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Statistical comparison of Kentucky and Vanderbilt

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I’m not sure what more needs to be said to sum up the season in one sentence… Vanderbilt is favored by a touchdown in Commonwealth Stadium. That is where Joker Phillips and the UK football team find themselves, just two losses away from going winless in the conference for the first time in twelve years.

In total, Kentucky football is one of the least-exciting and least-productive teams in college football. That is the sad truth. The Cats make the Commodores look like a juggernaut by comparison. Their average of 387 yards of total offense blows Kentucky’s 294-yard average away. The offense is scoring nearly a touchdown more per game, and the defense is surrendering almost two touchdowns less. Add it all up, and that’s a spread of about 21 points. Let that sink in. Statistically, Vanderbilt is about 21 points better than Kentucky.

The Kentucky defense handled the Missouri offense fairly well. If it weren’t for the UK offense turning the ball over and giving the Tigers a short field three times, the outcome may have been different. Perhaps most notably, the defense forced three turnovers, including two interceptions by J.D. Harmon on back-to-back plays. It is the shining moment of the secondary this season, which has gone up against some elite offenses over the past several weeks. Mizzou was far from elite, but there were good signs that came from the unit that gave up just 87 yards through the air.

In terms of stats and head-to-head competition Vanderbilt is better than Missouri. The Commodores beat the Tigers by four points on the road in early October, and the Cats just lost by 23. The Vandy offense is led by veterans Jordan Rodgers at quarterback and Zac Stacy at tailback. Last season the duo combined for five touchdowns to beat the Cats 38-8; Rodgers threw for 207 and Stacy rushed for 135.

To make matters worse, the Commodores’ defense only gave Kentucky 32 yards on the ground in 2011. And that was with Maxwell Smith under center. Now that Jalen Whitlow has taken the reigns, the passing game in Big Blue Nation is nearly extinct. Furthermore, the Vanderbilt defense this season has only surrendered more than 17 points to their opponents three times. It’s a surprisingly stingy unit.

Kentucky was in a very similar situation as this in 2004. The Cats were 1-8, having just lost seven straight and were winless in the SEC. Then along came Vanderbilt in the second-to-last game of the season. The Cats won by a point.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

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

29 Comments for Statistical comparison of Kentucky and Vanderbilt

  1. bluezzzzz
    1:11 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink


  2. Left out one important point...
    1:14 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky was in a very similar situation in 2004…Vanderbilt unfortunately is not…epic beat by James Franklin just to prove a point.

  3. I'm Batman
    1:19 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Stats don’t matter. The only stat that matters is our last place in the sec. Fact.

  4. Need to know
    1:24 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone know of a UK based sports bar in or around Asheville, NC?

    I will be there during the season opener v. Maryland.

  5. MathWiz
    1:27 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve done some calculations on my own, and it looks to me that we have 100% chance of being a crappy football team.

  6. Chuck
    1:28 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s just quit the fooling around and go after Mark Helfrich at Oregon. Just what we need, great offensive mind, and only 38 years old.

  7. ThankfulCat
    1:30 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Vandy 35
    UK 20

    Flashes of good offense overshadowed by a poor defensive effort

    Bye Joker!!

  8. asdf
    1:37 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Vandy 33
    UK 19

    The announcement that Joker will not be retained comes Monday November 5th.

  9. no way
    1:45 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    is there a duke or UNC based sports bar in KY??… Think not

  10. UKMike
    1:48 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    #4 – there are no UK based sports bars in Asheville, but one of the owners of Asheville Brewing and Pizza is a UK fan…so they *might* show the game if you ask. Merrimon avenue.

  11. Stewie Griffen
    1:49 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    They convert more 4th downs than we do 3rd downs. I bet they don’t run a draw on 3rd and anything.
    Can’t the SEC cancel the game due to Sandy? The outcome is not in doubt. Why take a chance on injuries?

  12. basketball season
    2:00 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t football season over??

  13. John
    2:12 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Where are your error bars? What about statistical significance? If you’re going to throw out all of these stats, at least run a t-test or something.

  14. Wildcats Dominate
    2:12 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    5) Had me laughing out loud. Literally. Like I’m in my office and when I laughed, it was audible.

    But seriously, our football coaching staff is atrocious.

  15. Pee Wee
    2:18 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    It’s funny we are taking time out of our lives to compare two dumpster fires stats and how they will match up…too funny and who cares?

  16. Fred Rogers
    2:21 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Breaking News!!!!…..UK is really bad at football and Vandy isn’t very good either.

  17. Ryan
    2:25 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Breaking News: This just in the UK Football team sucks…. That’s all for now please enjoy your regularly scheduled program.

  18. I Say
    2:28 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    These posts are a headache to look at. Why would we want to look at these miserable stats?

  19. Ryan
    2:28 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    I still would not be shocked if Joker is back next year. My reasoning is the fact that Tennessee Arkansas and maybe others will be hiring this year. The only selling point UK has right now is the fact they play in the SEC, the best in college football.

  20. breal1515
    2:44 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    All these graphs and all this research just to say we suck! or were going to be 1-9, or who gives a sh!t any longer.

  21. uk
    2:55 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    cayts football is terrible this year, but vandy isnt great either. we’re at home & i wouldnt be surprised if we did. we prob won’t but it could happen.

  22. El Guapo
    2:58 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink



  23. BNClay
    3:12 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    13, How about we put in some standard deviation, linear regressions, and indifference curves and turn this into a full blown STAT 301 class.

    Or how about we just shake our heads at the fact that UK has allowed 7 85+ yard TD drives. That is the only thing that needs to be said to show how bad the UK D is.

  24. Million $ a win
    3:14 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    Stats don’t matter. RUSE

  25. Bye bye Joker
    6:04 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    This will be Jokers last game as HC at Uk. Unless they decide to let him finish the season out after being fired next Monday. Speculation all year has been announcement will be made Monday of the bye week. Barnhart might give joker the option Curry got. Letting him finish it out as a lame duck. I say pack his shit up Monday.

  26. When will we learn
    9:44 pm October 31, 2012 Permalink

    How about this statistic. As you say: least exciting – least productive. Anyone ever listen to the weekly call in shows of other SEC football coaches? It’s exciting to listen to and the coaches talk inteligent about the upcoming game and game plan. They talk about the postitive things they have done with and for their team that week. UK football is a beat down to the players. No media ever allowed. Do we really know what goes on at UK football. A while back Joker canceled one day each week of the media interviewing him after practice (a whole 10 minutes – bs in itself). Supposedly canceled to spend time with his team. Laughter and chuckles on that lie.

  27. Unknown Fan
    7:14 am November 1, 2012 Permalink

    #19 Being a DOORMAT in the SEC is NOT a “selling point.” You would starve to death as a salesman pushing UK Football…

  28. John
    2:07 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    23: standard deviation is a form of variance (covered by adding error bars representing 95% CI), linear regression doesn’t apply when comparing two means (like average points scored between Vandy and UK), but could be added in another context for sure. I don’t know what the indifference curve is :-/

    Okay, I’m being a smart ass. All I was saying is that “statistically comparing” two teams can be misleading without adding error bars or significance values. I’m also a nerd…