For Kentucky football fans looking for conspiracy theories and perceived slights around all corners, the final college football rankings gave them plenty of fodder Tuesday, but the Cats did get some nods of respect in a couple of early 2019 preseason rankings.
The Associated Press placed Kentucky No. 12 in the nation in its final football poll, released in the wee hours Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Florida, a team UK beat decisively in The Swamp, ranked tied for seventh with Georgia.
In the Coaches Poll released Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky ranked No. 11, supplanting Central Florida in the coaches’ estimation. Florida, again, ranked higher at No. 6 ahead of both LSU and Georgia.
In addition to losing at home to the Cats, Florida took a bad home loss to Missouri, but its wins over Michigan and LSU and, no doubt, its pedigree held more sway with voters than Kentucky’s wins over a ranked Penn State, Mississippi State and the Gators. Kentucky never recovered from its loss at Tennessee in the voters’ eyes, it seems.
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Maybe more disheartening for fans was ESPN’s self-proclaimed “Football Power Index,” which purported to rank teams by a formula that assesses how often they would beat a regular common opponent. The FPI, which consistently undervalued Kentucky from the outset (No. 52 in preseason), put the Cats at No. 26 in its final update. Penn State, Mississippi State and Florida ranked Nos. 8, 9 and 11 on this list, respectively.
Two national outlets placed Kentucky in their preseason top 25s for 2019, even though Kentucky got no love from the ESPN, NCAA.com or 247Sports.com “way-too-early” rankings, with each outlet placing Florida, Missouri and Penn State, all teams UK beat in 2018, on their lists.
SB Nation posted its list on Twitter and put the Cats at No. 19.
“The Wildcats lose the two faces of their historic season, RB Benny Snell and LB Josh Allen, but Mark Stoops’ program appears built to stick around,” Mandel stated.
2019 UK football schedule
(Home games in capital letters)
Aug. 31: TOLEDO
Sept. 7: EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sept. 14: FLORIDA
Sept. 21: At Mississippi State
Sept. 28: At South Carolina
Oct. 12: ARKANSAS
Oct. 19: At Georgia
Oct. 26: MISSOURI
Nov. 9: TENNESSEE
Nov. 16: At Vanderbilt
Nov. 23: UT MARTIN
Nov. 30: LOUISVILLE