Kentucky Football 2014: A season in words
When we look back on the season, we have to ask: What did we say about the season?
I wanted to find out -- for lack of a better phrase -- what haunted Kentucky football this season. What was the zeitgeist on wdrb.com?
So I made a word cloud. I took 17,634 words written primarily about UK football this season and dropped them into a word cloud generator to see what words appeared the most in our columns.
We can't tell the tone, context or connotation of each word, but the sheer prevalence of certain words can tell us what we were particularly preoccupied with all season.
So what jumps out about Kentucky?
Firstly, Stoops. In a sea of words, Stoops is emblazoned across the middle in a much larger font than the rest. In short, the pressure was on. A lot is always said about a coach, because he's the one behind the wheel. But Stoops is the only name that jumps out. It seems like no one else was under the same amount of scrutiny. Whether he was blamed or commended, he was in the pages -- a lot.
Win. The word jumps out not because it was a winning season -- it wasn't -- but because that's what everyone talked about. Early season wins dominated the conversation and set the expectations high for the rest of the season. Everybody wants a win, but in this case everybody was talking about a win -- whether it was in the past or a hopeful thought for the future.
Florida. If there's one thing that haunts Kentucky football, it's Florida. The perennial powerhouse has beaten Kentucky every time they've played over the last 28 years. In fact, it's tied for the second longest active win streak in college football. This season the cats came so close to winning they could taste it. One could assume the word Florida will appear in every Kentucky football word cloud, but it's presence is particularly telling of just how much that game haunted this season.
“The two words that stick out to me in this cloud, while not two of the more-used words as reflected by size, are the words ‘better' and ‘more.' Both are pretty prominent themes for UK, in both ways. When the season started so well for UK, the notion was that the Wildcats were better than they'd been in the past. And I still believe they were, even though at the end of the season, the uses of ‘better' was more in a ‘need to be' sense. With ‘more,' I think you're talking about what the program and its fans are looking for — more wins, more top-flight recruits, more consistency."
"Kentucky fans have embraced Mark Stoops because they like his plan and have embraced it. They like the way he has recruited. They're tuned in to his vision of how he is building the team and giving it more toughness. They're convinced he is the guy who can get Kentucky back to the success the Wildcats enjoyed when Rich Brooks was in charge.
"I'm surprised that Patrick Towles wasn't more prominent in the cloud. You could make the argument that he was the best quarterback in the SEC East -- and he's going to be running the show the next two seasons. Bobby Petrino was very impressed by the way Towles played this season."
Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved. Word cloud courtesy of WordItOut.com.