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Kentucky: Scheduling Masochists?


Like this, but sports.

Opposing fanbases can say what they will about UK, but there’s at least one thing they can’t claim next year: that Kentucky doesn’t play anybody good.  In both of the two “main” sports, football and basketball, the University sports one of the hardest schedules in the country.

In football, just being in the SEC is tough enough, as is evidenced by the Cats’ usually poor record in conference play.  When the last eleventy championships have all come from the same conference, pretty safe to say the teams are pretty solid throughout.  But more than just being in the SEC, the Cats have probably the toughest slate in the league on top of that.  Next season, the Cats have all the East teams (including Florida, USC, and Georgia) AND have to play Alabama.  In fact, SEC football blog Saturday Down South thinks that the Cats have the toughest schedule in the SEC next season, with an average opponent win percentage of 67.3% in 2012-13.  The toughest schedule in the nation’s toughest league?  Transitive property says that the Cats have the hardest road of anybody in the nation.

Meanwhile, in basketball, the road is tough, but for completely different reasons.  For all the dominance the SEC has had in football, as a basketball league, we’re struggling.  There have been a share of championships in the last decade, but those have come from only Florida and Kentucky.  The rest of the league has been woefully disappointing.  But that hasn’t stopped Kentucky from still having one of the hardest schedules year in and year out.  Only instead of getting the hard games in conference, Coach Cal and Co. have to look outside to satiate the need for intense competition.  Just look at next year.  Of the teams consistently projected to be in the top five or six (Kentucky, Michigan State, Louisville, Duke, North Carolina), Kentucky plays all but themselves, and Duke.  And that’s just because we played Duke this past year.  With those teams returning so many players (Russ Smith, Gary Harris, James McAdoo, just to name a few), you can expect them all to be legitimate Final Four contenders.  In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a rematch of one of those games should Kentucky make it to Dallas like they plan.

So what does this say about the University?  That we have bad luck in football scheduling, and an aggressive basketball coach?  You could say that, sure.  But I’d rather look at it and say that we’re just not scared to play anybody.  Will we lose more than if we played easy teams?  Obviously.  Is it worth it?  I’d say so.  That way, even if we lose, either in football or basketball, nobody can say we lost to chumps (except Robert Morris).  What about you, though?  Would you rather see an easier schedule for one of the sports?  For both?

Article written by Corey Nichols

29 Comments for Kentucky: Scheduling Masochists?

  1. Scott
    9:08 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    The beauty of this post is that Louisville trolls will have to google “Masochist” before talking smack.

  2. Twitter Account Denied
    9:11 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    So you are saying UK is macho, right? I’m confused….

  3. Michael F. Jox
    9:11 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I stopped reading when I got to “eleventy”

  4. slimflannery
    9:13 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I think a tough schedule prepares the team for the tourney. Michigan State usually plays a tough pre-conference schedule, picking up a couple losses. But Izzo’s teams tend to do well in March. I prefer the games against top teams rather than the teams that provide an opportunity for the entire team to play before halftime.

  5. David from Bowling Green
    9:14 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Mark STOOPS LIVE on NFL-AM TV in just moments!!

  6. Jpo
    9:14 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    3. Good for you man!! Keep us updated throughout the day on how much you read.

  7. Robster
    9:15 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Bring IT !!

  8. RahRah
    9:16 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I too think it’s good prep for the ncaat. I felt our schedule last season was weak and look where that got us. Gotta play the best to be the best.
    CATS 2014!

  9. ktmiln2
    9:19 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    3. Allow me to help. It’s pronounce eleven-tee. As in the number 11 (the number after 10), plus a “t” sound on the end, like the tea you drink. Is that good enough for you to finish the post now?

  10. Russdiculous sucks big d*ckulous
    9:19 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Corey, you have good ideas regarding topics to write on…but I think statistics would make your pieces substantially better. Maybe compare Kentucky’s schedule with other top teams to support your statement. Otherwise you can claim whatever you want and it doesn’t really matter. Just a suggestion.

  11. RICK
    9:20 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I like the tough schedule, those games are more nerve racking and you need more beer to calm you down.GO CATS BEAT WESTERN.

  12. WTF Joker
    9:23 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    hahahahahahaha please everyone look at Joker’s last tweet smh…

  13. Michael F. Jox
    9:28 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    #6 – No problem, man. I’ll keep you and your mom updated. .
    #9 – Not one bit.

  14. Billy
    9:28 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I like tough schedules. Just wish Cal would renew the Indiana game. Seems like UK was scared this past year.

  15. UKfaninVA
    9:28 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t help but poke holes in the argument that our basketball and football programs are out there making the toughest schedules they can. The part I cannot debate, is that UK football has a brutal SEC schedule, that does make it one of the toughest overall schedules in the country. However, in terms of what we can control, I have real issues with the scheduling.

