There is plenty of excitement surrounding the 2014 Kentucky Wildcats. Despite finishing with a 2-10 mark last season, head coach Mark Stoops was given a contract extension this offseason, largely due to his outstanding efforts on the recruiting trail.
Stoops has definitely improved the talent level in Lexington, and has attracted the passionate Kentucky fan base in record numbers. In fact, the two most-attended Kentucky spring games ever have come during Stoops’ time in the Bluegrass.
To keep this type of momentum going, Stoops will need to produce results on the field. That means winning all of the games that they should win, and pulling an occasional upset. At Kentucky, if Stoops could get the team to a bowl each season, the fan base will stay happy, and will continue to provide great support.
As Stoops and his staff look at the 2014 schedule, there appear to be three winnable games. Kentucky opens against Tennessee-Martin and Ohio, and has a mid-season game against Louisiana-Monroe. Beyond those three games, any win would likely be considered an upset, one that could potentially galvanize the Big Blue Nation even more.
If Stoops and the Wildcat faithful had their preference, that upset win would not come in a Southeastern Conference game. Instead, a season-ending victory over Kentucky’s arch rival, the Louisville Cardinals, would be the most beneficial. Louisville has clearly been the better program in the Bluegrass State over the past few years. And, while Stoops has won some recruiting battles over the Cardinals since his arrival, it would benefit the UK program to be able to go into the Derby City and get quality players.
Kentucky needs to focus on winning more than two games this season. And if the ‘Cats can pull off the upset in the season finale, it would build even more momentum for 2015 and beyond.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.