Kentucky’s name is usually thrown into the bottom of the barrel throughout college football talking season. That has changed after a ten-win season that culminated with a Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State.
Most preseason prognosticators forecast based on attrition and potential. Pro Football Focus uses an advanced algorithm that rewards teams for overachieving, a.k.a. beating teams they probably should not. That’s my best attempt to explain their methods in layman’s terms. Here’s how they describe the formula:
The Elo algorithm updates a team’s rating dynamically through using the outcome of a game versus what was expected to happen in a game, assigning bigger bumps to teams that upset great teams than teams that narrowly beat teams for which they are big favorites. The PFF version uses PFF grades for every facet of play to derive what the score of a game should have been based on an ensemble of models that weigh positive and negative plays in said facets.
Even though Kentucky is losing Josh Allen, Benny Snell and its entire secondary, Mark Stoops consistently put his team in a position to win in 2018, regardless of circumstance. That’s why Kentucky is the preseason No. 19 team in the country, according to PFF.
Four UK opponents also crack the Top 25: No. 4 Georgia, No. 8 Florida, No. 15 Mississippi State and No. 17 Missouri.
Typically the preseason press clippings are nothing more than motivation for a UK team that carries a chip on their shoulder. There will be plenty more of that over the next 99 days, but it feels good to be in the mix, if only for once.