Sidelines with John Clay

UK behind Toledo in USA Today writer’s preseason rankings

USA Today college football writer Paul Myerberg is out with his 1-130 preseason rankings for this season. And he’s not all that high on Kentucky’s chances.

In fact, Myerberg has the Cats ranked 52nd, which is four spots behind UK’s opening-game opponent, Toledo. The Rockets are ranked 48th. He has Kentucky ranked ninth among the 14 SEC teams.

Not that UK fared any better in the initial Associated Press preseason rankings, which were released at noon on Monday. Mark Stoops’ team did not receive a single vote for the Top 25. Neither did Toledo.

As for USA Today and Myerberg, here are his rankings of SEC teams, with UK’s 2019 opponents in bold:

  • 2 - Alabama
  • 3 - Georgia
  • 6 - LSU
  • 12 - Texas A&M
  • 15 - Florida
  • 21 - Auburn
  • 39 - Mississippi State
  • 41 - Missouri
  • 52 - Kentucky
  • 56 - South Carolina
  • 61 - Tennessee
  • 86 - Vanderbilt
  • 95 - Ole Miss
  • 96 - Arkansas

Here is where Myerberg has three of UK’s four non-conference opponents. As an FCS team, UT Martin is not included in his rankings.

  • 48 - Toledo
  • 73 - Eastern Michigan
  • 104 - Louisville

Defending national champion Clemson is No. 1 on his chart, by the way.

Back to Toledo. The Cats open with the Rockets on Aug. 31 at Kroger Field. And after going 7-6 last season, Toledo is favored to win the MAC West Division. Head coach Jason Candle is 28-13 in his three seasons (plus the 2015 bowl game) as a head coach. Toledo was 11-3 in 2017.

The Rockets return former UK running back Bryant Koback, who rushed for 917 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season. He rushed for 192 yards against Kent State and 124 yards against Central Michigan last season.

The Holland, Ohio, native, who starred at Springfield, Ohio, transferred to Toledo after redshirting at UK in 2017. The NCAA granted Toledo’s request for immediate eligibility, allowing Koback to play last season.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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