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Kentucky Football Ranked 20th in First AP Poll, First Preseason Appearance Since 1978

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UK Athletics

In the 107 seasons of Kentucky football, only four times have the Kentucky Wildcats been ranked in the preseason AP Top 25. The last time it happened was over forty years ago as the Wildcats were ranked 15th prior to the 1978 season, but ultimately finished a disappointing 4-6-1 on the season.

In fact, Kentucky football hasn’t had a successful season after being ranked in the preseason Top 25 since 1951. Take a closer look:

  • 1978: 15th, 4-6-1 (2-4 SEC), Not Bowl Eligible
  • 1957: 20th, 3-7 (1-7 SEC), Not Bowl Eligible
  • 1951: 6th, 8-1 (3-3 SEC), Won the Cotton Bowl 20-7 over TCU
  • 1950: 13th, 11-1 (5-1 SEC), Won the Sugar Bowl 13-7 over Oklahoma, Claimed National Championship

    Via Sports Reference

This season, Kentucky football will look to change that as on Monday afternoon they were ranked No. in the first AP poll of the 2022 season. This comes after the Wildcats were ranked 21st in the Coaches Poll last week.

Of course with the preseason rankings and being selected to finish second in the SEC East, Mark Stoops and Co are in unfamiliar territory, now being expected to win.

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Coming off last season’s 10-win season and Citrus Bowl victory, Kentucky lost four players to the NFL draft and four more were signed as free agents headed into training camp. While many playmakers such as Wan’Dale Robinson and Josh Paschal will be missed, the Wildcats still bring back a lot of experience and Will Levis, the best quarterback in the Stoops era.

At the moment, only two of Kentucky’s scheduled opponents are ranked – Georgia (No. 3) and Ole Miss (No. 21) – but several are listed in the others receiving votes category: Tennessee (180), Florida (14), Mississippi State (15), South Carolina(2). Poor Louisville had zero.

Less than three weeks until kickoff against Miami (OH)!

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Football

Scott Satterfield Is Leaving Louisville, to Be Named Cincinnati’s Next Head Coach

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Louisville Athletics

Scott Satterfield is the gift that keeps on giving to Louisville’s rivals, and on Monday morning, he gave one last gift. Reports have surfaced that Satterfield will be leaving Louisville to take the head coach position at Cincinnati following Luke Fickell’s departure to Wisconsin.

Despite a 25-24 record through four seasons with the Cardinals, Satterfield is now getting an opportunity to take over a program that just went to the College Football Playoff in 2021, being the first school to do so from the Group of Five. However, the Bearcats prepare to enter the Big 12 Conference as of the 2023-2024 academic year.

This will force Louisville to find yet another coach and will break up a top-20 recruiting class that featured eight four-star and five-star commitments. Not to mention, this should allow Kentucky to regain some recruiting territory in Ohio, given how Satterfield has struggled to recruit against the Wildcats.

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With that said, it is unfortunate that he will no longer be taunted with L’s down and a loss to Kentucky on an annual basis, but fans will always have this picture of him throwing an L’s down to remember him by.

Ironically enough, Cincinnati (9-3) and Louisville (7-5) are scheduled to play each other on Dec. 17 in the Fenway Bowl. Which sideline will Satterfield be on?

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Four-Star UK Commit Teases About Playing with Top QB Transfer Cade McNamara

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UK Athletics/UM Athletics

It has been a very news-hectic week in the college football world with many players entering the transfer portal – before it officially opens on Dec. 7th – just days after the regular season came to a close.

Stoops and the coaching core that will remain for next season must hit the transfer portal hard this offseason, predominantly replacing Will Levis at the quarterback position. Four-star commit and incoming Kentucky wide-out Shamar Porter, teased who he wanted to play with via Instagram.

Cade McNamara, the former Michigan Wolverine, and four-star recruit, hit the portal after a year that consisted of just three games of action and 1 touchdown after losing the starting job to J.J. McCarthy.

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(Photo via shamar.porterr /Instagram)

As for the context of the Instagram post, Porter is from Nashville, Tennessee, and played football with Kyle and Jake McNamara through high school football and several Tennessee high school football circuits.

In 2021 McNamara led Michigan to their first College Football Playoff appearance. That 12-2 season and winning the Big Ten Championship in 2021 is where all the buzz comes from.

Let’s take a look at some traits of McNamara’s game, courtesy of The Draft Network.

Pros

  • Plays it safe and takes what the defense gives him.
  • Can throw on the run with good ball placement and accuracy.
  • Consistent demeanor, never getting too high or too low.

Cons

  • His “safe” and game-manager style causes him to leave points on the field.
  • Struggles with throwing the deep ball, completing 39% of his attempts over 20 yards.
  • Not a true running threat.

Given his skill set and experiences, McNamara would be more than welcome to play for the Wildcats next year. Yet, with several open coaching positions on the offensive side of the ball, it could take a few weeks for Kentucky to find their guy.

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Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello Let Go from Kentucky Staff

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UK Athletics

After just one season in Lexington, offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello has been let go, first reported by LEX18.

Hired as the replacement for Liam Coen back in February – who led Kentucky to a 10-3 record in 2021 – Scangarello was known as a “quarterback whisperer” and was even referred to as a “football genius” by head coach Mark Stoops when he was hired.

Given his background and plenty of talent on the offensive side of the call, Scangarello was expected to deliver on the high preseason goals, but that was not the case as the Wildcats’ offensive production was ranked last in the SEC in terms of yards per game (336.3) and points per game (22.1).

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Through the first four games, the Wildcats threw for over 300 yards in three of them. However, through the final eight, Kentucky ever threw for more than 239 (Mississippi State), leaning heaving on the run game. A six-point showing against Tennessee and a loss to Vanderbilt is included in that eight-game stretch.

It is likely true that Will Levis’s health did limit the offensive playbook, and in turn, limited Scangarello’s ability. However, given the negativity of the fanbase and the players towards Scangarello, this comes as no surprise.

With the transfer portal officially opening up next Wednesday, it feels like a good move to start the coaching change prior as Kentucky will need to have their house in order and be extremely active given their lackluster recruiting in 2023 (ranked 50th, 12th in SEC).

It will be interesting to see who Mark Stoops goes after for the Wildcat’s fourth OC in as many seasons. Early money would be on Rob Calabrese, the quarterback’s coach for the New York Jets, who was nearly hired before Scangarello. Could a Liam Coen reunion be in store?

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Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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