Rich Brooks is not a fan of the polls right now. His Wildcats are not in the rankings, but they are fourth in the “also receiving votes” section of the Coaches’ Poll.
Someone asked him about them not being in the top 25. Instead of dismissing the question as slightly ridiculous for the third week of the season, he decided to respond:
“I find it interesting that Kentucky football is perceived as poorly as it is. And I’m not saying we’re a Top 25 team right now or not. But if some of the teams I’ve seen ranked in the Top 25 are Top 25 teams, then we are too.”
So I guess he thinks Kentucky is roughly as good as teams like Utah, Fresno State, Clemson, West Virginia, Cal, and others in the bottom end of the polls.
Well then, how could this state of affairs in the polls exist? Apparently his hunch had to do with Kentucky not being a respected, traditional power playing in a tough conference, and that people projecting the schedule naturally assume UK won’t do well.
“They’re looking down the road saying, ‘They can’t beat this team, they can’t beat that team, they can’t beat that team, they can’t beat that team, so they’re not going to have that many wins at the end of the year, so why put them up there?”
I don’t know about that. I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that Kentucky has not won with defense in recent memory, and the ‘Cats will be attempting to do just that in 2008. They lost a lot on offense, and against Louisville, one of the worst defenses of last season, it didn’t look too sharp. The Kentucky O looked better against I-AA Norfolk State, but that is I-AA Norfolk State.
If anything, the fact they’re in the SEC is why they are so high on the coaches’ side. A rising tide lifts all boats, especially now in the conference perception wars.
For my money, putting them the 29th-best team in the country is charitable right now, and with MTSU and WKU coming up, it’s going to take until their October game at Alabama to figure out just how well the new modus operandi is working in Lexington. Over on the AP side, Kentucky is 35th overall.
Eventually Brooks wound his way to what was the right answer all along, saying:
“If we keep winning games, we’ll get there. That’s all. It’s really insignificant at this point.”
(H/T: Da Wiz)