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ESPN gives UK a zero percent chance of winning SEC; ranks Cats sixth runner-up in SEC East

Darrell Bird |

Darrell Bird |

Darrell Bird |

The masterminds behind ESPN’s college football projections ranked the teams in the Southeastern Conference yesterday for ESPN Insider subscribers, and since most of you don’t fork over the money for that monthly subscription, I’m here to tell you what you missed.

We’ll start with the conference division rankings, where ESPN ranked Kentucky seventh in the preseason SEC East standings. We here at KSR prefer to call it “sixth runner-up.” Others may call it “dead last.”

And in Kentucky’s season projection, ESPN predicts a 4-8 record with a zero percent chance to win the conference title and a zero percent chance to finish the regular season at 11-1 or 12-0.

Furthermore, ESPN’s “projection model,” whatever that means, gives UK less than a 40 percent chance of winning any individual conference game. That means, according to their stupid “projection model,” UK will always be the underdog in conference play.

One fun fact from the article: UK was the fifth-worst team in the country last season at forcing three-and-outs.

Time to prove ESPN wrong.

[ESPN Insider: Project the SEC standings]

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

58 Comments for ESPN gives UK a zero percent chance of winning SEC; ranks Cats sixth runner-up in SEC East

  1. not good with numbers
    10:48 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    so you’re saying there’s a chance …………. oh, wait

    • Real
      12:52 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Yea, there was a chance….We could have been looking at 8-4 if we had hired Petrino!!

    • UKfan
      1:32 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      You did hire him. Twice I believe.

  2. Steve
    10:51 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I agree the chances are slim, but there is never a 0% chance something like that happens as long as we show up and not forfeit.

    • schwing
      11:53 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      bet me then. all my assets & possessions versus yours. there is a 0% chance that kentucky will win the conference. there is a 0% chance kentucky will have a winning conference record even.

    • Steve
      12:52 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      schwing – I’ll type this slowly so you can keep up… why would I bet all my possessions on something that I readily admit is a very long shot at best? Why don’t you go ahead and sell all your stuff and buy powerball tickets with the proceeds, since there is better than 0% chance you will win? Try to pay attention from now on.

  3. Mike Gillespie
    10:55 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I seem to remember a similar group of ESPN talking heads were proved badly WRONG by the Basketball Cats a few short weeks ago. It would be really cool to see the Football Cats do the same thing. Then next year’s CATSbies could include a new category entitled – “Best Silencer’s of the Talking Heads”.

    • Reality
      11:03 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Hey we should meet sometime.

  4. Old Timer
    10:55 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I agree that there is 0% chance of winning the SEC, but I believe there is a 100% chance KY will be competitive this year, and a 100% chance that KY will win a game that will alter the bowl landscape for the BCS this year.

    • I believe
      11:23 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      I believe you are right about UK winning a game that will alter the BCS landscape this year. Especially since the BCS no longer exists.

  5. JPhelps
    10:58 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Fire Mark Stroops? Anyone?

    Kidding obviously… But I expect those a**holes to come out in full force from their insane asylums this year like they did last! SMH…

    • JPhelps
      10:59 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Stroops??? I hate my cellphone!

    • Job Security
      11:09 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      I wish I could make over $3 million per year by only winning 2 games (against the worst possible opponents).

    • UKfan
      1:35 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Do you think you are qualified to (1) recruit a top 20 class consistently (2) get the fanbase believing in UK football? Just wondering.

    • Job Security
      1:58 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      I could start talking out of my butt about UK football. I could have the UK media department create a bunch commercials with an air raid siren. I could say how exciting UK football is going to be. I could then go 2-10. Easy. Where’s my $3million?

    • theWilkman
      3:18 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      So if a coach that takes over a team that went 2-10 and had virtually no SEC talent doesn’t take said team to national prominence immediately he should be fired?

    • Job Security
      5:15 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Now where did I say or imply that? You stupid or something?

      Stoops took over a terrible team, yes.
      Stoops immediately brought in better talent, including several JUCO transfers. Even people on here were talking about a bowl game possibility if there was a little improvement. A bunch of people on here even thought Stoops could potentially contend for the SEC East. However, Stoops could only match Joker’s record, even though more talent was here.

      I just don’t see how you people cannot correlate that last year’s team had much more talent than Joker’s team, but he could still only go 2-10. I’m telling you, that is a GIGANTIC red flag.

    • Hope you're not an accountant
      6:29 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Job Security if math is an essential where you work than you have no job security. I bet Stoops wishes he made $3 million for last year’s results as well. Get your facts straight.

  6. SEC
    11:01 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Drew, you act shocked. How does anyone with knowledge of college football not read this and say, “Yep, sounds about right.”

    Of course UK has 0% chance of winning the SEC conference title. The teams at the top are at a whole different level of football. We haven’t won a conference game since 2011, for crying out loud. You think we have a chance at suddenly going undefeated in the SEC? Come on.

