Last month, ESPN asked all 65 Power 5 conference coaches (SEC, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Pac 12) whether they would favor scheduling all non-conference games against other Power Five teams, with the caveat that teams would not be required to get six wins to play in a bowl. As expected, the results varied: 46% were in favor of exclusively playing Power 5 opponents, 35% were opposed, and 18.5% were undecided (wusses).
Here’s something surprising: Mark Stoops was one of seven SEC coaches who voted in favor of only scheduling Power 5 non-conference opponents. The results from the SEC:
Should the Power 5 conferences only schedule Power 5 non-conference opponents?
YES: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida’s Will Muschamp, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, LSU’s Les Miles, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Tennessee’s Butch Jones
NO: Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, Georgia’s Mark Richt, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason
Undecided: Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin
Right now, Kentucky relies on its non-conference schedule for easy wins (this year, UT-Martin, Ohio, and Louisiana Monroe). I would have expected Stoops to oppose only playing Power 5 teams, but I guess he’s operating under the “to be the best, you have to beat the best” motto.