I already know I’m going to get some hate for this one, but I just don’t know if I can jump on the “Mark Stoops is one of the top four coaches in the SEC” bandwagon until I see more consistency from him.
I get it, he’s coaching at a school that values the basketball program more and that’s where most of the resources go, but he has shown you can win football games in Lexington. But I can’t tell if the ceiling at Kentucky is 10 wins or if that’s just Stoops’ ceiling.
Stoops didn’t have a winning season until year four, but I can’t fault him for that because the Kentucky football program was in the gutter. He then won seven games in back-to-back seasons before notching his first 10-win campaign in 2018. The Wildcats went just 13-11 over the next two seasons before winning 10 games again in 2021. How did they follow that up? By winning just seven games in 2022.
Kentucky football is more respectable now under Stoops than it was before him, but I’m not sure that he’s worthy of the distinction of being right behind Nick Saban and Kirby Smart in everyone’s SEC football coach rankings every year despite mediocre finishes most of the time.