Kentucky Finds Out It Might Take Awhile to Get Off the Mat | SEC 2013

Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

The Wildcats were pretty awful in 2012. Can they rebound in 2013, or are the Lexington faithful in for another tough football season?

Whenever you try to project forward for a team that had as bad a season last year as Kentucky had -- and followed it up by dumping the coaching staff and bringing in a whole new offensive system -- it's a difficult task. (We'll be doing Auburn later today, and it's pretty much the same thing.) We saw what happened to Kentucky last year, and it wasn't pretty. And while you don't want to overreact and say the Wildcats are going 0-12 just because they were awful in 2012, you don't want to predict they're going into the Sugar Bowl without a viable reason to do so.

There are very few reasons to be optimistic about this Kentucky team this year. Joker Phillips' offense was not very good at doing whatever Joker Phillips wanted it to do, but it's likely to be even worse at trying to run the Air Raid for the first season. And the defense didn't exactly shut down opponents, allowing 38, 38 and 29 points to the top three teams in the SEC East last year.

That's not to say that there's no hope for this team in the future. Mark Stoops is probably not going to be able to keep Kentucky at No. 1 in the recruiting rankings throughout his tenure, or even throughout this season, but the fact that he's there at this point is a sign that he can at least bring an almost unprecedented level of talent to Lexington. And if he can get the right kind of players and get the Air Raid up and running, Kentucky could be a perennial bowl team again -- and perhaps even climb a little bit higher.

All of that's in the future, though. For now, Kentucky is more or less the team that we saw crashing and burning in 2012. The might be a little bit better, and they might be a little bit worse -- but that's only going to affect the outcome at the margins.

Place: 7th in the SEC East
Record: 3-9, 0-8 SEC
Could be: 2-10 to 6-6
Best chance for an upset: at SOUTH CAROLINA
Bowl: NONE

8.31.13 | vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY (Nashville) | POSSIBLE WIN
9.7.13 | MIAMI (OH) | LIKELY WIN
9.14.13 | LOUISVILLE | PROBABLE LOSS
9.28.13 | FLORIDA | LIKELY LOSS
10.5.13 | at SOUTH CAROLINA | LIKELY LOSS
10.12.13 | ALABAMA | LOSS
10.24.13 | at MISSISSIPPI STATE | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.2.13 | ALABAMA STATE | WIN
11.9.13 | MISSOURI | POSSIBLE LOSS
11.16.13 | at VANDERBILT | PROBABLE LOSS
11.23.13 | at GEORGIA | LIKELY LOSS
11.30.13 | TENNESSEE | POSSIBLE LOSS

Key (from least likely to win to most): Loss, Likely Loss, Probable Loss, Possible Loss, Possible Win, Probable Win, Likely Win, Win

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