Kentucky is currently 4 games out of first place in the SEC standings and with the remaining schedule for the Cats daunting, and Auburn’s not so much, it is hard to find many openings for the Cats to get back into the title race without the Tigers falling apart. Plus, the only time the two teams meet is at Auburn. With Kentucky being that far out in the standings, I wondered just how often Kentucky has finished well behind the SEC champion. And I found:
(50%) Won or Tied: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017
(7.7%) 1-game out: 1993, 2004
(19.2%) 2-games out: 1994, 1997, 2002, 2008, 2013
(7.7%) 3-games out: 1999, 2011
(3.8%) 4-games out: 2007
(7.7%) 5-games out: 2006, 2009
(3.8%) 6-games out: 2014
First of all, winning 50% of the conference regular season titles over a 26-year span is pretty amazing. But then you throw in that in 20 of the 26 years they finished within two games of the title, the numbers become even more impressive. That includes 4 coaches. Kansas’ amazing run of regular season titles has come completely with Bill Self. Duke has never had a run like this.
But what about the other end of the spectrum? Kentucky is currently 4 games out of first. If it gets much worse they will be wondering into some rarefied territory. Just four times in the last 26 years have they finished four or more games outside of 1st place. Two of those instances were Florida’s national title teams and another one was Florida’s 18-0 run in 2014. The final one is Billy Gillispie’s 2nd team, which went just 8-8 in conference.
This is, of course, a mixture of this team struggling and Auburn being really good. But for this fanbase, heading into the final month of the season without a real shot at winning the SEC is kind of weird.