The Next Step For UK Football

The-Hack

All-American
Oct 1, 2016
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Over the past 5 seasons with winning streaks over the likes of Vandy, USCe and Mizzou, the common refrain has been “the next step is beating UF, UT and UGA.”

And while those games are important and winnable (maybe excluding UGA) I would argue that the next logical step for a continued climb is BEATING MISSISSIPPI STATE IN STARKVILLE.

We’ve won in Knoxville (2021), in Gainesville (2018), and actually have had winning streaks on the road in both Columbia’s and currently have a winning streak in Nashville.

But during the Stoops era, we have no wins in Starkville, Mississippi . . . made to look all-the-more odd by having a win in both Gainesville and Knoxville.

With winnable games at home against a wounded (probated?) UT, Mizzou (who is improving), a road game against a depleted USCe, and a highly winnable game against Vandy in Nashville, the likeliest key to cracking a winning record in the SEC is our trip to Starkville.

I think we have a good shot to beat UF and LSU at home, but history and recruiting rankings suggest that the Mississippi State game is the fulcrum for a potential winning SEC slate.
 

vhcat70

All-American
Feb 5, 2003
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I'll be happy with 9-3 & OK with 8-4 even if either includes a loss at Starkville.
 
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Deeeefense

Moderator
Moderator
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I absolutely love our schedule this year and you're right if we knock off MSU in Starkpatch we are almost a lock to go at least 3-1 on the road with USCe and Vandy. That means all but one of the more challenging teams will be at home and we have a chance to sweep that schedule with Florida having major pieces on offense to fill and LSU being still in a regenerating mode. I do look for the Tigers to be a lot better this year but not back to full national championship strength. UGA is still the class of the field and we have them in Athens. So things look pretty bright IMO and a 11-1 season may sound like a moon shot to some but IMO it's in reach. On the downside would could go 7-1 in the SEC and still not win the East because the Dawgs conference schedule is only slightly more difficult than ours with Auburn and Arkansas as their West appointments this year.
 

docholiday51

All-American
Oct 19, 2001
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The next step is winning the games you are supposed to win and doing so in a way that gets 2nd and 3rd string players on the field. Next season has 8 or 9 wins written all over it. We have had a problem with getting 2 or 3 wins early then getting too big for our britches and stubbing a toe when there is no reason to do so. We have to fix that. We have to learn how to handle winning.
 

cathouse

Junior
Dec 30, 2002
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Amazingly, we have been a no show at Miss State. Never seem to be ready to play.

You are right, Stoops needs to get this corrected this year.
 
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sieken

Sophomore
Jun 7, 2008
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We have to learn how to handle winning.
Hell, that's a welcome change all by itself!

I think being competitive in every game is the next step for the team. Most years we will lose 2 or 3 to the upper crust of the league but that's fine in my book. Every couple of years we should have the right balance of talent and experience to make this a reality. Have to keep raising the perception in recruits eyes, they want to keep winning, most of the good players come from winning high school teams.
 

mrschwump

All-American
Nov 4, 2006
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Have to have a boost in recruiting. I'm hoping the 2021 class will be the best yet with 12-15 4* or better. Coaches seem to be encouraged, hope it pans out.
 

Grumpyolddawg

All-American
Jun 11, 2001
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I absolutely love our schedule this year and you're right if we knock off MSU in Starkpatch we are almost a lock to go at least 3-1 on the road with USCe and Vandy. That means all but one of the more challenging teams will be at home and we have a chance to sweep that schedule with Florida having major pieces on offense to fill and LSU being still in a regenerating mode. I do look for the Tigers to be a lot better this year but not back to full national championship strength. UGA is still the class of the field and we have them in Athens. So things look pretty bright IMO and a 11-1 season may sound like a moon shot to some but IMO it's in reach. On the downside would could go 7-1 in the SEC and still not win the East because the Dawgs conference schedule is only slightly more difficult than ours with Auburn and Arkansas as their West appointments this year.

