Kentucky’s in-state college football offers…where they are perceived to rank top to bottom

Don’t ask us from where we got this idea. Matter of fact, don’t ask us from whence any of our crazy ideas spawn.

That said, we decided to publish one of our controversial and crazy lists. Our lists very often engender quite a bit of controversy and debate and usually make the magazine phone ring clean off the hook. Some staff take the opportunity to schedule vacation when these go online but the present state of affairs took that option off the shelf.

For this list we decided to do the following: If you were a 2021-prospect and were to receive an offer from one of Kentucky’s 17 in-state college programs, list for us in order from top to bottom the program from which you would most relish receiving an offer to the program from which you might least-relish being offered.

First and foremost an offer from any of the 17 is both a considerable honor and quite an accomplishment. Only roughly 5% of high school football players even play college football so you are in elite company regardless of which of the 17 happens to be the offeror.

Still, some are perceived more of an honor than others. We wanted to see how they likely ranked. Obviously, we couldn’t canvas everyone around the commonwealth so there is a considerable margin of error here.

First, we had to find people willing to rank the programs from first to last. Then we had to agree we wouldn’t “out” any of these guys who feared their participation would result in some negative “blow-back” from some of these programs bereft at not finishing as high on the list as they would have liked.

Like we above said, this list is riddled with error. Only ten people agreed to participate.

Of the ten, there were 3 present coaches (2-HCs/1-coordinator) at the high school level. One was from the mountains, one from around Louisville, and one from the western end of the commonwealth along the Tennessee/Kentucky line. Four of the panelists were over 50, three were between 25-50, and three were still in high school and presently playing football in the KHSAA.

There were 2 former head coaches at the high school level. One was from the dead-middle of the commonwealth and the other from the Northern-KY area.

There were two members of the media who regularly cover high school football. There were 2 players in the class of 2021 and going through the process presently and 1 player who is a class of 2022 guy and not too heavily involved in recruiting to date.

This list doesn’t represent which of these teams would beat the other. This list doesn’t represent which of these teams had “better programs” than another.

This list represents how an offer from these programs is “perceived” by in-state players and the coaches to whom they will turn for advice, should they be fortunate enough to receive an offer or even multiple in-state offers.

There are some surprises in the order you will find. At least, we were surprised. The measure of prestige didn’t exactly align with the team’s level of competition. There were D-1s who didn’t finish as high as you might suppose and some NAIAs and D-3s who finished higher than one would have expected.

The level of competition not aligning with perceived prestige of offer didn’t surprise our magazine staff. In a commonwealth where a Pikeville (1A), a Mayfield (2A), and a Paducah Tilghman (3A) are as dreaded of an opponent as any Bowling Green Sr. High (5A) or DuPont Manual (6A), the apparently strange order was almost predictable. That is just, shall we say, Kentucky being Kentucky!

None of the magazine’s staff or family members were permitted to participate. Here is exactly what comprised the points you will see to the right of the school’s name.

If you were the top-slot on a ballot you were assigned 20-points. The numbers continued to descend until number 17 on the list, which was worth 4-points. If you take the total number of points and divide by 10 you should get the team’s average poll position.

Without future adieu, here are the results…please glance to the right!

If anything surprised us it was Centre College coming away the fifth most coveted offer among the 17-programs. Centre is a NCAA, D-3 school but it also enjoys the benefits of being Kentucky’s most academically prestigious program. We don’t know this for sure but suspect the overall high-acclaim afforded Centre as an institution of higher learning helped them in this poll considerably.

We were also surprised at Morehead finishing at the 9-slot. There were one D-3 and 2-NAIA schools which finished ahead of Morehead. We noticed Morehead did way better among our East-KY panelists than the West-KY guys. The fact Morehead is a Pioneer League school which competes at a non-athletic-scholarship level probably hurt its perception with the panel, particularly the present players going through the process.

Lindsey Wilson finished 2019 ranked highly in the final NAIA poll as did the University of the Cumberlands. Lindsey Wilson had finalist Marion down 18-0 deep in the playoffs before Marion came back to advance to face Morningside for all the marbles. These schools both performed well as we expected because they are each among the best teams, nationally, at their level of competition.

Georgetown finished higher on the four panelists ballots who were all over 50, and as high as 6th on two of the four, and not as well on the ballots of the present players. Georgetown’s rich tradition obviously helped them with the older guys.

We were pretty shocked Pikeville and Campbellsville didn’t finish higher. Don’t know to what to attribute it exactly but it was what it was.

Now, if your team finished lower than expected, you know you have work to do in the PR department to reshape both your message and image. You need to work hard on the recruiting trail informing kids why your program is on the rise. Lay out for them a plan for why they should invest in bringing the program back toward the top.

Either way, the results, surprising or not, are what they are. We hope you enjoyed it as this is another example of information you won’t find anywhere else.

This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!

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