Previewing Kentucky: Is Bourbon-base recruiting really working? Can Kentucky win an SEC Game?
Back in June I proposed a three-step plan for fixing Kentucky football. Bourbon was involved (in the plan and possibly in the writing of the article).
If I bought into recruiting class rankings six months prior to signing day (which I don’t), then I’d think Kentucky had embraced the plan I laid out. That would be the only logical explanation for Kentucky having the nation’s fourth best 2014 recruiting class per Rivals.com. (Again, I don’t buy class rankings this early. Kentucky is celebrating 7 commitments that are four-star players. At best five of those players will end up in Lexington. The rest of their way-too-early prop-up is based on volume – 14 three-star players. News flash: everybody will sign more players and more elite talent will go elsewhere.)
But if there was any merit in this early class ranking it would be a byproduct of a reduced drinking age in the state of Kentucky and the use of bourbon on official visits, because new head coach Mark Stoops isn’t the kind of coach who brings in a top-10 class in Lexington, at least not in year one.
Mark Stoops is a first-time head coach with an impressive pedigree (his dad is a high school coach, his brother is Oklahoma’s anti-SEC HC Bob Stoops, his other brother is Mike Stoops – DC at Oklahoma) and a logical coaching progression:
- Grad Assistant at Iowa: 1989-1991
- High School Coach: 1992-1995
- South Florida, DBs: 1996
- Wyoming, DBs: 1997-1999
- Houston, Co-DC: 2000
- Miami, DBs: 2001-2003
- Arizona, DC/DBs: 2004-2009
- Florida State, DC/DBs: 2010-2012
Unlike Hugh Freeze, there aren’t any crazy red flags regarding his coaching tenure. But he’s still a first-time head coach and he’s still at Kentucky.
There’s a lot here. A whole, whole lot of bad.
- Kentucky was 2-10 overall last year with wins over Kent State and FCS Samford.
- Kentucky was 0-8 in SEC Play.
- Kentucky allowed 30+ points eight times last year.
- Kentucky scored 20+ points just four times last year.
- In SEC play, Kentucky surrendered an average of 36.4 points per game.
- In SEC play, Kentucky scored an average of 11.1 points per game.
- There’s not a lot of talent. Kentucky pulled the 29th best recruiting class in the country this year, but those guys are freshman. 2nd year players were part of the nation’s 62nd best class, third year players are part of the nation’s 61st best class, fourth year players are part of the nation’s 50th best class and fifth-year seniors were part of the nation’s 41st best class.
- Two of Kentucky’s three leading receivers are gone.
- Kentucky’s two most experienced offensive linemen are gone.
- Both starting defensive ends are gone.
- Kentucky’s two best defensive backs are gone.
- Kentucky has to play Louisville (as usual) and Louisville is pretty good.
- From the SEC West, Kentucky has to play Alabama and Mississippi State (in Starkville).
- Every team in the SEC East will likely be better than Kentucky.
- Kentucky returns three sophomore QBs who played last year.
- Most importantly, Max Smith (who was hurt after three weeks and still passed for more yards than any of the other QBs) will be back.
- Kentucky’s two-leading rushers are back.
- Kentucky returns both starting DTs.
- Kentucky returns all of their linebackers.
- Kentucky gets several weaker opponents (Western Kentucky, Miami Ohio, Alabama State, Missouri, Tennessee) at home.
Kentucky should be better this year. And, I think the Wildcats get their five easiest opponents at home. Realistically, Alabama State, Western Kentucky and Miami Ohio could be wins. Can Kentucky steal one against Missouri or Tennessee? Only if Missouri is as banged up as last year.
I asked DudeYouCrazy Contributors when Kentucky would get their first win, and here are the responses:
Mike Lynch – Week two against Miami Ohio.
Cody Trimble – Week one against Western Kentucky.
Jennifer Rohner – Week one against Western Kentucky.
Chad Floyd – Week two against Miami Ohio.
So, cheer up Kentucky fans. We think you’ll be at least 1-1 after week two!
That’s all I got/
FOR THE REST OF THE COMPREHENSIVE 2013 SEASON PREVIEW GO HERE.