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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Have’s and Have Not’s of SEC Football

The excitement surrounding Mark Stoops and the football program is really amazing, considering where the program dipped at the end of the Joker Phillips era.  Recruiting has been a boom, which is always a good place to start.  It seems the right assistant hires were made, and there is a new passion from the fanbase surrounding the program.  But moreso in football than in basketball, there is a rigid hierarchy in the SEC standings that tends to follow a similar trend year after year after year.  And Kentucky has unfortunately been on the wrong side of that hierarchy for a long time.  For example, here is where each team in the SEC has finished in their division over the last 10 SEASONS.  Missouri and Texas A&M were left out of this breakdown:

Georgia: 1, 1, 3, 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1
Florida: 2, 3, 2, 1, 1, 3, 1, 3, 3, 3
Tennessee: 6, 6, 4, 3, 5, 2, 2, 5, 1, 2
South Carolina: 3, 2, 1, 5, 4, 5, 5, 2, 4, 4
Kentucky: 7, 5, 5, 4, 6, 4, 4, 6, 5, 5
Vanderbilt: 4, 4, 6, 6, 3, 6, 6, 4, 6, 6

LSU: 2, 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1
Alabama: 1, 2, 4, 1, 1, 5, 4, 3, 3, 5
Auburn: 7, 4, 1, 5, 5, 2, 2, 2, 1, 3
Arkansas: 6, 3, 2, 4, 4, 3, 1, 4, 4, 4
Ole Miss: 5, 6, 6, 3, 2, 6, 5, 6, 5, 2
Mississippi State: 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 4, 6, 5, 6, 6

Let’s take the East Division first.  Consider that in 5 of the 10 seasons, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee have finished 1-2-3 in some order.  Half of the seasons, the top half of the division have been occupied by the same 3 teams.  Florida and Georgia have finished in the Top 3 in the conference in ALL 10 SEASONS.  In fact, Florida and Georgia have both been in the top 3 of the SEC East division EVERY YEAR since 1997.  And when you take Vanderbilt and Kentucky, in their 20 seasons combined, they have finished 3rd or better in the conference ONCE.  In those 20 seasons, that is 5 combined head coaches amongst the schools.  Multiple men have tried and failed to bring those 2 schools out of the East Division cellar.  Now, in the last 3 years, South Carolina has replaced Tennessee as the 3rd power in the division, but that hasn’t meant much upward mobility from UK and VU.

In the West, LSU has roamed the top of the league for the entire 10 year stretch, finishing in the Top 3 every year.  Alabama has certainly stabilized over the last 5 years with no end in sight.  Auburn and Arkansas have generally lingered in the middle of the division (besides Auburn’s national champion year) and then the Mississippi schools sit at the bottom of the division nearly every year.  What’s amazing is people think Dan Mullen has done a fantastic job at Mississippi State but they have never finished above 4th in that division.

What about recruiting?  Where has each school finished in the recruiting rankings within the conference over the last 6 years?

Alabama: 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1
LSU: 5, 3, 4, 4, 2, 3
Florida: 3, 2, 9, 1, 10, 4
Georgia: 4, 6, 2, 7, 3, 2
Auburn: 7, 4, 1, 3, 6, 5
South Carolina: 10, 5, 6, 8, 5, 8
Tennessee: 12, 10, 5, 6, 4, 9
Ole Miss: 6, 14, 8, 7, 10, 7
Mississippi St: 9, 7, 11, 5, 10, 8
Arkansas: 11, 8, 7, 9, 9, 6
Kentucky: 14, 11, 10, 11, 11, 11
Vanderbilt: 8, 13, 12, 12, 12, 12

Remember the HAVE’s in the list above of conference finishes?  Florida, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn.  Look at the 5 teams with the best recruiting success over the last 6 years.  I think you’ll find some similarities.  Now, you might say that it’s obvious that recruiting success relates to on-field success.  Which is true.  Not breaking any barriers with that theory.  But the point is, there seems to be little movement on the teams who do the best in recruiting, which leads to the wins.  A group of 5 teams essentially hog all the wins in the league, all the recruiting success in return, and the cycle repeats.

So what does that mean for Kentucky?  Well, it means it will require your PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE.  I think taking a look at South Carolina is a perfect example.  Steve Spurrier is one of the best coaches in the game and it took him SIX SEASONS to see real success there.  Mark Stoops has quite the uphill battle ahead of him.  But so do the fans.  Because you are going to have to remain patient with this program if you want to see real success.  Are you will to take 2 or 3 straight 5 and 6 win seasons with the hopes of 7, 8, and 9 win seasons after that?  I certainly hope so, because that is almost certainly going to be the case.

Oh, by the way, Mark Stoops’s 2014 class currently ranks 9th in the SEC.  Or, the best spot in the league rankings in 7 years.  Not a bad start.

Follow me on twitter @BryantheIntern

Article written by Bryan the Intern

28 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Have’s and Have Not’s of SEC Football

  1. Burr
    9:02 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    BTI Sucks!

  2. Burr
    9:04 am May 23, 2013 Permalink


  3. Belly Button Lint
    9:07 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    So what your saying is Kentucky has no chance at winning an SEC championship, let me tell you my friend that numbers are not everything. If we get the mike Edwards Darius west Berrios and Kief level players than what Kentucky takes to the field will be unlike any Kentucky team of the past. I see us being highly successful and hyper competitive.

