clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2018 Wildcats one of the biggest surprise SEC teams of CFP era

The 2018 Wildcats defied all expectations.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Kentucky Football team experienced success the school hadn’t achieved in a very long time or, in some ways, in the program’s history.

With all their accomplishments, the team has made Saturday Down South’s list of the “10 SEC Teams Who Rose Highest Above Preseason Expectations During The Playoff Era”.

“Five. That’s how many wins I thought Kentucky would have in 2018. The Wildcats were predicted to finish fifth in the SEC West and ultimately come up short of a winning record in conference play for the 41st consecutive season,” said Connor O’Gara.

Kentucky negated all three as they doubled O’Gara’s win total prediction with 10 and finished second in the SEC East with a winning conference record at 5-3.

There’s no arguing how historic this season was. During the season, they had historic wins wins against Florida, to end a 31-game losing streak to the Gators, and Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. Although they didn’t win the SEC East, they also hosted the game that decided the division title against Georgia as well.

The season also included multiple personal accolades after the seasons end. RB Benny Snell Jr. was voted First Team All-SEC after breaking the school’s all time rushing record. LB Josh Allen won SEC Defensive Player Of The Year after totaling 88 tackles, 17 sacks and 5 forced fumbles with 2 recoveries.

Finally, Head Coach Mark Stoops was named SEC Coach Of The Year after leading the program to it’s best season in 40 years. If that isn’t enough, five UK players were selected in the 2019 NFL Draft as well.

It’s fair to say that Kentucky football has certainly had their down years, but not this time. It’s perfectly said that UK overachieved from the outside looking in, but those on the inside believed in and knew this could happen.

“Even though internally, Kentucky believed it would be good, it overcame some mammoth historic doubt to have the program’s best season in 4 decades,” said O’Gara.

After losing a lot of talent to from last year’s team, expectations likely still won’t be high for UK’s 2019 squad either, if not even lower to some. If 2018’s team proved anything, though, it’s that those expectations don’t matter once the season starts.

Teams set their own expectations and decide their own destiny, not the media.