By RICHARD CHEEKS
I believe that average scoring margin is the best measure of a team’s strength within a particular sport. Major League Baseball has recognized this relationship for many decades, and the baseball analysts are the originators of the Pythagorean method of calculation of probable winning percentage in MLB that Ken Pomeroy has adopted and adapted to college basketball for his rating system. In college basketball, the margin is the best single indicator I have found, when it is adjusted for schedule strength and venue.
College football is not exempt from this relationship. Last year, 25 teams ended the regular season with a scoring average of 35.3 ppg or higher, and 25 teams ended with a defense against scoring or 22.0 ppg or lower. Forty-five teams did at least one of these, and only 5 teams did both.
2. Florida State
3. Northern Illinois
4. Kansas State
Not a bad list for 2012, and a list I would love to find UK on some day. To be an upper division SEC team, the numbers says the team needs an average scoring margin of 11 ppg or higher. I have long advocated that at a minimum, UK’s goals must start at 10 ppg or higher for me to believe that the coaching staff not only understands the SEC realities, but is ready to step to the plate without hiding the ball with respect to the goals that matter.
Will Stoops be able to produce a 32-22 type team at anytime in the next 5 years? If not, his tenure will end in the same manner as others. If so, he could position this program to move to the upper division of this conference.
We will all be watching, and those of us who dress and live in a blue world, we will be watching for results at that level.
There is only one way for the UK program to go, and that is up. Will it get to the top ½ of the conference is the question. BTW, top ½ of the SEC is top 30 in nation.