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Kentucky cracks top 25 in 247 Sports’ power rankings

With several conferences sitting out, this is all relative.

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Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

With every day that comes and goes, the hope of a college football season gets stronger. And if it becomes a reality, the Kentucky Wildcats are going to have a tall task on their hands with a full, 10 game SEC schedule.

However, some outlets believe Kentucky has what it takes to upset some perennial conference powers. In fact, 247 Sports has Kentucky ranked as the No. 22 team in their newly released power rankings.

The criteria for the power rankings is clear, and will come as a shock to some as they have chosen to leave out all conferences that have postponed/canceled their seasons.

These power rankings represent a blend of the preseason picks issued, as of Aug. 24, by 247Sports, CBS Sports, the Associated Press, USA Today’s Amway Coaches Poll and ESPN’s College Football Power Index.

Like the 247Sports and CBS Sports rankings, we only rank schools that are planning to play football in the fall. Since we first published the power rankings on June 22, 63 of the FBS’s 130 schools have canceled fall action due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of the cancellations by the likes of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences, 15 schools, including Ohio State, Michigan and USC, have lost their power-rankings spots.

Our list, originally a Top 40 rundown, has been trimmed a Top 25. This better aligns the rankings with 247Sports’ and the AP’s. The trimmed-down list also acknowledges that, as of this update, FBS football is down to only 67 active programs total.

The SEC makes up six of the top 10 teams in the power rankings, four of which are on Kentucky’s schedule: the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs, the No. 6 Florida Gators, and the No. 8 Auburn Tigers. Even with potentially his most talented squad ever in Lexington, that is quite a schedule for Marks Stoops and his team.

This is what Joal Ryan of 247 Sports had to say about the Wildcats, who came in at No. 40 before the criteria for the rankings was narrowed:

“With an upset Belk Bowl victory over Virginia Tech, the Wildcats outdid modest expectations last year. Thanks to the likes of Kavosiey Smoke, they head into the new season with a solid run game.”

Considering the amount of talent on Kentucky’s offensive line and in the running back room, a “solid run game” is an understatement. But it seems that many college football “experts” are completely ignoring the return of Terry Wilson and what he can bring to the offense. That is not even to mention the fact that the returning defense could be in the top tier of SEC defenses.

So Kentucky continues to be given reasons to play with a chip on their shoulder? Yes, please.