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Kentucky vs. Missouri simulation

Maybe this WhatIfSports prediction engine isn’t so crazy after all. The big computer churned out its week eight predictions last time, and had Georgia winning 25-12 in Commonwealth Stadium. The Bulldogs actually won the game 29-24, with the Cats playing the No. 11 ranked team tightly throughout. It was a much different outcome than the weeks prior against the gauntlet of Florida, South Carolina and others. Maybe Kentucky is figuring something out, maybe the Cats just always play Georgia well, or maybe it’s just dumb luck. Whatever it is, hopefully we see more this week against Missouri.

Upon first glance in the box score, you see quarterback Aaron Murray torched the Cats secondary to the tune of 427 yards and four touchdowns. Not good. But look closer and you see the run defense held the Bulldogs to 77 yards on the ground on 32 attempts — so they were certainly trying to run the ball. Georgia came into the day averaging 230 rushing yards per game.

If there ever were a winnable SEC game on the schedule, this would be the one. The Tigers are still searching for their first conference win as a member of the Southeastern Conference, and the Cats are looking for their first of the season. Something’s got to give. With the game on the road, WIS predicts a 20-15 Missouri victory, and gives the Cats just a 30.2% chance of victory. Missouri is a 14-point favorite in Vegas.

Last week you had to wonder how Joker Phillips would rally his team following a 49-7 dismantling in Fayetteville, Arkansas the game before. Now you have to wonder how his team will respond following a close game that they “woulda, shoulda, coulda” had.

WhatIfSports projects a fairly even matchup on both sides — and evenly matched is how both teams appear on paper right now. First downs, third down efficiency, rushing yards, passing yards, sacks, punts, penalties and time of possession are all very close for Kentucky and Missouri respectively.

After missing the last two games with a bummed ankle, Kentucky fans will get to see quarterback sensation Patrick Towles back at work. On the other side, the Tigers will be without their starting quarterback James Franklin, so the spread offense gets a lot less scary for the Cats defense than it otherwise would be. Traditionally, a spread is the kryptonite of Kentucky’s defense, so how they respond to a weakened unit will tell us plenty about where the attitudes of this team are.

It would be easy for this team to lay down at 1-7, now eliminated from bowl contention with still a handful of games remaining. Fan support is waning, if not plummeting, and more and more people are calling for your coach’s head. I do not envy how the Kentucky football players fell right now. So how will this team react?

The loser of this game will remain firmly at the bottom of the conference, with the company of Auburn and Tennessee. The winner… well it doesn’t gain much, but at least you won’t move on with a goose egg.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

14 Comments for Kentucky vs. Missouri simulation

    2:23 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone know the time and gate where the CATWALK will be? THANKS!

  2. breal1515
    2:28 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Bet the farm on the spread,,,1-8

  3. Wildcats Dominate
    2:31 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    I think the key factor in this game is that we’re Kentucky.

    Also, the mere thought that by winning out Joker will save his job is mindblowing to me. What about the past 3 years makes anyone want to say, “Oh yeah! Sign me up for some more of that!”?

  4. reality...
    2:35 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Another ‘football’ post? We all know UK has a game this weekend, and we all know we are dogs in Vegas. Why waste your time and our time. Look, the only importance of this game is it gets us one game closer to the end of the joker era / experiment.

    Side-bar – how ironic would it be if a 4th string QB (Towels) leads us to 2 or 3 “Ws” down the stretch?

  5. tltaworl
    2:44 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Honestly if Joker wins out he goes 5-7 with a young team and injured team. He only loses 1 game he should win (WKU) and wins 3 that people thought would be a challenge (Mizzou; Vandy; UT). It is just the way he lost the fan base with the first 7 games that will do him in.

    If he wins 4 in a row he probably stays but come on, how likely is that?

  6. JBR
    2:50 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Are we really still doing these ridiculous computer simulation things?

  7. Coffeeman
    2:53 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    4)- Just because you don’t want to support the UK football team doesn’t mean the rest of us feel the same way. Yeah, they stink, but I’m still going to watch ’em.

    If you’re worried about having so much of your precious time wasted, you should probably stop posting on sports blogs.

  8. #Rise
    2:57 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    7) I agree

  9. SW52
    2:59 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    These simulations are stupid…or at least the program spitting them out is…they’re almost always identical no matter who Kentucky is playing. The stats are close in each category…even the final score. Who the hell cares anyway? LOL….Bring on hoops!!

  10. ribin
    3:11 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    Could be interesting –the young kids don’t get as down about losing as the older ones do — they are getting to play and they know they’ve got 2 or 3 more years. If coaches will find out and coach them in what they CAN do, not worry so much about what they CAN’T do, they’ll be more successful. Keep supporting the team — they deserve it — at least they are making an effort, more than a bunch of do nothings that don’t show up and urge others to not show up as well.

  11. reality...
    4:15 pm October 26, 2012 Permalink

    7 – 8,

    Look fellas, I’m still going to watch the Cats and cheer my head off (I’ve been to several games this year). But at what point do we as fans stop banging our heads against the wall – hope’n the NEXT coach, and NEXT team win? How many time have you guys said, “wait till next year?” I’m guessing as many as me – about 20 times. I just want a coach and administration that care about the program and players as much as I (we) do. You can say those of us that are critical of the program are not fans as much as you want – but I bet you don’t really mean it. I love that #8 used the name “#Rise” – how hilarious is that? Joker and the AD can come up with as many cute sayings as they want – it doesn’t change anything. Sounds a bit like “Hope and Change” – and we all know how hollow those words turned out to be.

  12. Duke Sucks
    12:50 am October 27, 2012 Permalink

    I really believe its time to wear the brown bags to the games, but that’s just one thoughts. I do believe that the choice to change coaches has already been made however. Has Barnhart came out a publicly supported Joker any lately? If he has I haven’t heard it. The only thing the game this week means is will Joker be replaced during the bye week if we get embarrassed or will get the finish out the year. Any which way NO WAY will Joker Phillips be coaching UK next year. I still think David Cutcliff will coach here next year unless UT hires him.

  13. CakeEater
    10:05 am October 27, 2012 Permalink

    As a former Highlands Grad, (Fear the Bird!) I wish Patrick Towles all of the most success today. I had the privilege to see this young man in action while at Highlands and he is the real deal.

  14. JokerTheChoker
    10:18 am October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Woulda,Coulda,Shouda game 9 coming at noon…..
    Woulda,Coulda,Shouda excuses begin by KSR immediatly after Mizzu kicks us back to Lexington.