Lsu was much better at the end of the year than they were early. Max Johnson Mark Richt's nephew got his chance and took advantage of it. He is much better than the other frosh QB who played early. His dad is former NFL journeyman QB Doug Johnson.
 

mrschwump

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Nov 4, 2006
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Lsu was much better at the end of the year than they were early. Max Johnson Mark Richt's nephew got his chance and took advantage of it. He is much better than the other frosh QB who played early. His dad is former NFL journeyman QB Doug Johnson.
LSU frosh QB is an absolute stud.
 
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Freetaxreturn

Senior
Apr 3, 2016
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Lake Charles, LA
Over the past 5 seasons with winning streaks over the likes of Vandy, USCe and Mizzou, the common refrain has been “the next step is beating UF, UT and UGA.”

And while those games are important and winnable (maybe excluding UGA) I would argue that the next logical step for a continued climb is BEATING MISSISSIPPI STATE IN STARKVILLE.

We’ve won in Knoxville (2021), in Gainesville (2018), and actually have had winning streaks on the road in both Columbia’s and currently have a winning streak in Nashville.

But during the Stoops era, we have no wins in Starkville, Mississippi . . . made to look all-the-more odd by having a win in both Gainesville and Knoxville.

With winnable games at home against a wounded (probated?) UT, Mizzou (who is improving), a road game against a depleted USCe, and a highly winnable game against Vandy in Nashville, the likeliest key to cracking a winning record in the SEC is our trip to Starkville.

I think we have a good shot to beat UF and LSU at home, but history and recruiting rankings suggest that the Mississippi State game is the fulcrum for a potential winning SEC slate.

It’s the heat and humidity Hack 😰🍺
 

wildcatwolverine

Blue Chip Prospect
May 29, 2001
548
195
43
Agree with OP, winning in starkville is important. The good news is that at least we have turned that series such that we're winning at home. We lost to them 7-8 times in a row at one point and that sucked.

I think UK football is doing everything it needs to do to have success. Beat (and in some cases, dominate) peer programs like MSU, South Carolina, and Mizzou. If UK sweeps those three this year, that will be 6 out of 7 against USC, 6 out of 7 against Mizzou, and 3 out of 5 vs. MSU.

IMO, the next step as a program is to win more than we lost against UT and to start beating UGA or UF at home on a more regular basis. It's not reasonable to expect frequent wins in Gainesville or Athens. Very few programs win there. But, I do think it's reasonable to expect to beat Georgia and Florida 2 or 3 times out of every ten meetings.

The real one that got away is UT. We have been a better program than them for the last 5 years and have arguably been better for the last 10-15 years; but, we have very little to show for it in the head to head matchups. Let's hope that their misery continues.

Lastly, UL is a series that Stoops has turned in our favor. I see the trend continuing, but we cannot afford to slip up. Something seems amiss with the Satterfield regime, so we need to parlay that into a long winning streak. As it stands, we dominate them in instate recruiting, and we are recruiting at a higher level overall. UK does not want to go back to a time when UL had the upper hand in this series.
 

irishcat1965

All-American
Apr 22, 2012
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A courthouse near you
I think a key to a really good season is to win the first four and then at least split the games between Florida and LSU. Georgia is probably a loss but then the back half of the schedule opens up to do something special.
 
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wildcatwolverine

Blue Chip Prospect
May 29, 2001
548
195
43
I think a key to a really good season is to win the first four and then at least split the games between Florida and LSU. Georgia is probably a loss but then the back half of the schedule opens up to do something special.

If this happens then we are going to have a 2018 year (or better).

If this scenario occurs, then UK goes into the bye week at 5-2 with games left against UT, Vandy, MSU, UL, and a stiff. I'll chalk up UL, Vandy, and Stiff as wins. I like our chances against UT, so that would leave a road game in starkville as the last roadblock to 10-2