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Preseason Coaches Poll released; Kentucky listed among the biggest snubs

Despite not making the top 25, Kentucky did get some respect.

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Helmet Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

The first college football top 25 poll of the 2023 season has been released in the form of the Coaches Poll.

While the Kentucky Wildcats did not make the cut, they were among the teams receiving votes. Kentucky earned the seventh-most votes of any team outside the top 25, effectively ranking them No. 32 overall heading into this season.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Georgia took the top spot, while Alabama (3), LSU (5), Tennessee (10), Ole Miss (22), and Texas A&M also made it into the top 25.

Kentucky being slighted did not go unnoticed by USA Today writer Paul Myerberg, who had the Wildcats among his biggest Coaches Poll snubs.

Last year’s team took a somewhat surprising step back to seven wins after rising as high as No. 8 in the Coaches Poll following a 4-0 start. The big issue? An offense that plummeted to last in the SEC in yards per play. Despite losing quarterback Will Levis to the NFL, Kentucky’s offense promises to be improved thanks to the return of former offensive coordinator Liam Coen. He ran the show in 2021, when the Wildcats went 10-3 and finished sixth in the league in averaging 6.4 yards per play. While nothing comes easy in the SEC, Kentucky is good enough to finish second to Georgia in the division.

On3’s Matt Zenitz also included Kentucky among his biggest snubs in the Coaches Poll.

Kentucky has won at least eight games in three of the last five seasons. This year could make it four of six. Even after losing QB Will Levis, the expectation around the program is that the Wildcats are better than last year’s team that finished 7-6, including on offense. In addition to landing ex-NC State QB Devin Leary, who some scouts regard as an early-round NFL draft prospect, Kentucky also upgraded at other spots through the portal like running back and the offensive line. It was a big deal, too, that the Wildcats got offensive coordinator Liam Coen back after a year as the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. Under Coen, Kentucky was fifth in the SEC in scoring offense in 2021. Without him, the Wildcats ranked last in 2022.

Good to see Kentucky is still getting some respect, despite not making this preseason poll.

College Football Coaches Top 25 Poll

  1. Georgia Bulldogs (61)
  2. Michigan Wolverines
  3. Alabama Crimson Tide (4)
  4. Ohio State Buckeyes (1)
  5. LSU Tigers
  6. USC Trojans
  7. Penn State Nittany Lions
  8. Florida State Seminoles
  9. Clemson Tigers
  10. Tennessee Volunteers
  11. Washington Huskies
  12. Texas Longhorns
  13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  14. Utah Utes
  15. Oregon Ducks
  16. TCU Horned Frogs
  17. Kansas State Wildcats
  18. Oregon State Beavers
  19. Oklahoma Sooners
  20. North Carolina Tar Heels
  21. Wisconsin Badgers
  22. Ole Miss Rebels
  23. Tulane Green Wave
  24. Texas Tech Red Raiders
  25. Texas A&M Aggies

Others Receiving Votes: Iowa 169; South Carolina 89; Florida 63; Texas-San Antonio 59; Pittsburgh 52; UCLA 42; Kentucky 34; Baylor 28; Troy 25; Arkansas 20; NC State 19; Fresno State 19; Boise State 18; Auburn 18; Minnesota 16; Miami 16; Mississippi State 13; Oklahoma State 12; Missouri 11; Maryland 10; Southern Methodist 8; South Alabama 8; Illinois 7; Wake Forest 6; Air Force 6; Toledo 5; Washington State 4; Houston 3; Duke 2; Brigham Young 2; Arizona 2; Memphis 1; Kansas 1; James Madison 1.