Kentucky football just 49 days till kickoff some early rankings to chew on

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis /

Counting down to the kickoff of the 2022 football season Kentucky football like every other team has questions to answer and holes to fill, but a quick look at some very early rankings its clear the Cats can and should be contenders in the Southeastern Conference East.

The weapons are in place led by quarterback Will Levis and Chris Rodriquez on offense and defensive coordinator Brad White is a mastermind setting up his defenses for success including the return of linebackers Jacquez Jones, DeAndre Square, and Jordan Wright

Head coach Mark Stoops enters his 10th season at the helm and has turned it from ho-hum to a team talked about in good ways on Saturdays during the season. He is just one win from tying Paul “Bear” Bryant as the all-time wins leader at UK.

He took over a team from Joker Phillips that went 2-10 and his first season duplicated that record with a roster very thin on talent and depth. A pair of 5-7 seasons followed and then two straight 7-6 seasons.

What followed set the tone for where the program is now that including four straight wins in bowl games and a 33-17 record.

Stoops was just named to the preseason watchlist for the Dodd Trophy and coach of the year honors.

All this can and will be dissected later on as the season gets closer but for now, what are some early pundits projecting the 2022 team to accomplish.

Athlon Sports released where they believe teams will finish the upcoming season and has it a tossup for second in the SEC East between the Cats and Vols. The two teams meet in UK’s seventh game of the season on October 29 at Neyland Stadium where Kentucky football could be sitting a perfect 7-0.

Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer has Kentucky ranked No. 18, right behind fellow SEC West’s Arkansas at No. 17. They are the fourth and fifth teams from the league to be ranked including No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, and No. 4 Texas A&M.

CBS Sports has the Big Blue at No. 19 when the Cats and Dawgs battle on Nov. 19 in the regular season conference finale could help decide just how things shake out.

ESPN’s Way Too Early Rankings project Kentucky at No. 21 due mostly to the large number of question marks replacing some key lost components on both sides of the ball.

I would agree that Kentucky deserves to be ranked around the No. 18 spot and honestly just two weeks into the season we will get a pretty good gauge when the Wildcats travel to Florida to take on the Gators.

Bear in mind also that a win in the Swamp would boost Stoops into the top win spot of all time and keep UK ahead of Florida in the SEC races.  A little extra motivation for the players.

I’ll leave you with one negative prognosticator out there and that is Phil Steele releasing his annual magazine this week predicting where every team will finish this season and he has Kentucky football finishing – No. 35.

Ah, that is even two spots behind Louisville which the Wildcats have owned over the past seasons and will finish off with once again in 2022 following Thanksgiving in the season finale.

Big Blue Nation likes to burn things in celebration maybe you should save that publication for the end of the season and burn them when this team proves Steele wrong.

Mark Stoops named to early watch list for Dodd Trophy. dark. Next