Painful, but true.
"LSU was national champion last year," Lyons said.
Wait a minute. LSU is in the Western Division. It's South Carolina, not LSU, that is also being picked ahead of Kentucky in the East.
"That's right. But they beat us last year, too," Lyons said.
Ouch. Right again, even if UK was third in the SEC East in 2006 and fourth in 2007.
Phil Steele's Southeastern Conference Preview sums up why the Wildcats are bracketed in the No. 5 spot this year.
"They have their best defense yet under (Rich) Brooks, and while I pick them fifth, I'll bet that not a lot of teams in the country would be picked above fifth in the ever-so-tough SEC East," Steele wrote.
'We are just starting to make progress'
Steele did show Kentucky more respect than some by naming cornerback Trevard Lindley to his all-SEC first team and put Jarmon and Lyons, who has basically been ignored on other preseason teams, on his second team along with offensive tackle Garry Williams.
"Teams picked ahead of us, including South Carolina, have earned respect for a decade," Lyons said. "We are just starting to make progress. We have had two eight-win seasons in a row, but in the SEC that is nothing. Everybody expects to win eight games.
"We know we are on our way up. We just have to use stuff like this as motivation, but we can't take it personal."
Jarmon says the overall lack of respect is almost a given among the players.
"It's easy to play for Kentucky when you have people all around the country doubting you," Jarmon said. "That motivates players, especially when you have had success. We go out to represent not only ourselves, but our state, our university and our conference. We play for pride.
"It's easy for preseason polls and magazines to send the wrong message about Kentucky. It's almost like people either forgot we won eight games the last two years or they just don't believe we have any more good players. Either way, you just let that motivate you."
To get better, UK's defense must improve. In the last two years, UK has allowed about 29 points per game. The Cats only won eight games each year because of a potent offense. In five of the last six years, Kentucky has given up more than 30 points per game in SEC play.
Kentucky is also next to last in the SEC in NFL draft picks during the last 10 year despite having four players drafted off the 2007 team.
"We still have a lot to prove," Lyons said. "You can't get mad over that. Facts are facts. If you want respect, you have to earn respect.
"Myself, I see this year as a great opportunity for our team. We have a bunch of no-name guys apparently, but we have talent. We play a great schedule, so we have a chance to show what we can do just like we did last year against LSU.
"You can pout and feel sorry for yourself over where you are picked. Or you can go out and prove people wrong. Me, I think this team is going to prove people wrong and have a lot of fun doing it."