I know, I know. It’s another football post. This season has been horrible. The Cats are staring a winless SEC season in the face for the first time since 2000. It’s not fun to talk about, especially with basketball season tipping off on Thursday.
But before we put the football team to bed in the next several weeks, I want to begin doing some analysis on what the heck went wrong. Other than the obvious, “we suck” or “Joker sucks,” I want to look at the stats; letting the numbers paint a picture for what happened with this team.
I’m starting by comparing the scoring of Kentucky versus its nine opponents thus far, and how they score their points. Broken down by quarter, you can see the total number of points scored by the nine opponents versus UK. The results shouldn’t shock you, because we all know Kentucky is 1-8 on the season. But it does give us a bit of insight on how Joker Phillips is preparing his team each week.
Kentucky has one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Even in the most ideal scenario, Kentucky likely wouldn’t be in too much of a better place than they are now. However, more than just wins and losses, the total points scored tell a tale of how this team progresses through each game, and how the team has progresses over the course of the last two seasons.
Opponents of Kentucky have blown open the game with 80 points, compared to Kentucky’s measly 17. If it weren’t for the past two weeks against Georgia and Missouri and the offense finding the end zone in the first quarter for the first time in its last 20 games that number would represent a lone field goal.
The second quarter has been Kentucky’s most productive so far, scoring 65 points. But that is really not saying much; Kentucky’s best still comes up short against their opponent’s worst. But in the games Kentucky was perhaps the most competitive, against Kent State and South Carolina, the Cats scored the majority of points in the second quarter.
Ironically, the second quarter is also the best for their opponents. Louisville, Western Kentucky, Florida and Georgia all did most of their damage against the Cats in the second quarter. And Arkansas was just piling on. If Kentucky is to be a “second quarter team,” it is certainly being lost in the fact the defense surrenders the most amount of points in that frame.
Moving to quarter number three, Kentucky’s opponents are cashing it in, the defense is often softer and reserves are checking in, right? Things are looking up for the offense. Time to move the chains and chip away? Not so much. Kentucky’s offense is actually slightly less productive in the second half, scoring 47 percent of its total points there. Not a drastic statistic by any means, but considering most of Kentucky’s opponents should be weakening its forces late in the game, does that suggest Joker Phillips is making bad halftime adjustments?
A season ago, Kentucky was scoring more points in the second half, at 53 percent.
The fourth quarter, where Kentucky’s opponents are leading by an average of two touchdowns, is the next-weakest for the Cats. There is no “finish strong” for the team so far. Literally, teams are holding big leads and points are still not being made. Do these numbers suggest the Cats are giving up?
I’m enjoying this football season just as much as the next guy. Which is not at all. But in my quest to discover how this team is fairing quarter to quarter, I now have more questions than answers. Nothing about this data is good, but maybe a visual like this will be just another nail in Joker’s coffin.
— Thanks to Clark for the story concept