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Where Do Kentucky’s 3 FBS Teams Rank?

Three major college football teams reside within the borders of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and all three have had drastically different seasons.  The preseason favorite to perform the best, Louisville, has performed to expectation thus far.  Arch rival, Kentucky, has seen their once potentially promising season laced in disappointment.  While one team is performing to expectation and another has yet to meet it, another team in Bowling Green is managing to exceed everyone’s wildest expectations.  Western Kentucky University is not only 4-1 on the season with the lone loss coming to Nick Saban’s ruthless killing machine that feeds on the despair of children Alabama Crimson Tide, but they have defeated Kentucky in battle as well (as I’m sure you can vividly recall).  With that victory and other admirable performances, the question has arisen of whom the best team in the state is Western Kentucky, Louisville, or Kentucky (It’s obviously not Kentucky)?  So, in order to come up with an answer I used my ratings system to give a more concrete conclusion.

First an explanation, the first two numbers you see are simply a total of points scored/allowed divided by total drives, this removes tempo bias.  The third number is a predictor variable that measures the ratio between the two numbers (defense is slightly favored).

There seems to be a growing opinion in some circles that Western is actually the best team in the state because of their convincing victories over Sun Belt opponents and Kentucky.  But, this is not the case.  Louisville is still the best team in the state, and by a convincing margin.  While Western’s numbers are very good for a Sun Belt team, they have not been high enough unseat Charlie Strong’s Cardinals as the state’s best team.  Kentucky, however, in terms of un-adjusted scoring margin, is light years behind both the Cardinals and Hilltoppers.  While these numbers are good for basic measurement, they don’t account for strength of schedule (a very important factor as we all know) .  If you were to look exclusively at these ratings, Western would be expected to blow Kentucky out, but we know the two teams are evenly matched as evidenced by September 15th’s game.  So in order to cut through that issue I adjusted for strength of schedule.

Even though Kentucky has played by far the toughest schedule of the three (we’re the only team who moved up in the rankings when schedule was accounted for), Western and Louisville are still ahead in the rankings.  While the schedule numbers are still a little fuzzy due to lack of opponents played, they’re still relatively accurate.  While Kentucky is clearly the worst team within the Commonwealth, Western is still not the best team in the state when strength of schedule is taken into consideration.  That title still resides in Louisville despite a schedule that makes Duke’s yearly OOC Basketball schedule look like the deranged offspring of 1996 Kentucky and 1990 UNLV.

At the moment Kentucky is the worst team, but there are still many games to be played so nothing is final yet.  But given the opponents left to be played on the three teams’ schedule’s it’s doubtful Kentucky could climb out of the state’s bottom position.  There are many ways that this problem could be solved: a coaching change at season’s end, giving Joker another year to see his young teams mature, or even waiting for injuries to heal, but something must be done to correct this.

Article written by Jonathan Schuette

14 Comments for Where Do Kentucky’s 3 FBS Teams Rank?



  1. Chiddarcheddar
    9:41 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    Nick, you reading this?



  2. Mary Jo Perino
    10:04 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t care if we’re 1-4, but I do think it’s awesome we beat SC for a half by TEN. Let’s not jump off Joker prematurely. He has the stamina to pull it out. Even with no protection, he will put us in a position to succeed even with his back against the wall.



  3. Rick
    10:25 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    Well played #2, well played.



  4. SonsOfAnarchy
    10:34 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    How about since UK is the last ranked FBS school in the state, lets make this the last post about football for a very long time. Basketball is less than two weeks away. This site found plenty of ignorant posts to fill the slots during the slow summer so how come it cant be dont now. Us non smart Cayuts fans dont need no stankin numbers and such to tell us that our there fooseball team sucks



  5. me
    10:39 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    Damn you ksr, would yall just come out and tell us how we’re suppose to think about joker. These back and forth posts yall are doing is confusing. One pro joker post. One negative joker post. Repeat. What, has mitch not given you guys the company line yet – leaving ksr hanging – which is leaving us hanging.

    Oh yeah, and while you are at it could you possibly tell us who we should vote for, for president?



  6. New AD
    11:35 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    Bobby Petrino is looking for work…



  7. Really?
    11:36 pm October 1, 2012 Permalink

    You put way too much time and effort into this post when from our perspective our 3rd place was decided on the field two weeks ago…



  8. james
    2:25 am October 2, 2012 Permalink

    “Kentucky, has seen their once potentially promising season laced in disappointment.”

    Where on God’s green earth did you come up with that observation? How ludicrous. When was this a ‘potentially promising season?’ About everybody who comments on this site believed from the well before the start that we would only win 3 or 4 games at most. Everybody, that is, except the KSR writers! lol

    Oh…and #2…excellent!



  9. Big Whoop
    4:40 am October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Are you serious? We LOST to both Louisville and WKU. Your rankings are for imbeciles.



  10. Yab
    7:58 am October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Red Towel U. is too physical for UofL to handle. Western wins this one at home, away, it doesn’t matter.



  11. Dark Helmet
    10:50 am October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Food for thought: WKU won against Southern Miss 42-17 and UL beat Southern Miss 21-17 (against their 3rd string QB). UK played a lot bettter against WKU than UL. I give the nod to WKU right now but by the end of the season UL will probably be better because of Teddy Bridgewater. WKU is legit Andrews is #1 in the nation for all purpose yds and Dowling is #1 in INT’s per game.



  12. Dark Helmet
    10:51 am October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Only reason WKU’s stats are bad is because they had to play Alabama.



  13. JLivermore
    12:18 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    I had made the comment last year that WKU could be in a position to develop a football program on par or better than UK simply b/c it is in a conference that allows it to. The SEC is simply too suffocating for UK, especially if the administration is not going to give it any more importance than it currently does. If you look back at UK’s history, it has some impressive lifetime records against schools that have gone on to become national powers. UK has winning records against WVU, FSU, VT and Miami-FL. One key element that allowed those four programs to progress while UK has gone backwards is that they did not have the pressure of trying to recruit as a conference’s kicking boy. A WKU or UL can walk into a recruit’s home and proudly boast of their ability to competer for a conference title. UK cannot do that. UK cannot even boast of a winning record in its conference since 1977.



  14. scott van pelt
    7:19 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Trinity should be #1