Those in attendance at the Southeastern Conference’s football Media Days this week expect things won’t change much for Kentucky football in 2016.
The preseason voting by the media who cover the league’s 14 teams predicted the Wildcats will finish this season in fourth place in the Eastern Division.
Kentucky finished 5-7 overall and 2-6 in SEC play in 2015, good for fifth place.
During a preseason in which Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is working hard to build belief both inside and outside his program, any movement upward — no matter how incremental — is a move in the right direction.
The media voting says Tennessee will climb over defending division champion Florida to win the East and that Alabama will again rule the West. The media also predicted that defending national champion Crimson Tide will repeat as overall league champion.
An all-time high of 331 media members participated in this year’s vote. Points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.
Kentucky received 933 points, coming in behind Tennessee (2,167), Florida (1,891) and Georgia (1,860). Behind Kentucky in the East were Vanderbilt (810), Missouri (807) and South Carolina (800). The Volunteers received 225 first-place votes, Florida 57, Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 2 and South Carolina 2.
In the West, Alabama led the way with 2,220 points, followed by LSU (1,984), Ole Miss (1,479), Texas A&M (1,130), Arkansas (1,047), Auburn 890 and Mississippi State (518). The Crimson Tide grabbed 246 first-place votes for the West title. Next were LSU (76), Ole Miss (5), Texas A&M (3) and Arkansas (1).
Voting for the overall champion went like this: Alabama (223), LSU (59), Tennessee (29), Georgia (7), Florida (5), Ole Miss (4), Texas A&M (1), South Carolina (1), Vanderbilt (1), Arkansas (1).
The preseason All-SEC Team will be announced Friday.