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Statistics Don’t Indicate A Win Against The Cards

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While Kentucky was licking their wounds during a much needed bye week, Louisville was in South Bend winning a “whew” game as Notre Dame’s kicker missed a field goal at the end of the game that would have taken the game into overtime. A Kentucky win over Louisville would bring Mark Stoops and his Wildcats eligibility for a bowl game which would mark UK’s rebuilding project ahead of schedule. It isn’t likely if you compare the NCAA cumulative statistics for the two teams.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

There's the old saying about "any given Saturday," which describes the shape of the ball and how it can bounce which can give an underdog team a chance of winning. That is why Kentucky fans should hope for a win, however unlikely. Stuff happens. Most times, good stuff doesn't happen for Kentucky. Such is life.

Consider this before giving up hope:

Louisville has played the following FBS teams. I am including each team's record to date, also includes future opponents:

Louisville

Miami (6-5), Virginia (5-6), Florida International (4-8), Wake Forest (3-8), Syracuse (3-8), Clemson (8-3), NC State (6-5), Florida State (11-0), Boston College (6-5), Notre Dame (7-4) and Kentucky (5-6). These schools in italics are teams who beat Louisville.  Louisville's opponents have a combined record of 64-58 (52.5%). If you take Kentucky out of the equation, the combined record is 59-52 (53.2%). Clemson and Florida State are A/P top 25 teams and Florida State (#1) is in the Top 10. Louisville's schedule is ranked #52 by Jeff Sagarin.

Kentucky

Ohio (6-6), Florida (6-4), Vanderbilt (3-8), South Carolina (6-5), Louisiana Monroe (4-7), LSU (7-4), Mississippi St. (10-1), Missouri (9-2), Georgia (9-2), Tennessee (5-6), and Louisville (8-3). Those in italics are teams who beat Kentucky. Kentucky's opponents have a combined record of 73-48 (60.3%). If you take Louisville out of the equation, the combined record is 65-45 (59.3 %). Mississippi State, Georgia and Missouri are top 25 teams and Mississippi State (#4) and Georgia (#9) are in the top 10. Kentucky's schedule is ranked #11 by Jeff Sagarin.

There is no question that Louisville is the better team statistically. However, the difference between Louisville and Kentucky are the comparative defenses and time of possession.

Louisville (Yards per Game)

Total Offense 389.4

Rushing 155.5

Passing 233.9

Total Defense 290.2

Rushing 88.5

Passing 201.7

Kentucky (Yards per Game) 390.5

Rushing 154.3

Passing 236.2

Total Defense 401.5

Rushing 201.5

Passing 200.0

Kentucky's defense takes a back seat to Louisville's. Charlie Strong left Bobby Petrino a great defense which Todd Grantham has kept together, especially against the run.  For a drill down of how each team has performed against their opponents, consider the following:

UL1

UL2

UL3

UL4
As A Sea of Blue's Greenwell showed, DeVante Parker is a real threat for Kentucky's secondary. I just can't bring myself to believe we have anyone who can stop him. He is one of the big keys of the game. Louisville's running backs are also a threat to a defense that arm tackles and just flat out misses tackles. Special teams will also be a factor and we know from experience this is a problem for Kentucky. I just don't think that Kentucky has the discipline on defense to stop Louisville's attack.

Time of possession is critical and is an indication of performance in the trenches. While Louisville offensive line seemingly has improved during the season, I don't feel anyone can say the same about Kentucky's. Our defensive line has had its spurts, but they have not done that well on a consistent basis. I think our offense will cause the defense to stay on the field far too long, and they will become worn out as Louisville pounds us on the ground. I should also point out the Cards get to the red zone more often than the Cats, and when they do, they do better than us.

Kentucky fans should not be too upset if we lose this game. Like the last five games, we are the underdogs. Sometimes underdogs win, but you don't bet your hard-earned money on underdogs. This isn't thoroughbred racing. Kentucky, in my opinion, doesn't have the talent and (especially) the depth to go against the Cards for 60 minutes. Feel free to disagree, but I just don't feel Stoops has brought the program along far enough....yet.