By LARRY VAUGHT
Beating Florida on the road to end a 31-year losing streak to the Gators excited Kentucky fans but didn’t do the same for every national media member.
Take ESPN’s Will Harris.
“Stoops will leave Kentucky better than he found it, and he won’t be able to fashion a relevant SEC contender,” Harris wrote.
True, he’s already made the program better now than the program he inherited. No question about that.
Relevant SEC contender? True, that’s tough to imagine UK beating Alabama, Georgia or a few others for a league title consistently.
“Stoops has done wonders for the program on the recruiting, fundraising and facility-building fronts, but Kentucky has natural disadvantages that have cemented its historical place in the league pecking order. The program is still in the phase where it wildly celebrates rare wins over rebuilding league bullies. That’s nowhere near contending,” Harris wrote.
He’s right. Beating Florida and contending for even the SEC East are not the same things. But it is a big step forward.
This next statement probably really irritates UK fans — and should keep the chip on the shoulder of UK players going into the Mississippi State game Oct. 22.
“Don’t get carried away thinking that this 2018 Kentucky team is different because of one road win over an opponent who didn’t offer SEC-caliber resistance,” Harris wrote. “Florida is a bad football team in its second game of a program overhaul under a brand-new staff.”