Stats Comparison Of Tide, Wildcats

Alabama has reached the one-third mark in its regular season schedule, a perfect 4-0. Three of those games have been against non-conference opponents, one tough one and two softies. Some maintain that statistics have little meaning ("statistics are for losers"), but at some point, when Florida is on top and Vanderbilt is on bottom, perhaps statistics are relevant.

Alabama is ranked third in the nation. The Crimson Tide goes to Kentucky Saturday to take on the Wildcats, 2-1. Kickoff will be at 12:21 EDT (11:21 central time) with regional television coverage on the SEC network.

Kentucky played a couple of decent non-conference teams, then ran into Florida last week and got run over by the tune of 41-7. That game knocked the Wildcats down a few pegs in most statistical categories.

As would be expected, Bama is ranked higher than Kentucky in most categories maintained by the Southeastern Conference.

Games are decided by a score. Alabama ranks third in scoring offense, 40.5 points per game, while Kentucky is ninth in scoring defense, giving up 22.7 points per game. The Wildcats are 10th in scoring, 26.7 points per game, while the Tide is third in scoring defense, allowing 13 points per game.

Alabama is third in rushing offense, 234.2 yards per game, and Kentucky is last in rushing defense, allowing 185.7 yards per game. The Wildcats are eighth in rushing, 166.3 yards per game, and Alabama is best in the league in rushing defense, allowing only 47.2 yards per contest.

Alabama is third in passing offense, 256.2 yards per game, and Kentucky is sixth in pass defense, giving up 168 yards per game. The Wildcats are ninth in passing offense, 171.3 yards per game, the Tide fifth in pass defense, allowing 155.2.

In total offense, Alabama is third, averaging 490.5 yards per game, and Kentucky gives up 353.7 yards per game, 10th in the conference. The Wildcats average 337.7 yards per game, 11th in the SEC, while Bama is best in total defense, giving up 202.5 yards per game.

Even coaches think a few statistics are important.

In third down conversions, Alabama is third, making good on 25 of 56 opportunities, 44.6 per cent. Kentucky is right behind, fourth, making 20-45 for 44.2 per cent. When opponents have third down, Alabama is third best at stopping conversions, allowing 15 of 57 for 26.3 per cent. Kentucky ranks ninth, opponents making 16-45 for 35.6 per cent.

Alabama has not been pleased with its turnover margin this year. The Tide ranks only eighth in the SEC. Bama has turned in two pass interceptions and two fumble recoveries, suffered one interception and lost two fumbles for a plus one. But that's still better than Kentucky, which is ninth on the basis of three interceptions and two fumble recoveries on both offense and defense.

Alabama ranks seventh in the league in offensive efficiency in the Red Zone, 19-22 scores, 12 touchdowns and 7-8 field goals for 86.4 per cent. Kentucky is 11th, 8-10, seven touchdowns, one field goal, 80 per cent.

In Red Zone defense, Kentucky ranks ahead of the Tide, holding opponents to 75 per cent, 9-12 on five touchdowns and 4-6 field goals. Alabama ranks fourth, but has allowed only five Red Zone opportunities for opponents. Bama has given up three touchdowns and a field goal, 80 per cent.

Kentucky ranks ahead of Alabama on both kickoff returns and kickoff coverage, but Alabama ranks ahead of Kentucky on punting and punt returns (the Tide leads the league in punt returns, averaging 18.8 yards per runback).

Bama is better at making first downs (third in the league, 23.5 per game, to Kentucky's worst in the SEC, 19.3 per game) and better at preventing first downs (Alabama leads the league at 11.2, Kentucky is sixth at 18.0).

Bama is second in the league in sacks, 3.25 per game, and Kentucky is seventh, 2.33. Both teams allow one sack per game.

Both teams are middle of the road in penalties, Alabama sixth, 55.8 yards per game, Kentucky seventh, 61.3.

Some believe the most irrelevant statistic is time of possession. Alabama leads the SEC, 33:14, and Kentucky is fourth, 30:36.

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