What’s not to love about supreme optimism?

It’s the best time of the year for college football fans, especially those favoring the SEC. Dreams of a national championship aren’t yet crushed and homers abound can all take a stab at guessing wins and losses on their respective team’s schedule.

‘Best Case Scenario’ Series

  • TODAY: Kentucky
  • Thursday: Texas A&M
  • Aug. 8: South Carolina
  • Aug. 9: LSU
  • Aug. 10: Georgia
  • Aug. 11: Ole Miss
  • Aug. 12: Vanderbilt
  • Aug. 13: Mississippi St.
  • Aug. 14: Tennessee


2013 record: 2-10, 0-8
2014 best case: 5-7, 1-7
Closer look: Based on preseason rankings, the Wildcats will only play three ranked teams this fall — one of the SEC’s softer slates — but there’s still two more road games we’re deeming as unwinnable against Florida and Mizzou. That’s already a projected five losses against teams with a talent edge before diving into other league matchups with Vanderbilt, Mississippi St. and Tennessee. Kentucky’s most important game of the season is its SEC home opener against the Commodores. Vanderbilt’s won nine games back-to-back years and has steamrolled the Wildcats in the process. A win there would put Mark Stoops’ team at 3-1 overall, with a win in the East, before a pivotal home battle against South Carolina.
Silver lining: Despite its current state of mediocrity at the bottom of the SEC, Kentucky should be favored in 3-of-4 non-conference games this season — all winnable contests. Should Patrick Towles or Drew Barker perform at quarterback like offensie coordinator Neal Brown thinks they’re capable, the Wildcats will be a much-improved offense, even if it doesn’t show in the wins department. To avoid another tailspin, consistency on both sides of the ball is essential.