clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kentucky Wildcats Football: USA Today not high on the Cats

New, comments

New projections have Kentucky going 5-7.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently winning seven games and returning 17 starters (8 on offense, 9 on defense), while also bringing in a top 30 recruiting class means that a team will regress.

USA Today recently released their Win-Loss projections for all 130 FBS football programs today. They projected a 5-7 record for the Kentucky Wildcats.

That places Kentucky in a tie for last place in the SEC East with Vanderbilt, a year after tying for second in the division.

Granted, the SEC East was down last year and most experts project the division to be better this year, but Kentucky should be among those teams that improve.

In addition to expected talent development, Kentucky’s schedule sets up pretty favorably. They start off on the road at Southern Miss, which is not an ideal season opener, but you can be assured Mark Stoops, the coaching staff, and players will not be taking that game lightly with what happened last year.

From there, Kentucky gets a home game against Eastern Kentucky University, before going back on the road for what could be a crucial showdown in Columbia against South Carolina. If Kentucky wants to continue on an upward trajectory, they have to prove the ability to consistently defeat division foes like South Carolina.

Then Kentucky gets three consecutive home games against Florida, Eastern Michigan, and Missouri, followed by a road contest at Mississippi State.

But Kentucky gets Tennessee and an Ole Miss program in disarray at home before finishing out the season with games at Vanderbilt, at Georgia and a home game against Louisville.

Looking at that schedule, I think Kentucky should be able to at least get six wins, but I think seven is the more likely mark.

Breaking it down into three-game stretches, here is what I see.

Southern Miss, EKU, South Carolina— 3-0

Florida, EMU, Missouri— 2-1

Miss. St, Tennessee, Ole Miss— 1-2

Vandy, UGA, Louisville— 1-2

That places Kentucky 7-5 going into a bowl game, which would be another solid season for the Wildcats.

If Kentucky were to instead go 5-7, as this projection states, it would be a fairly massive disappointment for the team, coaches, and the fanbase after a hyped offseason in which the program saw major recruiting success. Kentucky needs another winning season and a bowl appearance to continue that recruiting success and give players confidence to buy in to the program.