“Are we allowed to call Kentucky a football school now?”

That’s the question Pete Fiutak poses in his Kentucky preview.  Sure, it’s a little tongue in cheek, but what he’s really getting at is the consistency the program has shown over the past few seasons under Stoops.  And that can’t be denied.  Last season, the ‘Cats won ten games and finished second in the SEC East.

They did that, despite finishing middle of the pack in the conference in net ypp and dead last in turnover margin.  To me, that’s the sign of a coach who knows what he’s doing.

Fiutak projects them to fall back a little this year, to eight wins, based on some of their personnel losses and a tougher schedule.  While I can’t deny the latter, I wonder a little about how serious those player losses are, particularly on the o-line, because here’s Bill Connelly’s latest version of returning production:

Somebody’s done some good work in the transfer portal, methinks.  Between that and a likely case of regression to the mean on the turnover margin front, is eight wins selling this UK team a little short?

By the way, Stoops did some pretty good work on the recruiting front this year, finishing fifth in the SEC.  There are ten four-star recruits in their ’22 class.  Fiutak’s “this year’s team might go from good to something fantastic if some of those new guys rock and roll in fall camp” might be worth keeping in mind when Georgia travels to Lexington last in the season.

19 Comments

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19 responses to ““Are we allowed to call Kentucky a football school now?”

  1. How many of those guys would make the Georgia 2-deep? It’s like when we play Kentucky in basketball. Every bounce has to go our way, and we have to play beyond our capability to beat the cats on the court. It works the exact same way on the field. It took 4 turnovers including one on the goal line late for Kentucky to win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • godawgs1701

      We’ve had our share of good fortune when we have played the Wildcats that has led to some lopsided scores when the gameplay didn’t necessarily feel that way. Kentucky has gotten just about everyone else in the division and they’ve caused some headaches for teams on the other side of it. They’re a good program. You can make the “how many of those guys would make the Georgia 2-deep” argument about every single team UGA plays except for Alabama these days, but it doesn’t equal a guaranteed win. UK, I wouldn’t poke that bear.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They have to play perfectly and get every bounce to go their way to beat us. They are a good program compared to where they have been, but there’s a reason Kentucky has never come close to an SEC championship game. They do not have the quality of depth to compete throughout the season at the highest level.

        There is a reason the football series is as lopsided as it is just as there’s a reason the basketball series is as lopsided as it is … it isn’t good fortune.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Biggen

        No, it’s not a guaranteed win but I’m not sure poking the bear is a bad thing either. We haven’t lost to UK since 2009. Stoops wasn’t even the HC yet during that lost.

        We have lost to literally everyone in the East once since 2009 except UK.

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  2. Ran A

    Yep. Some have fallen in love with Kentucky this year. The QB looks to be one of the better in the league. Kentucky’s problem? He doesn’t have anybody to throw it too and now there 5th year Senior RB may not be back. (Kid from the state of Georgia).

    https://www.si.com/fannation/college/cfb-hq/ncaa-football/kentucky-football-chris-rodriguez-2022-season-in-question

    I think Kentucky will be solid again. Have a real interesting game on September 10th. They have a 7PM Game (helps them) at Florida. This could tell us a LOT about both of these programs early. Florida gets Utau at 7PM the week before and then in comes the Wildcats.

    Last thought; the longer the season goes, the less you want to do with Georgia. As that defense comes around, they are going to be tougher and tougher to score against; while we can expect that already potent offense to get better and better.

    In short, they are playing for 2nd. They are not beating Georgia in November.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TEXBaller

      +1
      It’s KY & TENN for 2nd. Slight edge to Vols. And thanks for C Rodriguez info. Was not aware.

      Liked by 1 person

    • rigger92

      Yeah, it’s likely that our game up there in Nov clinches the East division winner, if so, Kirby ain’t dropping that game.

      But there’s a lot of ball to be played between now and then.

      I think they still trend up for recruiting. Stable staff, good solid team, plays other good teams, nice college experience. If I were a recruit that wouldn’t make it at Georgia or AL I would be attracted to that program.

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  3. biggusrickus

    Yes, Stoops deserves credit. However, looking at their schedule, they could lose any of their conference games except Vandy. If they manage to win at Florida, ten wins is on the table. If not, then eight is about right.

    Like

  4. Bulldawg Bill

    Who cares whether or not they suck?! We just need to be great as usual. Nothing new here. ‘Yawwwwn!!’

    Like

  5. timberridgedawg

    As a side note, it appears Metchie and Williams are still out at Bama and Georgia Tech smoothly slides into the 118th slot with 49% returning to build on another stellar 3 win season.

    Like

  6. Texas Dawg

    The outcome of Chris Rodriguz’s legal issues will play a huge role in the outcome of the Wildcats season.

    Like

  7. godawgs1701

    I’m old enough to remember when the UK faithful were ready to ship Stoops out after Year 3. Bet they’re glad they didn’t. He’s taken UK to the top of where they can realistically expect to be – a 10 win team every few years and sneaky good enough to be competitive.

    Like

  8. unionjackgin

    I love Stoops. I think he is a really good coach and he has the perfect job at Kentucky for him.

    He is going to win enough games year in and year out that the fanbase will give him support and allow him to play his style of ball. Plus he straddles some deep recruiting footprints that he can draw good players who aren’t going to UGA, Bama, OSU, LSU, UF etc.

    Besides CKS and Saban, who in the league has consistently been a better coach historically? Something might give though if Heupel and Napier are the real deal as coaches. If so, then I think Stoops will move on to a different POWER 5 conference and probably end up in the playoff.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. wfdawg

    Here’s the thing: all the “program on the rise” narratives at UK, UT, UF, and USC can’t be simultaneously true. They’ll likely cannabilize one another to an extent, and somebody is likely to finish 2022 with considerably less optimism to sell.

    Like

  10. Russ

    UK is a solid team. They got a few lucky wins last season (Florida being one of them) so that could change this year. I’d say 8-9 wins is most likely for regular season.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. archiecreek

    Chickenshit coach
    Chickenshit program
    I hope Kirby goes for 2 with 4 seconds left to go up 50-0.
    When asked “Why?”, Kirby can truthfully answer like the chickenshit coach did last year….
    “I’m trying to teach my guys not quit, not to lay down, to play to the final whistle.”

    Like