    1. In the games it can control, football plays Western KY, Miami OH (4-8 last year with one decent win), Louisville who we kind of have to play and have tried to get out of in recent years, and freakin’ Alabama State (who did not make the 24 team FCS playoffs).
    2. In 2014 UK football already has UT Martin on the schedule. They lost to EKU at home last year.
    3. I appreciate how basketball plays some big boys out of conference. My two problems in between those games are: (1) Do the games in between quality opponents have to be SOOO bad? (2) Can we not at least act like it’s college basketball in the least bit anymore, and play teams in home and homes instead of neutral sites? Let’s play Duke in a home and home instead of Brooklyn and Atlanta or wherever else.
    4. If you are a basketball season ticket holder, your non-conference home slate last year was Lafayette, Morehead State, LIU Brooklyn, Baylor, Samford, Portland, Lipscomb, Marshall, and Eastern Michigan. No one can defend that as anything other than garbage for the fans.

    I personally find our scheduling in both programs extremely frustrating.

  16. MC
    9:36 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll take the 3 championships over the past decade over the Big 10’s 1 since 1990.

  17. CatsFan12
    9:40 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    It seems to be working for UL with the weak football schedule. They have a very easy schedule this upcoming year. Yet there is still talk of BCS National Title game if they go undefeated. Maybe we should join a cake conference. I know I shouldn’t be talking smack because they beat us, but they are in a very weak football conference. If you deny that they aren’t you are either a UL fan, or you are incompetent.

  18. Jpo
    9:41 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    14. Yeah scared of their insane fans. I don’t care if UK ever goes back to that place.

  19. cayts
    9:48 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks for clarifying that Kentucky does not play itself.

  20. UKBlue1!
    9:55 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    The basketball schedule need more upgrading. UT,UF and Ole Miss all figure to be good. Alabama just lost one of their best players. Mizzu, Miss St, GA, AU, T A&M are all rebuilding or God awful. LSU, USC and Arkansas will be better. I would like to see Calipari add another team or two to MSt,UNC, Baylor, Prov and UL. A couple of non conference losses aren’t going to hurt us. I think we will go 17-1 or 16-2 worse case in conference because it will be weak again. Football schedule is brutal. Alabama, USC, GA, and UF are all top 10 team potential. Vandy, MSU, and UofL should all finish in the top 25. Al ST., WKU, UT and Mizzu are the teams I see us having legit chances at beating this year. I would like to see the SEC use a scheduling system like the NFL. Keep the rival and where you finish you play that team from the west the next season. Example 7th place team plays #7 or #1 plays #1. We shouldn’t be stuck playing Alabama.

  21. me
    10:01 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    #15 – I get where you’re coming from, and agree that I’d rather be playing at least somewhat solid opponents instead of the community college filler. But Cal made an interesting point a couple of years ago, explaining that we need a number of soft games near the beginning of the year to help the team get into their groove and learn to play together. Those games can almost be considered fancy practices.

  22. UKBlue1!
    10:07 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    #17. UL will be playing VA Tech, FSU, Miami, Ga Tech a couple of games each year. There schedule is about to receive a major upgrade. The ACC is looking at going to a 9 game conference schedule due to TV. If they win there division they will have to play in a conference championship game. Their road to a BCS game is going to get much tougher. NOT as tough as the SEC but tougher than the BiG Least 7 game slate they are use too.

  23. Big Blue B-Rad
    10:10 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    15) I would personally like to schedule a home and home with Duke. However, it would never happen because Coach K won’t play any tough opponents out of conference, unless the game’s on a neutral site or in Cameron.
    18) You should go look up “Classy IU fans” on youtube. I thought they were obnoxious while I was watching the game. What I didn’t know was that their fans were chanting “F*&k Kentucky!” During Pre-game warm-ups.

  24. Biglaw Dawgin'
    10:49 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah, that schedule is brutal. 5 wins is about all we can hope for, and 6 would be a miracle. When we have a losing record next year, don’t jump off the football bandwagon just yet. 2014 will be when the progress actually shows.

  25. Feesh
    11:24 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Its easiest to have the toughest schedule in the SEC when you’re the worst team. Alabama doesnt have to play Alabama, they have to play Kentucky. And Kentucky doesnt get to play Kentucky. See how that works? Quit bitching about the schedule being so tough when the reason that its so tough is that YOU SUCK.

  26. Duh
    11:55 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    One issue. We will actually play all of those teams other than Duke, because we will play ourselves at big blue madness and we’ll win!

  27. delusional=UK
    11:57 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    UK plays an out of conference schedule on par with most of the top teams in the country, but an SEC schedule doesn’t compare to what the Big East was (10+ games against ranked conference opponents) or what the ACC will be. Keep lying to yourself blewies but UofL bball has a much tougher schedule.

  28. Rod Morman
    1:00 pm April 25, 2013 Permalink

    By comparison to today’s plethora of weak schedules, our schedule looks pretty tough. Comapred to the schedules we played in the 60s and 70s it is rather bland, especially the OOC home schedule!!!!! In those days the weaker teams we played were in conference or in the early rounds of the NCAA. The current schedule is timid by comparison. Near the end of the Joe Hall era, UK and everyone else began littering their schedules with directional schools and mid-majors, until today we have an abundance of games that are about as much fun to watch as cleaning out my cats’ litter boxes.

  29. Buck588
    1:21 pm April 25, 2013 Permalink

    UK’s basketball schedule is weak sauce. Why play a neutral court game in Alabama when you could play Murray State or WKU in Louisville or Nashville? It’s stupid. I’d much rather see games with those two schools than Eastern Michigan.