UK Football

What chance does Kentucky have to beat Florida? How about 12.9 percent.

Florida Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro gives a Gator chomp toward the stands in his team’s win over Kentucky at Kroger Field last season. The No. 25 Gators host the Cats on Saturday.
Florida Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro gives a Gator chomp toward the stands in his team’s win over Kentucky at Kroger Field last season. The No. 25 Gators host the Cats on Saturday.

What kind of chance does Kentucky have to upset No. 25 Florida in Gainesville on Saturday? If you believe one set of statistical formulas, 12.9 percent, to be exact.

Tucked under one of the tabs on ESPN.com’s college football page is the Football Power Index, a ranking system that attempts to gauge each team’s chances to win every game on its schedule.

According to FPI, Kentucky would beat an “average” opponent by 1.1 points per game — not bad, but ranking the Cats 62nd out of 130 teams measured.

The Gators come in with an FPI of 13.8, ranking them No. 16 on the scale.

Factoring in the difference in each team’s FPI, (-12.7 for UK) and that the game will be played in The Swamp, the FPI comes up with UK having about a 1 in 8 chance of topping Florida.

But it gets worse. After Florida, according to the FPI, Kentucky can only reasonably be expected to win three games on the rest of its schedule — Murray State (99 percent), Vanderbilt (65 percent) and Middle Tennessee (82.3 percent).

Kentucky football has lost 31 straight games to the Florida Gators. With UK playing at Florida on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, will head coach Mark Stoops talk to his team about the streak?

Kentucky’s chances against the rest of the schedule, according to the FPI:

  • No. 18 Mississippi State — 18.6 percent. The Cats get the Bulldogs at home this year, where it snapped a seven-game losing streak to MSU in 2016.

  • No. 24 South Carolina — 30.9 percent. UK has won four straight in this series, but last year’s Gamecocks got rolling after facing the Cats and defeated Michigan in the Outback Bowl.

  • Texas A&M — 12.3 percent. The Aggies remain unranked, but the FPI has Jimbo Fisher’s new squad at No. 15 in its index. With the game at College Station, this might not be far off.

  • Missouri — 18.6 percent. Kentucky has won the last three meetings with Missouri, but, perhaps, the combination of this game being held in Columbia and the Tigers’ dynamic offense combines to set this game at one of UK’s poorest chances.

  • No. 3 Georgia — 10.5 percent. Beating the reigning SEC champs at Kroger Field would be one for the record books.

  • Tennessee — 44.8 percent. UK gets its second-best SEC chance of the season on the road in Knoxville.

  • Louisville — 34.1 percent. Louisville only ranks marginally better in the FPI (No. 52) than Kentucky, but gets more credit for playing at home, apparently.

Some of the more distressing numbers, according to FPI for UK:

  • The Cats have 0 percent chance to go undefeated.

  • They have 0 percent chance to win the SEC.

  • UK’s strength of schedule has an average FPI ranking of 35 for the rest of the season.

  • Its average win probability is 66.2 percent.
  • Its projected win/loss record is 5.3-6.7, which would mean no bowl game for the Cats.

Kentucky football lost a 28-27 heartbreaker to Florida in 2017. It was UK’s 31st consecutive loss to the Gators. After practice on Sept. 4, 2018, tight end C.J. Conrad talked about how the loss has motivated the Cats for Saturday’s game at Florida.

  Comments