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Monday Headlines: SP+ Rankings Edition

It’s nine spots higher than their preseason AP Poll rank of No. 20.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The preseason hype just keeps coming for the Kentucky Wildcats football team. Head coach Mark Stoops and his team were ranked in the preseason top 20 last week by the Associated Press.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Bill Connelly released his final SP+ projections for the college football preseason. He had Kentucky just outside the top 10 at No. 11 (nine spots higher than their rank of No. 20 by the AP) with five Southeastern Conference opponents ranked ahead of the Wildcats.

Connelly’s breakdown of SP+ is as follows.

SP+ is a tempo - and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a résumé ranking, and, along those same lines, these projections aren’t intended to be a guess at what the AP Top 25 will look like at the end of the year. These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date.

Ahead of Kentucky were Alabama (1), Georgia (2), Texas A&M (8), Ole Miss (9) and Tennessee (10). Connelly had Kentucky winning 8.1 games this season, which was more than Tennessee (8) and Texas A&M (8). He also had the Wildcats winning 4.6 conference games, which is also more than Tennessee (4.5) and Texas A&M (4.5) plus Ole Miss (4.5).

His expectations of Kentucky line up with what most fans have in mind, which is an 8, 9 or 10-win season including the Wildcats’ bowl game. The expected suspension of star running back Chris Rodriguez doesn’t bring any optimism for the hard rushing attack Kentucky consistently brings each game.

However, Stoops is notorious for having all of his players prepared and a “next man up” mentality should get the job done for the first month or so.

Every SEC school except Vanderbilt was ranked in the top-50. The Commodores were ranked 108th. Youngstown State was the only opponent Kentucky will face this season that wasn’t on the list. To read Connelly’s full projections, click here.

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