The fans deserve to be able to relax and have some fun in the 2nd half Saturday
Kentucky is favored by 13-14 points currently over Missouri for this weekend’s game at Kroger Field. In the Mark Stoops era there has only been 1 time that Kentucky was a 10-point favorite in any SEC game, and that was against Vanderbilt in 2014, a game UK won but did not cover the spread, winning 17-7. That score seems to be indicative of most SEC games under Mark Stoops over the last couple seasons. The Cats have avoided the serious blowout since losing to Florida at the beginning of last season but also don’t ever seem to dominate any opponent. The 14-point win over Missouri last year was the lone exception and the biggest win of the Stoops era. In fact, of the 9 SEC wins he has so far, only 3 have been by 10 points or more and none by more than 14 points.
But this trend hasn’t exactly been anything new for UK fans. Since the 2-division split in 1992, Kentucky has won a total of 54 SEC games. Of those 54 wins, a staggering 32 have come by less than 10 points and 41 of the 54 have come by 2 touchdowns or less. In the 25 seasons since that split, UK has only won SEVEN games by “blowout”, or 3 touchdowns for the sake of this post. And there have been no blowouts since 2003. The exact numbers since 1992:
UK Margin of Victory in SEC Games (since 1992)
1-9 points: 32
10-14 points: 9
14-20 points: 6
21+ points: 7
1993: Ole Miss 21-0 (Curry)
1996: Vanderbilt 25-0 (Curry)
1998: Vanderbilt 55-17 (Mumme)
1999: LSU 31-5 (Mumme)
2001: Vanderbilt 56-30 (Morris)
2002: Mississippi State 45-24 (Morris)
2003: Mississippi State 42-17 (Brooks)
What is interesting to me is that Rich Brooks had great teams in 2006 and 2007 and did not blow out anybody. Mark Stoops has had good teams for 3 years and hasn’t blown out anybody. You would think just ONCE in there an SEC opponent would lay an egg and UK would be sharp and dominate. But alas, we’ve had to sweat out nearly every SEC win we’ve gotten for 15 years.
Which leads us to Saturday. Missouri is absolute dog crap. South Carolina beat them by 18 at Missouri. Auburn beat them by 37 at Missouri. Purdue beat them by 32 at Missouri! Missouri St. scored 42 points on them.
Here’s the thing. This season, despite the record showing 4-1, has been fairly difficult to watch. Now, if the record was 5-0 fans would be over the moon. But we know what happened against Florida. What happened last weekend probably didn’t win a ton of people back. And I can tell you as one of those fans who isn’t crazy about football, which is most fans, another performance like that against Missouri this weekend will not win me back either. I am tired of losing games we should win. And I am maybe even more tired of letting mediocre teams hang around, usually by our own doing.
This weekend should be a blowout. A reasonable person would look at what Missouri has done this weekend, see they haven’t left home yet, and think that covering the 14-point spread SHOULD BE EASY! Kentucky shouldn’t even have to play that well to do it.
But it is time to see this team play well. It is time, 15 years overdue, to seem this team beat the living crap out of a conference opponent. I don’t care how bad Missouri is, it will be a nice change of pace for UK fans to have an SEC game in hand at halftime and be able to sit back and enjoy the 2nd half. And if that doesn’t happen, with a bye week and basketball right around the corner, it may be lights out for much of the fanbase for 2017.