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Sports Illustrated is all in on Kentucky, but ESPN is not

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Someone thinks South Carolina, Florida AND Mississippi State should still be higher than Kentucky.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

As Kentucky football fans, we dream of Kentucky being ranked high and getting respected by media outlets.

Well, Sports Illustrated is high on the Wildcats after their impressive 4-0 (2-0 SEC) start to the season with two wins over top 25 opponents.

Andy Staples wrote and article on SportsIllustrated.com where he updated their top 10 rankings for college football, and Kentucky made the list. The Cats came in at number 10 in this week’s rankings.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

3. Georgia Bulldogs

4. Clemson Tigers

5. LSU Tigers

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. Stanford Cardinal

8. Oklahoma Sooners

9. West Virginia Mountaineers

10. Kentucky Wildcats

They had a lot of praise for the Wildcats and singled out the play of Benny Snell and Josh Allen.

“The Wildcats certainly looked for real on Saturday against a very talented Mississippi State team. Benny Snell carried 25 times for 165 yards and four touchdowns…Meanwhile, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was virtually unblockable. He had six tackles, including two for loss, and blew up Mississippi State plays all night”.

Staples also enjoyed the fact that Benny Snell had a message for the Mississippi State players that had some words to say leading up to the game and in the pregame warmups on the field as he mentioned Snell’s post on Twitter after the game.

While Kentucky did not enter the top 10 when the AP/Coaches Poll were released (they came in at No. 17 overall in both polls), it is nice to see some people giving credit to the way this team has played this season and understanding that they dominated a very talented team in Mississippi State, who is still in the top 25 of both major polls.

Florida is back on the cusp after Kentucky beat them in Gainesville just two weeks ago.

However, not everyone is buying into Kentucky, including ESPN’s Football Power Index. They actually have Kentucky ranked 35th, despite Saturday’s win over Mississippi State, who comes in at No. 16 in this ranking. Kentucky also has a win over No. 21 Florida and hosts No. 24 South Carolina this week.

It’s baffling how any thing that claims to be an advanced metric can have Kentucky ranked outside the top 25, but ESPN is no stranger to showing disrespect to Kentucky.

Just like the NFL’s new roughing the passer rule, this FPI system is broken. Any system that has those three SEC teams ahead of Kentucky is broken, plain and simple. I’m not sure what else they want to see from Kentucky outside of being Alabama. Maybe that would be enough to get the Wildcats in the top 25.

Regardless, the fans and this team deserve all the attention that they will receive this week and the weeks to come if they can continue their win streak over South Carolina next weekend. For what it’s worth, ESPN FPI has the Texas A&M Aggies at 13, so a win at College Station could do wonders...in theory.

Go Cats!