Kentucky Football: Cats No. 18 CFP rank nice, but MSU loss cost them dearly

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops (Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops (Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Kentucky football team found out just how costly and damaging one loss can be after their 31-17 uninspiring and underwhelming loss to Mississippi State. Instead of a possible Top 10 ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll, the Cats got a nod for their season efforts with a No. 18 ranking.

Don’t get me wrong the ranking is a huge accomplishment and sets them ahead of 111 other FBS schools. It too proves the fact the Kentucky football deserves to be in conversations as possible contenders year and year out for the Southeastern Conference East title discussions and CFP discussions.

What is also shows that Kentucky had not thrown its traditional yearly clunker we would have been having a much different read and opinion right now.

Would of. Could of. Should have. What if? They are all legitimate words we can all mutter.

The proof is clear how one loss has damaged Kentucky football season

The College Football Playoff Committee released their first rankings on Tuesday and it’s clear the Wildcat team should be kicking itself knowing just how dearly it cost them.

Big Blue is the final of seven SEC teams appearing on the first release. Georgia and Alabama sit at No. 1 and No. 2 and will be until the SEC Championship games most likely unless No. 13 Auburn has something to say when it battles Bama in the regular-season finale.

Following the Tigers are No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 16 Ole Miss, and No. 17 Mississippi State. Ole Miss took a gut punch as well and their chances when Auburn beat them 31-20.

The more frustrating thing is that while the CFP hasn’t been expanded yet and if it were 8 or 12 teams Kentucky would still be on the outside looking in relying on upsets just ahead of them to determine their fate.

Simply you must take care of business week in and week out making some noise along the way.

This Kentucky football team had performed better than expected with a 6-0 and start and alone in first place in the SEC East with Georgia. They had knocked off Florida and LSU and fought hard against Georgia. The loss didn’t appear to affect their season.

Sitting 6-1 with two tougher SEC foes in Mississippi State and Tennessee after a bye week and three remaining teams they should easily be favored in looked promising.

Unfortunately, instead of recharging during the break, they seemed to shut down and left everything in Lexington instead of bringing it to Starkville. Fumbles, interceptions, zero running game, inconsistent quarterback play again plagued them in defeat.

Had they won this game a 7-1 Kentucky team would have been slotted more than likely in the Top 10.

One loss teams include :

No. 4 Oregon

No. 5 Ohio State

No. 7 Michigan

No. 10 Notre Dame

No. 11 Oklahoma State

No. 12 Baylor

Many of these teams will suffer losses in the next four weeks and the deck will shuffle. Even winning out won’t vault UK into the playoffs. However, making a recovery statement for the final rankings is vital.

It starts on Saturday when they host bitter rival Tennessee who is playing for respect and sick of hearing how their northern neighbor has surpassed them. If you thought Mississippi State was fired up to start the game last Saturday I guarantee based on social media the Vols are coming with a vengeance.

How UK and Big Blue Nation respond will write this team’s final chapters of the 2021-22 season. Right now Kentucky according to WynnBet is just a 1.5 favorite on Saturday. That doesn’t install a lot of confidence.

After this week there are only games against Vanderbilt (2-7), New Mexico State (1-7), and Louisville (4-4). Definitely no bonus points in any of those three games.

Kentucky can still finish in second place in the SEC East, would need a lot of help to make a New Year’s Six Bowl now and after the dominoes, all have fallen somehow end up around the Top 10 final rankings then that brings some bragging rights.

It won’t ever erase the horror of last Saturday and what it cost them overall, but at least they would go 10-2 and possibly 11-2 by winning a bowl.

In the end, it all boils down to one final game in which you fail to show up and this is proof of how costly those letdowns can be.

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