Bruce Feldman, college football writer at FoxSports.com, recently proclaimed Kentucky's 2015 non-SEC football schedule to be the 10th-weakest of all Power Five conference teams.
To which only one reply seems appropriate: Hang on, buddy, if you think this season's UK non-league football slate is weak, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Coming soon to future Kentucky Wildcats football schedules are:
Austin Peay. Over the past three seasons, the Governors are 3-32 in football.
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Southern Mississippi. Over the past three seasons, the Golden Eagles are 4-32 in football.
New Mexico State. Over the past three seasons, the Aggies are 5-31 in football.
Eastern Michigan. Over the past three seasons, the Eagles are 6-30 in football.
At UK, the hard reality has long been that a soft non-SEC football schedule — other than intrastate rival Louisville — is a necessity. Yet Kentucky's recent flurry of scheduled cupcakes for future seasons is perhaps a little too much of an understandable thing, no?
The odd thing about UK's 2015 non-league schedule being panned as the 10th weakest from among ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC schools is I don't think it is that bad.
Louisiana-Lafayette of the Sun Belt Conference has gone 9-4 each of the past four seasons.
Eastern Kentucky of the FCS is coming off a playoff season and has a roster stocked with transfers from FBS programs, including Ohio State, Florida, Kansas State, Cincinnati and UK.
True, Louisville lost 10 NFL draft picks off last season's 9-4 team and has only nine starters back, but the Cardinals are 32-7 over the past three seasons and have a head coach, Bobby Petrino, who is 6-1 against UK.
Only Charlotte, a Conference USA school whose football program is in only its third year, is a game whose scheduling by Kentucky seems a reach (albeit as close to a certain win as it is possible to find).
In recent years, I've defended Kentucky's philosophy of non-league scheduling based, primarily, on two factors.
1.) The rest of the SEC mostly schedules as UK does.
This year, seven of the other 13 SEC schools — Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas A&M — join Kentucky in playing one foe from another Power Five league, two teams from FBS conferences lower on the food chain and one FCS school.
Four SEC teams — Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri and Vanderbilt — are playing no Power Five league, non-conference opponents at all this season.
South Carolina, which will face ACC foes North Carolina and Clemson, is the only SEC team playing two non-league games against other Power Five foes in 2015.
2.) Kentucky's soft non-league scheduling makes sense for bowl eligibility.
Even during UK's five-year bowl streak (2006-10), the Cats had all but no margin of error in reaching the six-win threshold necessary for postseason play. In 2006, '07 and '09, they qualified with seven wins, while in 2008 and '10 Kentucky went bowling with the minimum six victories.
Until UK's program reaches the point that it is consistently winning eight or nine games a season, it's understandable why Kentucky does not add another "50-50" game.
All that said, Kentucky may be marching too far across the "cupcake threshold" with its future scheduling.
In 2016, UK's three non-league foes in Commonwealth Stadium will be:
1.) Southern Miss, a historically good football program (18 straight winning seasons from 1994 through 2011) that has gone 0-12, 1-11 and 3-9 these past three years.
2.) Austin Peay, an Ohio Valley Conference program that stopped playing scholarship football in 2001, resumed giving grants-in-aid in 2007 but has gone 14-65 since 2008.
3.) New Mexico State, a program that is 25-98 over the past 10 years and has enjoyed a whopping four winning seasons since 1967.
Then, coming to Commonwealth Stadium in 2017 will be Eastern Michigan, which is 26-93 over the past 10 years and has not had a winning year since 1995 (6-5).
Bottom line: I understand that UK — 14-34 since 2011 — needs guaranteed wins among its non-Louisville, non-league games. Still, can't Kentucky do a little better by the ticket-buying public than a who's who of historic college football dregs?