  4. blueballs14
    9:09 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Wow, that was your best, shortest,..yet most informative post ever. Keep up the sucking!!

  5. Go Deep
    9:09 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Capitalized and bolded PAITENCE……

  6. The Real JD
    9:10 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    BTI Sucks!

  7. uk econ
    9:13 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    You should have presented the information in a more readable/presentable manor e.g. a table. Otherwise, a good article.

  8. Chas
    9:18 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Or patience patience patience?

    9:21 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    BTI IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. tom
    9:28 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    at long last…substance has returned to the 9am slot.

  11. Devastation INC
    9:36 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    little hard to read but still way better than Corey and good point about spurrier. Hate that guy but he is a hell of a coach and it did take him a while to get SC respectable. UK football is still in for a long ride.

  12. Uhh
    9:37 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Ahhhh. Typos and all, substance returns. Good move Matt bringing BTI back.

  13. claiborne_field
    9:39 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Great article- South Carolina is a GREAT example of what UK can be. If they can be successful in the SEC, UK certainly can be. And I agree, it starts with recruiting…

  14. Axe Cop
    9:45 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I now looking forward to BTI posts?

  15. bon voyage
    9:46 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    “Oh, by the way, Mark Stoops’s 2014 class currently ranks 9th in the SEC. Or, the best spot in the league rankings in 7 years.”
    Being 9th in the league in recruiting, only because its the best UK has done in 7 years, is supposed to be an accomplishment? And we won’t be 9th when the ink is dry and the LOI’s are signed. UK will rank 11-14th, like always. I could be optimistic about it if UK played itself 8 times, and not 8 other SEC teams that will more than likely have had higher recruiting classes EVERY year the previous 4 years prior FOREVER.

    #3 Yes, that is what he is saying. UK has no chance at winning an SEC FB championship. Period. Do you find it so far-fetched to say Auburn will never win an SEC basketball championship? I don’t, and UK FB is the equivalent of Auburn BB.

  16. notbillyg
    9:50 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    All I see if lots of numbers and suck.

  17. notbillyg
    9:50 am May 23, 2013 Permalink


  18. BTI only kind of sucks
    9:53 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    I must say, for as horrible as he is, BTI makes this site much better with his informative, analytical posts each morning. I used to hop on here every morning to see the newest one, and the past year or two I haven’t been able to do so.

  19. yesterday's wine
    10:31 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Good info BTI

  20. I love numbers #3
    10:37 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Because numbers don’t lie. What has to happen then is a game changer that will flips the hierarchy. The problem is that as soon as UK flips the hierarchy another school will attempt to flip it back immediately because of the stigma attached to losing to UK.

  21. tltaworl
    10:39 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Wait, so what you are saying is 4 teams typically are a top the SEC east. Aaaaand 2 teams are at the bottom. And recruiting also breaks down this way.

    This is truly groundbreaking info! Thanks for sharing, and bolding.

  22. Sheeeeiiit
    11:00 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    15 and BTI – That makes a lot of sence. It sucks but I think your right. The most we can hope for is an exciting version of UK FB. I think they have a good chance at delivering that at least. A big problem here is UK fans can expect a major change from year to year in BB. Example is last year NIT to this year we hope to win the NC. This is not possible in FB. I am no FB expert but I can see that it takes serious momentum and long term recruiting success to win big. But I am not sure most fans will relax and not expect a big change overnight. Hopefully an exciting version of UK FB will get us a big upset each year to keep fans support.

  23. Rae
    11:01 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    BTI at least puts effort into his sucking.

  24. Musehobo
    11:23 am May 23, 2013 Permalink

    Effort: A
    Interesting: B
    Organization: D+
    Moral: C+
    Length: C-

    GPA for the semester, 2.4, have a great summer!

  25. Mr. Pulitzer
    12:02 pm May 23, 2013 Permalink

    This is a very substantive post. Substance has been sorely missed from this journalistic endeavor in the morning hours. Putting aside the incredible amount of suck, Bravo Mr. Intern, Bravo. Our jury will convene soon.

  26. Duuuuuude
    12:19 pm May 23, 2013 Permalink

    OK……that was good!

  27. Reality
    12:23 pm May 23, 2013 Permalink

    #3 How does getting mike Edwards Darius west Berrios and Kief level players change anything? While those kids would be among the best UK has ever gotten, they are equal to average to below average recruits in the classes of Bama, LSU, UGA, FL, and even TN again apparently. Will not win an SEC title unti about 11 of our SEC foes go on 3 years probation all at the same time.

  28. BTI_Backer
    6:31 pm May 23, 2013 Permalink

    What’s wrong, mad that BTI isn’t telling you how ROSY things are in UK Football land? Lefkoe was right when he ripped Versace, you go where people stroke your ego and make you feel smart. Stoops has done a lot over the few months he has been here but it’s going to take a lot to change the perception.