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Wildcats check in at No. 23 in College Football Playoff rankings

Kentucky finishes the regular season in the top 25 team for the second time in four years under Mark Stoops.

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The Kentucky Wildcats are back in the College Football Playoff rankings.

During Tuesday’s CFP ranking show, the Wildcats checked in at No. 23. They’re actually one spot behind No. 22 Arkansas, which could have an impact on which school is chosen for the prestigious Citrus Bowl when it’s time for selections to be made next Sunday.

Regardless, it’s a major accomplishment to finish the regular season in the CFP rankings. It’s appropriate this comes on the same day Mark Stoops agreed to a long-term extension to remain at UK for the foreseeable future.


As expected, the Kentucky Wildcats are now ranked in both of the major top 25 polls.

The latest Coaches Top 25 Poll has the Cats up three spots to No. 22, while the AP Top 25 Poll has them at No. 25.

As for the latest ESPN power rankings, Kentucky checked in at No. 23 with this assessment from Shea Carlson.

The Wildcats got written off nationally after three straight losses in the middle of the season but closed it out with three straight wins to finish 9-3. Saturday’s performance was an exclamation point to the campaign, as two-point underdog Kentucky downed rival Louisville 52-21 in a game that wasn’t even that close. Kentucky QB Will Levis had a career day with 113 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while the Wildcats racked up seven rushing scores. The victory means the Governor’s Cup is staying in Lexington for the third straight season.

AP Top 25 Poll

  1. Georgia (62 first-place votes)
  2. Michigan
  3. Cincinnati
  4. Alabama
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Ohio State
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Baylor
  10. Oregon
  11. Michigan State
  12. BYU
  13. Oklahoma
  14. Utah
  15. Iowa
  16. Houston
  17. Pitt
  18. Wake Forest
  19. San Diego State
  20. Louisiana
  21. NC State
  22. Clemson
  23. Arkansas
  24. Texas A&M
  25. Kentucky

Others receiving votes: Wisconsin 68, UTSA 58, Appalachian State 50, Minnesota 37, Purdue 21, Mississippi State 7, Penn State 5, Army 5, Fresno State 1

Coaches Top 25 Poll

Coaches Poll top 25 below.

  1. Georgia (62 first-place votes)
  2. Alabama
  3. Michigan
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Ohio State
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Baylor
  10. Oregon
  11. Oklahoma
  12. Iowa
  13. Michigan State
  14. BYU
  15. Pitt
  16. Houston
  17. Utah
  18. Wake Forest
  19. San Diego State
  20. NC State
  21. Louisiana
  22. Kentucky
  23. Texas A&M
  24. Clemson
  25. Arkansas

Others receiving votes: Wisconsin 100; UTSA 36; Appalachian State 30; Air Force 16; Minnesota 13; Purdue 11; Utah State 8; Coastal Carolina 8; Penn State 5; UCLA 3; Fresno State 3; Mississippi State 2.

Be sure to check back on Tuesday for the latest College Football Playoff Rankings!

The Kentucky Wildcats finish the 2021 regular season at 9-3 following a 52-21 win over the Louisville Cardinals. It was the first edition of the Governor’s Cup since 2019 after COVID-19 led to the series’ cancellation last season.

It’s pretty uncommon for an 8-4 SEC team to be unranked, but that was the case with Kentucky after being snubbed from the most recent College Football Playoff rankings and AP Top 25 Poll.

Of course, Kentucky did check in at No. 25 in the Coaches Poll, but that doesn’t get a number next to your name on the ESPN ticker. This time of the year, that CFP ranking is the only ranking worth significant relevance.

That said, Kentucky should now be in the top 25 of any and every ranking.

The critics will say Kentucky doesn’t have a win over a Power 5 program with a winning record.

The supporters will say Kentucky faced eight teams with bowl eligibility and went 5-3 against them.

Rank these Cats.

Where do you think they should be? Let us know in the comments section, and we’ll update this post with the latest rankings throughout the day.