to be defeated. Trust me, If the Cats beat Florida and the Vols at "The Kroge," you guys will be celebrating the name.

The media is starting to catch the Wildcat buzz as well, In a recent listing of the "10 SEC Football Games to look forward to in 2017", the Cats were actually listed in the rarefied air of a must-see SEC game.

7. Florida at Kentucky (Saturday, Sept. 23) – If the streak – the Gators have won 30 straight in the series – is ever going to end, this could be Kentucky’s best shot. Mark Stoops returns a talented team led by running back Benny Snell Jr. and the Wildcats now have their eyes on a trip to Atlanta. If Florida is unable to find an effective quarterback before this game, Kentucky fans might be partying like it is 1986.

As an extra bonus, the November 18 game at Georgia was mentioned in the 'honorable mention" section and that game was touted as the possible SEC East title game.

The hype is real for Mark Stoops and his Kentucky Wildcats. It's going to be a fun summer to watch the hype build.