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Advanced analytics are high on 2020 Kentucky Football team

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The Cats finally get some respect.

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Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The college football season is right around the corner, and the Kentucky Wildcats still are not receiving the respect that they have earned in recent seasons.

However, advanced analytics are high on the 2020 Cats.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly released his updated SP+ Top 25 rankings. This system predicts the future of a team rather than looking at the past. It uses three factors including returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history.

With this new system, Connelly ranks the Cats at No. 22 in the country and if you take out the teams that are not playing this fall then Kentucky would be No. 14.

SP+ ranks the Cats 34th in offense, 26th in defense, and the average wins sits at 5/10 but Connelly noted that the win totals are extremely conservative.

“If you have an 80% chance of winning, it counts as 0.8 wins, and 60% counts as 0.6 wins. Using these average totals, you’ll see no one projected to go unbeaten or winless.”

Here is a list of where each of Kentucky’s 2020 opponents rank in the SP+ rankings.

  • 2. Alabama (29.0)
  • 4. Georgia (25.5)
  • 5. Florida (23.8)
  • 11. Auburn (20.0)
  • 19. Tennessee (15.0)
  • 36. South Carolina (9.0)
  • 38. Ole Miss (7.8)
  • 44. Missouri (4.9)
  • 48. Mississippi State (4.2)
  • 110. Vanderbilt (-11.6)

Another system giving the Cats a lot of respect is Pro Football Focus, who has 9 Wildcats on their preseason All-SEC list.

The First Team includes junior defensive tackle Darian Kinnard, senior edge rusher Boogie Watson and senior center Drake Jackson.

The Second Team includes senior offensive tackle Landon Young, senior cornerback Brandin Echols, senior punter Max Duffy, and senior offensive guard Luke Fortner.

The Third Team includes senior safety Quandre Mosely and junior safety Yusuf Corker.

Aside from the players listed above, senior nose guard Quinton Bohanna and sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez were placed on the Honorable Mentions list.

Despite the “experts” not giving the Cats much respect year in and year out, these advanced analytics see what this program is doing on the field and understand that Stoops is building something special.

The 2020 roster might be the deepest and most talented one yet, and we should all have high expectations for this team as the season approaches.