BOZICH: Why U of L, UK Aren't College Football Peasants - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH: Why U of L, UK Aren't College Football Peasants

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Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated ranks UK and U of L in the bottom group of college football teams, a group he labels "the Peasants." Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated ranks UK and U of L in the bottom group of college football teams, a group he labels "the Peasants."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Eric Crawford and I noted Saturday in the College Football Notebook, Stewart Mandel  of organized the teams in college football into four groups – Kings, Barons, Knights and Peasants.

Sort of like saying there are A, B, C and D-Level programs, a more extensive way of separating the Haves and Have Nots. He called it his "Program Pecking Order," as he updated it for the first time in five years.

And in this case, Mandel assigned Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana to the Land of Peasants, the bottom group of 20 teams.

Mandel said the rankings were not statistically driven. It was more of a "I Know It, When I See It," system. Something about how much juice these programs would carry if he asked somebody in Montana about them.

I did work some numbers – win totals over the last five years, bowl games played in during the last five seasons and average home attendance in 2011 – into comparing U of L, UK and IU against the 28 teams ranked one class ahead of them in the "Knights," division.

And Louisville and Kentucky don't belong in the world of college football peasants.

Indiana has struggled since Bill Mallory left town – and that's been nearly two decades ago. The Hoosiers and Kevin Wilson have to win their way out of the basement.

But Kentucky and Louisville have celebrated many good times. The Cards have had some potholes over the last five seasons, but the outlook calls for a third straight bowl game this season. The Cards have more wins over the last five seasons than six teams in the Knights division and their home attendance ranks 18th.

And although there is uneasiness in the Kentucky camp because of the struggles of last season, the Wildcats have actually been better than the Cardinals over the last five years.

UK ranks in the middle of the pack in total wins, has four bowl appearances and would rank eighth in attendance. Hardly the credentials of a college football peasant.

So can you make the argument that U of L and UK have been more Knights tan Peasants in recent seasons?

Absolutely, although you need to remember that Mandel's definition of how he selected and organized the teams in the four groups wasn't numbers oriented.

Mandel wrote this: 

"As a refresher: The goal here is not to rank programs based on winning percentage, national championships, bowl wins or any other quantitative measure, though those things undoubtedly matter. As I wrote in '07, a national power carries "... a certain cachet or aura. It's the way a program is perceived by the public. Let me put it to you this way. Suppose we went to, say, Montana. And suppose we found 100 'average' college football fans (not necessarily message-board crazies, but not twice-a-year viewers, either) and put them in a room. If I held up a Michigan helmet, my guess is all 100 would know exactly what it was. ... But if I held up a Georgia 'G' helmet, how many of them do you think would be able to identify it off the top of their heads?"

OK. But I couldn't resist. I checked the records of all the teams ranked ahead of the local programs in the Knights' category and compared them to what Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana have done the last five seasons.

Go ahead and weigh in.


                                          WINS                 BOWLS         2011 Home Att.


Boise State                          60                          5                  34,018 (30)

TCU                                     55                          5                  33,686 (31)

Utah                                    50                          5                  45,149 (23)

BYU                                     49                          5                  60,265 (7)

Oklahoma State                  48                          5                  57,229 (10)

Missouri                              48                          5                  62,095 (6)

Michigan State                    44                          5                  74,078 (2)

Arkansas                             42                         4                   66,990 (4)

Texas Tech                          42                         4                  55,347 (13)

Georgia Tech                       41                         5                  48,232 (19)

Iowa                                    41                        4                  70,585 (3)

South Carolina                     40                        4                  79,131  (1)  

Stanford                              40                        3                  49,997 (15)

Boston College                    39                        4                   35,709 (29)

Pittsburgh                           38                        4                   46,003 (21)

California                            36                        4                   37,657 (28)

Oregon State                      34                        3                    42,420 (24)

Kentucky                          33                       4                   60,007  (8)

N.C. State                            33                       3                    56,287 (12)

Kansas State                       33                       2                    49,030 (17)

Illinois                                 31                       3                   49,548 (16)

Arizona State                      31                        2                   59,007 (9)

Louisville                           29                      2                   48,538 (18)

Virginia                                29                       2                    47,940 (20)

Purdue                                28                        2                    45,225 (22)

Ole Miss                              27                        2                   56,488 (11)

Maryland                             27                        3                    42,355 (25)

Washington                         23                        2                    62,531 (5)

Syracuse                             22                        1                    40,504 (27)

Colorado                              21                        1                    50,355 (14)

Indiana                              20                       1                    41,380 (26)


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