BOZICH | Beating Florida, Kentucky won't finish sixth in the SEC - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Beating Florida, Kentucky won't finish sixth in the SEC East

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Southeastern Conference officially put an exclamation mark on its football media days Friday with the announcement of its all-Alabama and Auburn teams.

If you’re Mark Stoops you show your determined squad that the folks covering the mighty league do not believe the University of Kentucky has one player deserving of first- or second-team All-SEC recognition.

Somebody cue a Josh Forrest video.

Consider it another reminder that four days of bumper-to-bumper blabbering in Birmingham can quickly be reduced to four items in Louisville:

1. Alabama and Auburn control the message in the SEC.

Bama has eight first- or second-teamers while Auburn has five. Alabama is picked to win the West while Auburn is apparently so spectacularly talented that the Tigers are predicted to achieve the impossible: Win the SEC title while finishing second in the West.

2. Butch Jones has convinced everybody that Tennessee will make a major move in the East Division.Without any first- or second-team selections on offense, the Vols (12-13 the last two seasons) are picked to finish second to Georgia, even though Tennessee plays Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri on the road.

3. Missouri will always be treated like a panhandler from the Big 12.Two years ago the Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the East. They won the division. Last year Mizzou was picked to finish fourth. They returned to the championship game.

Maty Mauk returns to play quarterback for coach Gary Pinkel. Missouri is always solid on defense. Big deal. The Tigers are predicted to finish third.

4. If Missouri can’t stir any sustained love, what do you think the wise guys expect from Kentucky?

Not much.

A sixth-place finish, ahead of (who else?) sagging Vanderbilt.

No UK offense players are considered among the top three at his position in the league. One third-team defensive player, safety A. J. Stamps, and one third-team special teams guy, kicker Austin MacGinnis.

I don’t expect Kentucky to finish sixth. I think Steve Spurrier is losing his mojo at South Carolina. I think people voted Florida fifth because most voters don’t have the nerve to look at the gaps in the Gators’ roster and say this could be a sixth-place team.

So I’ll say it: Kentucky will not finish sixth in the SEC East. The Wildcats will win three league games.

They’ll beat Vanderbilt.

They’ll beat Mississippi State.

And they’ll beat Florida.

I’d give Kentucky a victory over South Carolina, too, if the teams were booked for Lexington instead of Columbia. I’ll also listen to arguments that the Missouri and Tennessee games will certainly be in play because they’ll unfold at Commonwealth Stadium.

Only Auburn and Georgia appear out of bounds for optimism.

A victory at Vanderbilt demands little explanation. Kentucky handled the Commodores last season, and Vandy has squandered the momentum created by James Franklin.

The Wildcats put more than 500 yards as well as 31 points on Mississippi State last season, trailing by a touchdown with less than three minutes to play. The Bulldogs lost 15 starters from that team and are a fashionable pick to finish last in the West. It’s not a lock, but it’s not mission impossible.

Then there are the Gators. The team the Wildcats have not beaten since Mike Tyson was the heavyweight champion.

Florida made a coaching change. Florida has only won 11 games the last two seasons. Florida has gaps in its offensive line. Florida has competition at quarterback as the Gators adjust to a different system. Florida has other uncertainties.

And Florida will be playing its first road game in Lexington.

Kentucky has a veteran quarterback and improving running game. Mark Stoops is a defensive guy who has collected more of the speed and strength the UK defense needs.

The Wildcats are also convinced they can beat the Gators because they had them beaten in Gainesville last September.

Kentucky will beat Florida in Commonwealth Stadium Sept. 19 – and the Wildcats will not finish sixth in the SEC East.

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