The Kentucky Wildcats football team opened the 2014 season with a convincing 59-14 win over the UT Martin Skyhawks and with a win over Ohio Saturday, would be 2-0 for the first time since 2011. For a team that is coming off back to back 2-10 seasons, this obviously would be a huge start to the season. So while it was nice to have a big win in week one, it’s important to not bask in the afterglow of last week too much as this team still has a lot to prove.
I hate to nitpick, but a win over UT Martin is just that: a win over an average FSC program. And while it was nice to trounce someone, anyone, it’s important to note that his was and will be Kentucky’s easiest game of the year. However, this seemed to be a different start for Kentucky as there are playmakers on both sides of the ball. In the last few years, Kentucky football has been devoid of that, and it appears that Mark Stoops’s recruiting is changing that.
Virtually every name I heard on Saturday was a “new” name and it seems apparent that the newcomers will make a difference.
And even though the rest of the nation seems skeptical that Kentucky can not turn it around, the numbers do not lie.
In ESPN’s weekly Football Power Index, Kentucky was ranked as the 40th best team in the country. A lot of people are making a big deal of this in that Louisville was ranked #41, but UK and UL both share the same 7.3 rating. But to mentioned in the same range of Louisville will get a lot of people talking, especially in the Bluegrass. When you look at UK’s efficiency rating, UK is #33 in the country.
That’s all good, but keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day and a win over UT Martin does not make Kentucky a top forty team. Yet. Also keep in mind that Kentucky has the #20 toughest remaining schedule the rest of the way. So Kentucky has a lot to prove in week two.
However, the groundwork is set with this team. While there are things to nitpick against UT Martin, keep in mind that this was the first college game for many players and the first start for Patrick Towles. This team has a great coaching staff and will get better.
In the end, even is Kentucky does start 2-0, a lot of pundits will bash the schedule. While UT Martin was a FCS program, Ohio is coming off five straight bowl bids and should be a better test. The players don’t make the schedule, so 2-0 is the best they can do.
On that ESPN Power Ranking, they project Kentucky to finish with six wins. As a long-suffering Wildcat fan, this team has to beat a SEC fan before I jump on the bowl talk bandwagon, but I’m not going to complain about 2-0 either. The ceiling is sky-high for this team and if Kentucky fans are patient, it’s going to be fun to watch them flourish.
The win over UT Martin was nice, but it continues with a win over Ohio.