  7. Randy #1VolsFan Jenkins
    11:11 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    So, how long do you give your all’s coach if you go 4-8 this year, 5-7 next year?

    I mean can either your defensive or offensive line stop ‘anybody’ if it counted?

    Skill players?

    Constant Injuries?

    I kind of want you all to be competitive, makes everyone’s strength of schedule better in the SEC when we get chosen for bowl games.

    You all will be in full basketball mode by September 1st. #VOLorNothin’

    • Idiot Vol Fans
      11:16 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      A better question is how much time Butch Jones gets after he goes 3-9/4-8 this year. UT went 5-7 with an experienced OL (with two draft picks) and an experienced DL (with at least 1 draft pick) and have to replace everyone up front on both lines.

      When Butch struggles to win an SEC game this year, is he on the hot seat? If he loses by 4+ TDs to Oklahoma, does the whining start?

      Of all SEC fans, UT fans probably have the least room to talk down to Kentucky for 2014.

    • Shoo troll
      11:18 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      That assumes we aren’t already and always in full basketball mode. I assume you will just skip basketball mode altogether this year after not being able to hire a coach anyone has ever heard of, and all of your servicible players leaving the program.

      What are you doing on here anyway? Shouldn’t you be looking for drunks throwing beer bottles to scout next year’s starting QB?

    • Tom Tom Cats fan
      11:20 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Randy: What mode will you be in come September 1? Men’s soccer?

    • LMU
      12:17 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      don’t worry about a bowl game, randy. you all have been able to spend december and january with the family the past three years anyway. the world will be a better place when tennessee fans realize that they are not relevant in football or basketball and conduct themselves as such rather than believing they are better than they actually are. don’t worry, i’m sure gruden is going to come coach soon enough.

    • Ty e
      2:47 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Y’all will be in full basketball mode too………….women’s basketball

    • Tend to your own knitting
      6:44 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Dammit Randy, are you seriously concerned with our situation? So let’s see. Both teams hire coaches who come in, build tons of excitement, recruit at a much higher level than anyone thought possible and win the EXACT same number of games as their respective predecessors. You might want to consider when you say these things you’re looking into a mirror. Kind of like our basketball programs. Oh wait. That’s right. They aren’t alike at all.

  8. rickshelton
    11:22 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    A painful assessment. UK played well at times last year. As each of Stoop’s recruiting classes come in we should see improved play. This year will tell us if we are at least improving. Lets go to the games and cheer on these guys and keep our expectations in check.

    • schwing
      11:55 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      they played well based on prior performance for a kentucky football team. what we saw as “playing well” last season was still embarrassingly atrocious.

    • UKfan
      1:40 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      How many games did you watch schwing? As I remember, we played tough against your “BCS” cardinal team. You beat us in the 3rd quarter; otherwise we played even. We got our clocks cleaned against Alabama but most all other games were very competitive.

  9. Tom Tom Cats Fan
    11:24 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Uk’s game against UL at Thanksgiving time will be for a bowl bid for both teams. Cant wait. If Stoops continues to recruit like he is doing, UK is going to be very competitive in the SEC.

    • schwing
      11:55 am May 1, 2014 Permalink


  10. BigBlue
    11:26 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I agree with that assessment. 4-8 or 5-7.
    The real improvement will be in year 3 and 4 of Stoops.
    This is not basketball. You can’t revamp a program with one or two recruiting classes.

  11. ChicagoCat
    11:28 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Sounds about right to me. I personally set the over/under for wins at 4 for this upcoming season. Hoping the cats prove me wrong and make a bowl game, but it doesn’t seem likely with this very young group. As BigBlue said above, the real improvement should surface in years 3 and 4.

  12. Expectations
    11:41 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    There could be a good discussion around “improvement”. What do you want to see? The reality of the situation is that even though Stoops just brought in the best recruiting class in UK history, it was only good enough for 10th best in the SEC. Even if he somehow does this year-in and year-out how far up the SEC ladder can UK really climb? I certainly haven’t seen anything out of him yet, that says he is a better coach than Saban, Malzahn, Miles, Spurrier, Sumlin, etc. How can he compete with those guys with talent that is below theirs. What really is the LIKLEY ceiling with UK?

    • Dan
      12:34 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Thank you! Everyone talks about how great our recruits are, how they are going to make us better. But in reality, they are still less than the rest of the SEC.

    • UKfan
      3:27 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Yes, but they are 1 or 2 players less than the other teams, not 5 or 6 per year. That is how you close the gap on competition.

  13. Real World
    11:44 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    2-3 Wins, Max

    • Whatever
      12:07 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink


  14. bbn
    11:47 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    You all hating on stoops aren’t REAL fans. Once he starts doing good you all are ganna be all over him. Either support the team or get out. Plain and simple.

    • schwing
      11:56 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      i’m out.

