With March Madness coming on in full swing and the season as a whole beginning to wind down, there is something upon us that never fails to provide optimism and hope to Kentucky fans. That is the season of fall and the mystical game of football. A game where “this is the year” and “we’re finally going to break into the top tier of the SEC” rings throughout the Big Blue Nation. Under Rich Brooks, that hype reached an all time high with a couple eight win season. Then, the downfall of the program came when Joker Phillips just didn’t have what it takes to make it as a head coach in the SEC. With Mark Stoops, however, the renewal of hope fell upon Lexington, KY.
With back-to-back “best recruiting classes ever” for the Kentucky Wildcats, help appears to be on the way. This help is rapidly closing the talent gap that has plagued the Wildcats for years. Now, everyone knows that simple talent doesn’t lead to wins. No one knows that better than Kentucky fans, as the last two basketball seasons have seen talent laden teams fall from their lofty preseason expectations. However, the Wildcat fan base has full faith in Mark Stoops and his ability to develop that talent into something great. Just don’t expect it this season. The folks over at Columbia Daily Tribune had a great blurb about Kentucky (and the rest of the SEC) on questions surrounding them this spring.
Kentucky and Tennessee — Help is how far away?
Wildcats Coach Mark Stoops and Volunteers Coach Butch Jones are entering the second year of pretty sizable rebuilding projects. Stoops and Jones, in their first full years recruiting for their new teams, have brought in large, talented classes that ranked in Rivals.com’s top 20 — fifth for Tennessee, 17th for Kentucky. Now, the question is how quickly can those heralded recruiting classes start making a difference? Tennessee’s biggest problems stemmed from depth last season, and 31 new players should help mitigate that factor. Kentucky was dealing with a talent gap, which 10 four-star signees should help address. But will those benefits start showing in November? Or, like, 2016?
As this excerpt says, the benefits from the back-to-back top-25 recruiting classes will eventually show through. However, it will probably fall right between the two times they mentioned above. This November will see improved on the field results, but it will not translate into wins right away. Wins will probably happen the following year, the 2015 season. I have been saying this all along, even before last season. If Stoops can haul in another great recruiting class, breaking into the top tire of the SEC in no time at all. Stay tuned, as the development will be visible. It’s an exciting time for Kentucky football.