Kentucky football is not usually the most sought after sport in the bluegrass.
With basketball being the grandest stage in Lexington, football takes a back seat. You tend to see college co-eds walking around with the infamous saying on their shirts "We're a drinking school, with a football problem."
Five years ago I would have agreed with that t-shirt. But after seeing the fine work that Rich Brooks did at the helm—taking a team that was on probation thanks to the Hal Mumme era and turning them into a winning program in maybe the toughest college football conference in the country—I'm not so sure.
Brooks stepped down as head football coach for Kentucky at the end of last season and coach in waiting Joker Phillips now owns the keys to the castle. Phillips, once a player for UK, has been a very successful recruiter for the university and looks to continue to bring in talented players for the 'Cats.
Without a doubt Phillips knows how to run an offense, seeing as how in the 2007 season the Wildcats finished in the top 15 in points scored. He has quite the offense coming back this upcoming season, returning offensive juggernaut Randall Cobb and the speedy Derrick Locke to the backfield.
But the new coach has a tough decision to make with the quarterback situation this season in Lexington. It is a tight three-way race between senior Mike Hartline and sophomore's Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski.
Hartline brings the experience to the table, but can be terribly inconsistent at times. Newton will be the fan favorite going into the season. He adds a little spark to the Wildcats offense and also received some playing time last season that could work to his benefit.
Mossakowski seems to be the odd man out coming into the season, but he has the best arm out of the three quarterbacks. Still, he has a little too much inexperience to throw him behind center versus some of the rough SEC competition.
The question as it is every season is how will the defense be?
The Wildcats have struggled defensively in recent memory. In order to do any damage against SEC foes, they will need to be good on both sides of the ball. The 'Cats look to have a very inexperienced defense which could cause problems for them.
Kentucky football fans used to be okay with a winning season and a bowl appearance, but the standards are beginning to raise a little with each season after Brooks did a phenomenal job bringing this program back from the dead.
Kentucky fans will be searching for a little extra this season. The 'Cats most likely will not be able to battle with the likes of Georgia and Florida, but asking for a victory against a down Tennessee Volunteers program is not out of the question.
The Wildcats will be looking to pick up a couple more wins off of last season's record, and they should have the offensive firepower to do so.
If Kentucky can make it to its fifth straight bowl game, it would be a great accomplishment, and baring any injuries that should happen. Regardless of the record, though, this year's team is something to be excited about due in large part to the fact that Randall Cobb is a walking highlight reel.
All in all fans should be excited in Lexington for their new coach. He is young and has the recruiting ability to make something special happen at Commonwealth Stadium.
Saturday's should be quite the event come fall in the bluegrass.