    • Fan
      1:11 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      I wish I would have seen something from him last year, but that didn’t happen. Upgraded talent from the year before, but bad coaching and indecision created the exact same result. It’s starting to seem like he is in over his head. The Jalen Whitlow comment on KSR didn’t help my confidence much either. Why would he say Jalen would be the starter today, knowing full well he asked him to move to WR? That’s a rookie move that also points to bad decision making. Stoops better show me something early on, or I’m out, too.

    • Craig Sager's Suits
      1:35 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      You can’t call someone a “non-fan” if they have reservations about this coaching staff and how well the team will do this year. Mark Stoops was NOT that inspiring of a football coach hire, but, at the same time I hope he does well over time. I think it is legitimate to ask that if he is so much better than the previous regime, why did he match the last regime’s 2-10 record last year? If you’re a better motivator, X’s and O’s guy, and supposedly this defensive genius with an OC who was supposedly more of a genius than Joker on the offensive side, I think you should have done better than 2-10, personally. The only thing I saw last year that was better than the previous regime was the kids’ effort from horn to horn.

    • Don't let the door hit ya
      6:26 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      If you’re out Schwing then GTFO. You sure are doing a lot of writing for someone who’s out. What a biatch. And Craig Sager’s Suit if you think the Stoops hire was uninspiring (see over 90,000 fans combined at spring games) for this program you are delusional. Were you expecting Saban?

    • Craig Sager's Suits
      1:00 am May 2, 2014 Permalink

      I did NOT say that Stoops was uninspiring, I said he wasn’t THAT inspiring, there is a difference. I was not expecting Saban either. I was expecting Barnhart to actually take football seriously and get someone a little more proven. Stoops has pedigree because of his dad and brother Bob, but he hasn’t proven a thing. I would have been fine if UK got Petrino myself. Yes, he made a horrible mistake by lying about being on that bike with that girl at Arkansas, but, aren’t people allowed second chances in America? Bobby may be an a-hole, but at least he wins and with him being in need of a second chance, I thought the UK job would have been perfect for him in all honesty and was a win-win. I don’t think he had many bad eggs on the Arkansas team vs his Louisville ones, willing to bet more on the latter. I’ll give Stoops his 3 years before bringing down the hammer, but, like posted earlier, I think its reasonable to take caution on him before going he’s the greatest F-er here.

  15. JDH
    11:48 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

    These preseason polls/predictions are such bs. Could we go 4-8? Absolutely. Could we go 8-4? Absolutely.

    • schwing
      11:56 am May 1, 2014 Permalink

      no on the 8-4. just wow.

    • Bath Salts
      12:01 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Stop Ingesting Me

  16. RealUKFan
    12:07 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Until UK actually goes out and wins some conference games I would say these predictions make sense. We haven’t won a conference game in recent memory. The team last year was pretty bad. Will this year’s team be better. I certainly hope so, but I have my doubts. Let them prove it on the field then we can gain some respect. Until then when the talking heads say we are dead last we need to just accept it and move on.

    • hold up
      12:40 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      recent memory = 2 years? I’m not trying to argue but that’s kinda sad. You might have long term memory loss.

  17. Why Not
    12:30 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Underdog role is just fine. Remember how South Carolina approached us last year? If teams want to look at us as a free win and not prepare that’s fine with me. I’d say this year we surprise some team that overlooks us.

  18. STEVE!
    1:13 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    If Kentucky wins more than 5 games, Stoops should be Coach of the Year.

    • UKBlue1!
      2:43 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Agreed. I can’t see more than 4 or 5 with the schedule.

  19. inlinefor9
    1:22 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I’d be fine with 4-8 this year. Still rebuilding the depth in the program and would show improvement. Win three cupcake games, beat Vandy at home, and try to get a win out of the remaining games. If we get 4 wins this year and no bowl the following, that will be when I get disappointed.

  20. tom
    2:17 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I think ESPN is being generous in their predictions.

  21. Tej
    2:24 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    The naysayers make their predictions without ever seeing a practice or talking to a coach. The media or forecasters are not going to predict great things for a team that’s gone 2-10 the last two years. It is going to be a hill to climb but I think this staff is doing things right and that starts with recruiting.

    Vanderbilt is an example of building a program successfully. I don’t think anyone would have seen Vandy having two 9-win seasons and reaching bowl games. They should be a model for UK.

    We will be better. It may not translate to more wins-although i hope it will. Stoops needs a signature win. Beat an SEC team this year and be competitive in the other conference games will make 2014 a success and it will provide something to build on.

  22. jmfatz47
    5:04 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    I like our running backs a lot. If we can hang close and take a lead, these backs could really grind the clock and move the chains. The key will be actually getting the lead, bur chances have to improve based on our RB’s. I think we will remain close in more games than everyone thinks.

    • 3 yards and a cloud of Air Raid
      7:08 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

      Spot on. While this team’s future is a prolific Air Raid offense it’s present shot at success probably lies at the running back position.

  23. schwing
    5:59 pm May 1, 2014 Permalink

    Hey guys, I.m back on again. I had to leave for a few minutes because my mom made me finish my homework. Hopefully, some day I can go to a good college and get an education. If not, I will probably go to UL.