For just the fifth time in history, Kentucky football is ranked in a major preseason poll

·2 min read

For just the fifth time in program history, Kentucky football will enter a season ranked in at least one of the major polls.

The Wildcats were slotted at No. 21 in the USA Today coaches poll released Monday. Kentucky was ranked fourth among SEC teams, behind No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and No. 7 Texas A&M. Arkansas (23) and Ole Miss (24) were the other SEC teams included in the top 25.

Kentucky has been ranked in the preseason Associated Press poll four times in program history: 1950, 1951, 1957 and 1978. Two years ago, UK was not ranked in either the preseason AP or coaches polls but did debut in both polls’ first in-season update before actually playing a game. The 2022 preseason AP poll will be released later this month.

The No. 21 ranking represents a six-spot drop from where Kentucky finished last season. The Wildcats were No. 15 in the final 2021 coaches poll. UK was also ranked 18th in last season’s final AP poll, marking the 10th time in program history the Wildcats had been ranked in a season’s final poll.

The preseason ranking is the latest sign of growing expectations for Mark Stoops’ program. Earlier this summer, media picked the Wildcats to finish second in the SEC East, behind only Georgia.

Stoops has dismissed any worries about the preseason hype affecting his team’s preparation.

“Right now you can’t pat them on the back too much because there’s too much work to be done,” Stoops said on the first day of camp last week. “There’s just a ton of work to be done. We have a lot of work to do as a staff and the players and there’s just too much to do.

“There’s so many situations, you can’t possibly get them all, but we try. We try to get our football awareness and football IQ very high so we play all situations right. … We could play 95% of the game right and play physical and do all those things, but if you play a situation wrong, you lose. There’s a lot of work to do, and that’s our focus.”

Will Levis looks to pass during Kentucky’s open practice and Fan Day on Saturday. The second-year UK quarterback will lead the 21st-ranked Wildcats into their season opener on Sept. 3.
Will Levis looks to pass during Kentucky’s open practice and Fan Day on Saturday. The second-year UK quarterback will lead the 21st-ranked Wildcats into their season opener on Sept. 3.

Kentucky football secondary loses another possible contributor to the transfer portal

How Tennessee transfer Dee Beckwith could fit in Rich Scangarello’s UK football offense

SEC football: News, notes and links as fall practices get going around the conference

Kentucky college football coach discusses benefits, shortcomings of NCAA transfer portal

After Kentucky football’s open practice, let’s see more of these three Wildcats

‘We’ll do anything we can do.’ How the Kentucky football team is supporting flood relief.

‘It’s pressure.’ Two players who must come through for UK football to succeed in 2022.

This Kentucky football wide receiver chose practice over U20 world track championships

Once heralded recruits, UK’s young defensive line has arrived at its time to shine

Three takeaways from Kentucky football Media Day

Why UK football coaches are excited about running backs, even with Rodriguez uncertainty