Three pre-season college football yearbooks endorse Kentucky's hiring of Mark Stoops but pick the Wildcats seventh in the SEC East.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – At least three of the primary college
football pre-season magazines have arrived, and the predictions for the
University of Kentucky are consistent. The Wildcats are picked to finish last
in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference by Athlon, The Sporting
News and Lindy's.
That's not surprising. But it's also not entirely a bad
thing. It puts coach Mark Stoops is prime position to create some buzz and stir
publicity by overachieving if the Wildcats can topple either Missouri or Tennessee,
two SEC opponents scheduled to play in Commonwealth Stadium.
Here is a rundown on what the three magazines are saying
SEC RANKING: Wildcats are predicted to finish seventh in the
SEC East, behind Missouri (6) and Tennessee (5). That's right. Vanderbilt is
the pick for fourth place. In fact, Vandy is ranked the 28th best
team in America. Vandy!
SEC HONORS: One UK player is ranked on the top two offensive
and defensive units – defensive end Bud Dupree, a second-teamer.
RECRUITING: Mark Stoops' first class is ranked 13th
in the league, ahead of Missouri.
Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher is ranked the top recruit in the
OVERALL RANKING: The Wildcats check in at No. 65, behind San
Diego State but ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette.
RATING THE NEW COACHES: Athlon ranked the 31 coaches hired
in FBS after last season. They ranked the Wildcats' hiring of Mark Stoops at
14, just behind Darrell Hazell (13) of Purdue but ahead of Mark Helfrich of
Oregon (17) and Paul Petrino of Idaho (26).
They give the hiring at B-plus, saying Stoops was as
deserving any coordinator in the nation to ascend to a head coaching position.
SEC RANKING: The Wildcats are picked seventh in the SEC
East, behind Missouri (6) and Tennessee (5). Another vote for Vandy to finish
SEC HONORS: TSN only picked an SEC first team and no UK
players were honored.
RANKING THE COACHES: TSN ranked only the 16 coaches hired by
BCS programs – and Mark Stoops ranked 13th, just behind Hazell. He
finished ahead of Steve Addazio of Boston College, Scott Shafer of Syracuse and
Cincinnati's hiring of Tommy Tuberville. Helfrich of Oregon led the list.
TSN's take on Stoops: "As we learned with Mike Stoops at
Arizona, there's no magic in this particular name."
RECRUITING: Kentucky's class is ranked 13th,
ahead of Missouri. Defensive end Za'Darius Smith is ranked ahead of Ryan
Timmons of Franklin County as the Wildcats' top recruit.
SEC RANKING: The Wildcats are picked seventh in the East,
behind Missouri (6), Tennessee (5) and Vanderbilt (4). Vandy is ranked 32nd
in the nation. VANDY!!!
NATIONAL RANKING: The Wildcats check in at 88th,
behind Illinois (87), but ahead of Western Kentucky (91).
EMERGING STAR: They go with Jalen Whitlow, naming him
Kentucky's quarterback over Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles because of
Whitlow's performance in the spring game.
RATING THE NEW COACHES: Lindy's doesn't grade every hire but
does try to analyze the new arrivals. Here is one thing they said about Mark
"Stoops did some impressive work on the recruiting trail,
but he still faces the toughest part of the job: winning in the SEC."
SEC HONORS: Lindy's picked the best players in the league
three deep at every position. These are the UK guys who made the lists:
linebacker Avery Williamson, second team and defensive end Bud Dupree third
RECRUITING: The UK class is ranked 13th in the
SEC, ahead of Missouri. Hatcher and Smith are ranked the top prospects with
cornerback Jaleel Hytchye identified as a sleeper.