Describe the enthusiasm around the Kentucky football program now.
[su_spacer size=”40″] To have the Towles/Williams backfield combo gives Kentucky outstanding offensive punch, what has the development of these two meant to the team?
Extremely anxious. Kentucky fans feel, and rightfully so, that the football team has missed a couple of golden opportunities to make the long-awaited climb up the SEC ladder during Year Three of the Mark Stoops era. Namely, losing at home to Florida, 14-9, and Auburn, 23-20. Instead of four losses Kentucky could have two. Compounding the situation is that UK’s signature wins — South Carolina and Missouri — become a little less impressive each passing week. It leaves fans with a critical question: Just how good is Kentucky?
[su_spacer size=”40″] What does Kentucky need to do to beat Georgia?
Kentucky is finally showing offensive firepower not seen in Lexington since 2007 with Andre Woodson, Stevie Johnson, Jacob Tamme, Keenan Burton and others. It’s pretty much assumed that building a strong, deep defense is going to take more than three years so until that day; the offense needs to put lots of points on the board. The talent is clearly there, but it’s also very young so the consistent offensive production on the scoreboard has been mixed. But it feels like the offense, including WRs Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson, is getting so very close to breaking out in a big way.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What is your take on the Bulldogs?
Score lots of points. The defense is hurting; losing NG Melvin Lewis was crushing, and was completely inept in the blowout loss at Mississippi State. How they’ll respond going back on the road at Athens is anybody’s guess. Best case for UK that they put winning and losing in the hands of the offense. Kentucky will score early, but they need to score early and often. Funny thing is, they are quite capable of doing just that.
[su_spacer size=”40″] With basketball season approaching, what are the expectations for the Wildcats in 2015-2016?
Another brutal injury to a star running back. Are you kidding me? I’ve never seen a program or coach so seemingly snake-bitten when it comes to devastating injuries. All teams lose players during the year, but only Georgia seems to lose that one key player that simply cannot be replaced. I firmly believed Georgia would win the SEC East before the Nick Chubb’s injury. Mark Richt deserves better.
[su_spacer size=”40″] An undefeated regular season and Final Four is an incredible, all-time great year for virtually any program. But at Kentucky, knowing the quest for the national title and perfect season, what was the general take of the Big Blue nation?
Kentucky fans firmly believe the Wildcats can make another run at a national title with reaching the Final Four a minimum for a successful season. That may be true, but only if two key questions can be answered. Kentucky goes from national title contender to just a good team without Skal Labissiere and Alex Poythress. Labissiere was just cleared to play by the NCAA, so that’s one issue solved. When Poythress returns to full strength following ACL surgery last December is the other big concern. Poythress is the only true power player on the roster and his absence makes UK vulnerable to a rough, physical team.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Back to football, as Kentucky climbs in the SEC East, what would a win over Georgia mean?
Coming so close to a perfect 40-0 season only to lose it in the Final Four, and not even reach the title game, cast a shadow over the offseason for a very long time. Not just for the fans, but the players, too. It’s not that UK lost to Wisconsin, it’s that they picked the worst night possible to be off its ‘A’ game. The hangover lasted through spring and most of the summer, but fans are now seeing 38-1 for what it is — a season of historical proportions.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Who is your pick to win the national championship this year?
The world, to be honest. Beating Georgia in Athens would make Kentucky’s season and erase every frustrating memory from the previous eight games. UK should have beaten Florida and Auburn. So what, they beat Georgia. It would nearly guarantee a bowl game and catapult Kentucky down the road to being a serious competitor in the SEC East, a division that quite frankly is up for grabs in the coming years.
I miss the recent years when that was a simple question. Definitely an SEC team, most likely Alabama. This year feels like the most balanced race ever. I can find fault with every single team except one — Ohio State. The Buckeyes are looking like a defending national champion with J.T. Barrett at quarterback. And we certainly know that Urban Meyer is capable of winning it all in back-to-back seasons.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Make sure to check out Bulldawg Illustrated’s latest print edition: Stand Tall Dawgs, digital issue available for free online. CLICK HERE.