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Guest post: Scoring margin best measure of team’s strength in football also


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.

 1.       Alabama

2.       Florida State

3.       Northern Illinois

4.       Kansas State

5.       Georgia

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.

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  1. Larry Pup

    I just choose to believe Coach will get it done. He has to have as good or better athletes at all 22 positions on the field. This coaching staff has already proved to me they can recruit. It will take a couple of years to get the program in high gear, a few breaks along the way, and UK is a winner.

  2. Little Baron

    Excellent info, as usual, from Richard.

    It is a challenge to move from a cellar dweller to the upper half of the SEC, but this staff has already demonstrated the ability to instill belief into their recruits, former UK players and returning players… off the field, as is the case presently… but soon to be demonstrated on the field. This first season is my biggest concern, since so much of the downtrodden remains of Joker must fill the majority of the roster, but I believe this staff will get the maximum out of every player on the team. Five wins is what I hope this team can muster in the new staff’s first season, with a 6 win second season… followed by a minimum of 7 or 8 wins thereafter. Not an easy task, but certainly something we can hope for, since the house has been cleaned of an inept coach and mostly inept staff that led UK into the same heap of collapse we have had for too many times through the decades.

    Remember the 37 points or so that UK averaged through mid-season, with an incredibly effective offense, mid-way through Joker’s first year? … until personal agendas took over, agendas such as trying to hide his friend’s inept ability at DC and plan to get rid of Mossakowski in order to let Newton pretend to play QB, with a 50% (or less) completion rate? A great advantage to this new staff is that they do not have any hidden personal agendas, but instead are placing UK football FIRST in their list of priorities… they WANT TO WIN more than they want to do anything else… and they are instilling winning into the players!

    GO CATS… let’s get an early jump on scoring margin, and knock WKU for a 25 pt win, and shock the football world with some upsets this year!!!

  3. TheProfessor


    In 2012, using average margin as the measure, UK was 109th out of 120 football programs. Yet, some fans seems surprised that pre-season ranking services are not impressed enough with the UK program leading up to the 2013 season to include the Cats in their top 100 (out of 120). Combine the low expectations that last season generates with the fact that 5 of the 12 UK opponents appear in multiple pre-season top 11 teams, and a 6th opponent is top 25 leads to the sad conclusion that only 1/2 of this year’s schedule is arguably winnable. Teams in that category include Mississippi State, Miami of Ohio, Western Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama State, and Missouri. I see 2 wins in that list, and to become bowl eligible, this team needs to run the table against those 6 opponents.

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