I’m not sure what is with the WhatIfSports prediction engine and actually giving Kentucky a chance anymore. Last week against Arkansas it projected a 23-16 Razorbacks victory — in four quarters of play. Obviously the 49 points Tyler Wilson and Company put up in just three quarters makes that simulation a total bust. Wilson and his Razorbacks took the field as a four-loss team, but eyeing the Cats as a punching bag. Safe to say a season’s worth of frustration was exhausted on Kentucky in those 40 minutes.
Without even looking at the box score I can tell you what happened: Kentucky’s passing game was non-existent and the run game did nothing. On the other side, Tyler Wilson had no trouble threading the needle to his wide open receivers, and the Razorbacks ground attack hardly had to break a sweat to move the chains. Add that up, 40 minutes later, it’s 49-7.
So if you’re Joker Phillips, where do you go from there? How do you build off a 42-point loss to a 2-4 team that likely would have been even worse if not for the sky opening up to stop the carnage? Do you come back home and play inspired football for Homecoming week? Traditionally Kentucky plays Georgia well, despite the rankings. Last season it was “only” a nine-point loss on the road, and the season before was not a blow-out at home.
But this season, this Georgia team is just like that Arkansas squad the Cats faced last week… but legitimately good. Not one of those Mark Richt hype-machines. Georgia is averaging 41 points per game; against teams better than Kentucky. So you don’t need me to tell you the simulation is probably not even in the same stadium. But for consistency’s sake, here is this week’s WIS projection of a 25-12 Georgia win. It gives Kentucky a 15.8% chance of victory.
Go ahead, you can laugh now.
Are you finished laughing? Wipe away the tears and we’ll try to get through this together.
Where to begin? How about the 16 first downs that Kentucky is expected to gain? They picked up six against Arkansas; which could be expanded to eight through four quarters. Georgia’s defense is light years better than Arkansas’ so expect to hear a little less of the chain gang moving forward that what WIS says.
But here is a question for you: If Carl Nathe yells, “FIRST DOOOOOOWN KENTUCKY!” and nobody is there to hear it, did he really make a sound?
In a bit of good news, WIS predicts Kentucky to convert its first fourth-down attempt of the season. The Cats are 0-for-10 this season, so converting for the first time will be a step in the right direction. Small victories, people.
For Georgia, Aaron Murray is every bit as good as Tyler Wilson is for Arkansas. He is working a 62% completion rate, and is a main reason for Georgia posting as may points as they have. Remember how easily Wilson picked apart the Kentucky secondary? Even with Ashley Lowery and Cartier Rice back in the lineup, Murray is going to have a field day. Kentucky may be able to slow him down — but it’ll take a miracle to stop him.
Vegas has made Georgia a 27-point favorite in this one. The courage of WhatIfSports is admirable, sticking to a close game in Commonwealth Stadium, but foolish. It took Arkansas about nine minutes to build a 14-point lead over Kentucky. So a 13-point projected victory for Georgia is only part of what will be laughable on Saturday.