Everybody knows that playing an SEC football schedule is an absolute grind. Unless you name is Alabama, you are going to be an underdog multiple times throughout the season. And at Kentucky, you will be the underdog in most of your games. This year, despite having Mark Stoops best team, UK will likely need an upset or two to become bowl eligible or reach 7 wins. But just how often do upsets occur in the SEC? I broke down the numbers. Based on the final spread of games, here are the number of upsets (by spread) in each of the last 5 SEC conference seasons and which teams pulled off those upsets.
2010: 11 (LSU-2, South Carolina-2, Arkansas-2, Auburn-1, Mississippi St-1, Florida-1, Kentucky-1, Vanderbilt-1)
2011: 7 (Auburn-2, Kentucky-2, LSU-1, Tennessee-1, Vanderbilt-1)
2012: 10 (Florida-3, Vanderbilt-2, Arkansas-1, Ole Miss-1, Texas A&M-1, Georgia-1, Missouri-1)
2013: 12 (Auburn-3, Vanderbilt-3, Missouri-2, Ole Miss-1, Mississippi St-1, Tennessee-1, South Carolina-1)
2014: 22 (Missouri-5, Ole Miss-3, Arkansas-2, Texas A&M-2, Mississippi St-2, Florida-2, South Carolina-2, LSU-1, Auburn-1, Tennessee-1, Kentucky-1)
South Carolina- 5
Ole Miss- 5
Mississippi St- 4
Texas A&M- 3
Alabama- 0 (have not been an underdog in an SEC game since 2010)
There are a couple of interesting things to note here. First, last year was an INSANE year in SEC football. 22 upsets equaled the amount of the previous 2 years combined and is 10 more than any other year on this list. Missouri nearly became bowl eligible off upsets alone. Meaning that being the underdog consistently doesn’t necessarily mean bad things. The Tigers proved that last year.
But Kentucky hasn’t really gotten too much into the upset parade. Last year, we had the South Carolina game. Only a total of 4 upsets in the last 5 years, while 7 of our conference partners have at least 5 and many of them had far fewer chances at upsets. Kentucky will likely be the underdog in 5-7 SEC games this year. For them to reach 6, 7, 8 wins, the upsets will have to be a part of that plan.
Most SEC teams have accomplished this in the last 5 years, Kentucky largely hasn’t. If Mark Stoops wants this program to take the next step (a la Missouri) take a look at how the team performs as underdog as a good barometer.