The Cats cracked the Top 25 in both the Coaches and AP Poll yesterday, and they’re in the top 20 of ESPN’s new power rankings too. After the first weekend of Big 12 and ACC games, Chris Low has Kentucky holding steady at No. 17, praising the Cats’ defense, particularly DeAndre Square.
“The Wildcats have been outstanding under Mark Stoops at developing difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball,” Low writes. “The next guy up could be junior weakside linebacker DeAndre Square. He flashed All-SEC potential in each of the past two seasons but has the speed, instincts and versatility to be one of the league’s more productive defenders in 2020 after finishing second on Kentucky’s team a year ago with 69 total tackles.”
Eight SEC teams are in the Top 25 — six in the top ten — including Auburn. Low has the Tigers at No. 10.
“Don’t feel too sorry for Auburn in losing defensive line stalwarts Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Defensive line has never been a problem for the Tigers under coordinator Kevin Steele and veteran defensive line coach Rodney Garner and won’t be again this season. Freshman tackle Jay Hardy has star potential. Senior tackle Daquan Newkirk is as healthy as he’s been, and junior college newcomer Dre Butler is another tackle the Tigers like along with returning seniors Big Kat Bryant at end and Tyrone Truesdell at tackle.”
Other Kentucky opponents: 1. Alabama, 4. Georgia, 5. Florida, 14. Tennessee. If you’re curious, Louisville is right behind the Cats at No. 18.