It seems like every year under Mike Stoops, Kentucky football is billed to be the surprise of the Southeastern Conference. They’re always supposed to have a lot of firepower on offense and Stoops is always “improving their defense.” The bad thing for their fans (or at least the teasing part) is, the Wildcats always start out well, but flounder at the end of the season.
So, is this year the year? According to Las Vegas, it’s not. Kentucky has 300/1 odds to win the SEC. They’re tied for third-to-last odds with Arkansas, only in front of Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, which isn’t eligible. Think that’s a good thing for Kentucky? Doubtful.
Kentucky returns star running back Benny Snell, who ran for 1,333 and 19 touchdowns last year. The huge question is at the quarterback position. They’ll look to JUCO transfer Terry Wilson, who is the No. 3 dual-threat JUCO quarterback in rankings by 247Sports.
The Wildcats return ten starters on defense, while losing second-leading tackler Courtney Love. Obviously, their defense should be improved and needs to be based on assets they have at quarterback and wide receiver. So, how do they get over the hump?
It’s not an easy answer, because they haven’t gotten over the hump with Tennessee and Florida, both down by their respective standards. Even though Florida won the East in the recent past, they’ve still struggled. Kentucky clearly has not taken advantage of this.
The Wildcats finished 30th in recruiting last year and 26th in 2017, which isn’t going to cut it when it comes to winning the SEC. While Kentucky isn’t a hotbed of recruiting, they have to go into Ohio and south of Tennessee to get top recruits. As big as their basketball program is, they should be recruiting better.
The Wildcats ponied up the money for John Calipari and got a National Championship out of it. They’re also nationally relevant every year in basketball. It’s time for Stoops’ seat to get very, very hot. He’s hasn’t won more than seven games in his five seasons at Kentucky and it doesn’t look like they’ll improve that number this year. It’s time for Kentucky brass to quit giving Stoops a pass because they’re a “basketball school.” Have they watched Duke lately?
The Wildcats need to bring in someone who wins. They need to bring in someone who’s going to shake things up in the recruiting trail. They need to bring in someone like Lane Kiffin of Florida Atlantic University. That’s when Kentucky will get over the hump and be in contention to win the SEC.