LAS VEGAS – If you’re looking for a savvy SEC dark-horse pick this season, Brent Musburger has an intriguing selection to consider.
“You can’t consider LSU a dark horse, so you can’t go there. I would go to Kentucky,” Musburger told SEC Country on Thursday. “A little bit of a sleeper. They’re going to win some big games under Mark Stoops.”
The legendary broadcaster, who hosts a show called My Guys in the Desert for the Vegas Stats & Information Network, is wild about the Wildcats after Kentucky finished 7-6 last season. It was the Wildcats’ best year under Stoops since the coach arrived before the 2013 season.
Granted, Musburger isn’t picking Kentucky to make a surprise run to the SEC Championship Game for the first time in program history. He also told SEC Country that the winner of the Florida-Georgia game on Oct. 28 will represent the SEC East in Atlanta.
Still, Musburger says he likes Kentucky to win more games than expected because of how Stoops’ program has developed.
“I just think he has had enough time now to recruit some players, get his staff together,” Musburger said. “I like what I saw.”
Winning at least eight games would represent another step forward for Stoops, who guided the Wildcats to the TaxSlayer Bowl to cap the 2016 season. Before last year, Kentucky never earned more than five victories in a single season under Stoops.
The Wildcats will open their fifth campaign under Stoops when they visit Southern Miss on Sept. 2.
If Kentucky meets Musburger’s expectations, it would mark the first time the Wildcats appeared in consecutive bowl games since their run of five straight bowl appearances from 2006-10. The TaxSlayer Bowl berth last season ended Kentucky’s five-year bowl drought.
And yes, Musburger is big on Kentucky for a reason that goes beyond football. He holds fond memories of his time visiting the Bluegrass State.
“Besides,” Musburger said with a smile, “I liked the bourbon they would serve me when I was in Kentucky.”