Unpopular Opinion: Kentucky will not make it to a bowl game this season


Quarterback Stephen Johnson #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats throws a pass down field during the second half of the TaxSlayer Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at EverBank Field on Saturday, December 31, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Kelsey Mattingly

Some Kentuckians were raised incredibly optimistic when it came to UK football. They were there when Florida beat Kentucky 63-5, and with each Gator touchdown, they still had faith they would emerge victorious. Some of these same people have grown jaded to the allure of potential Saturday successes.

Kentucky has shown significant signs of improvement over the last several years, starting with a coaching change. Coach Mark Stoops led the Wildcats to their first winning season since 2009 and turned around a program that suffered under Joker Phillips. For that, the man deserves applause and the support of Kentucky fans.

While the common consensus seems to be that Kentucky will be as good, if not better, than they were last season. While others hold the unpopular opinion among the Big Blue Nation that Kentucky will not make it to a bowl game this year.

Last season, Kentucky went 7-5, giving them a bid to a bowl game, the TaxSlayer Bowl. Two of those seven wins were accomplished by last-second field goals made by the Wildcats against Mississippi State and the exciting win against Louisville. Without those two field goals, Kentucky would have gone 5-7, and not have been a bowl contender. Kentucky having that same kind of luck two years in a row is unlikely.

That is not to say the team’s triumphs should be attributed to luck over skill, but in a world where it is easier to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed, one must be cautious.

Kentucky has acquired several top recruits, including true freshman running back Lynn Bowden. He and the remaining veteran Wildcats have the potential to put Kentucky in the running for another, better bowl game this year. They also have the potential to do what has happened in years past and let the pressure get to them.

Do the Wildcats have the ability to have another winning season and compete in another bowl game? Absolutely. Are the odds in their favor? Based on years of following the Wildcats and experiencing disappointment at losses to teams like Southern Mississippi, it could be assumed Kentucky just can’t get the job done. But, by all means, most would be thrilled if they prove this assumption wrong.