When it comes to sports and our favorite team, we as fans tend to get a bit over emotional. Take the crying Giants fan as an example. While you may not
be a giant pussy be as emotional as that guy, you’ve probably found yourself bothered by an outcome of a game at some point in your life. Through observation, I’ve noticed that these emotions are seemingly more magnified when fan opinion is split on who the head coach should be. There’s no doubt performance on the football field has slipped in recent years at Kentucky, and depending on who you talk to, performance may not be likely to improve this season. So far on the young season the offense has improved greatly from last season’s numbers, but the defense has taken a great step back. Since we’re only two weeks into the season and opinions on teams are usually formed around this time of year (unfairly I may add), I went back and looked through Joker’s tenure and examined stats through two games and compared them to the final season totals. Below is the chart containing such data along with an explanation.
First, an explanation to some of the foreign terms. Pass and Rush Yards per Attempt are fairly self explanatory, yards gained on average per passing or rushing attempt. Turnover percentage is a statistic I created to indicate how efficient a team is with the ball. For instance last years Kentucky squad turned the ball over on 14.3% of their drives. And finally Offensive/Defensive Points per Possession are simply points scored and allowed divided by total drives, the higher on offense the better and vice-versa.
Right off the bat we learn that second game stats tell us little about the overall strength of a team, but that’s to be expected given the nature of our early season scheduling (It’s the same around all FBS Football). But, one thing these numbers do tell us is that a regression is unavoidable, only question being how big the inevitable will be. It’s near impossible to tell just how big it will be, but if the past is any indicator it will certainly be a struggle entering the SEC slate. In terms of Points Allowed per Possession the defense has never been this bad after two games under Joker. Every other defensive stat is worse this season as well (compared to last year), not only are teams able to move the ball down the field efficiently against Kentucky, they’re able to do so without threat of turning the ball over.
Something more concerning after two games is how slight the per possession scoring margin is currently. In 2010 the margin after two games was 1.733, in 2011 it was .963, but now it’s only a slight .365, and the downfall in previous seasons has been severe once the SEC gauntlet began. If history is any indication, these change in numbers will be significant, and with teams like Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee on the schedule I have much doubt that this season will not be unlike the previous ones.