Mark Stoops has slowly but surely built up Kentucky’s football program to a point where they have appeared in the AP Poll for 12 straight weeks.
After winning the Citrus Bowl against Penn State and finishing last year at #12, the Wildcats face a lot adversity heading into the season after losing key contributors including Josh Allen and Benny Snell Jr.
With both players arguably being Stoops’ best players on both sides of the ball, the AP voters are nowhere near as high on the Wildcats. The preseason AP Poll was released, and Kentucky did not make the top 25, which ended the eleventh-longest streak in the country.
If that wasn’t enough, the Wildcats did not even receive a single vote.
Can you say motivation?
That’s exactly how Stoops is looking at his team’s exclusion from the poll. At the 2019 Louisville Kickoff Luncheon, Kentucky’s typically reserved head coach recognized the AP voters for the inspiration they have now given his team.
“That’s fine. We ought to thank them, because I want our team to walk around with a giant chip on their shoulder all the time. If that gives us a reason to do that, then so be it.”
There’s no doubt that this team will face serious challenges this season. They have a lot of production to make up as a team and the schedule does have some really difficult games on the slate, both at home and on the road.
The chip on the shoulders of last year’s team, though, is exactly what gave them the edge to win 10 games. With this much doubt facing them to start the year, this is a special kind of motivation that this season’s Cats can hold onto, and play to prove wrong, all season long.