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2016 Football Schedule and Coaching Changes

After getting several messages, emails, and texts, we’ll focus on 2016 instead of looking back at 2015. Keeping with that theme, Mark Stoops’ fourth schedule is much more difficult than his first three. Or is it? After taking a closer look, a large percentage of upcoming opponents have gone through head coach and or coordinator changes.

Let’s take a look:

Southern Miss

Highly successful offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey departed Hattiesburg for Arizona State. Incoming OC John Wozniak was hired from within the current staff. Wozniak, former receiver coach and special teams coordinator, will most likely keep current system in place and modify to his preference. The 2015 Southern Miss offense averaged 519 yards and 40.6 points per game.



No impactful change


New Mexico State

No change


South Carolina

The Will Muschamp era is on the clock. While underperforming at Florida (28-21, 17-15 in SEC) led to his eventual firing, Muschamp joined Gus Malzahn serving as Auburn’s defensive coordinator. While on The Plains, the Tigers gave up 421 yards per game. That mark was good or bad enough for 13th in the SEC. Overall, this hire was a reach at best.

Muschamp retained interim head coach Shawn Elliott. Incoming offensive coordinator Kurt Roper was with Muschamp for one year at Florida. Two former Georgia assistants are being targeted, Bryan McClendon and Tracy Rocker. Both are excellent recruiters which will be necessary. Steve Spurrier didn’t exactly leave the personnel cabinet stocked.



Longtime Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is now the head coach at Georgia. In a turn of fate, former UGA DC and Saban protégé Jeremy Pruitt returns to T-town. This move won’t impact Alabama’s SEC status.



No change


Mississippi State

Longtime Bulldog assistant and lead recruiter Tony Hughes is now the Jackson State head coach. Not a coordinator, but key for Dan Mullen on National Signing Day.



Out goes head coach Gary Pinkel, in comes Tiger defensive coordinator Barry Odom. While the Odom hire was vastly popular with the current team, MU’s offense was anemic and lacks explosive playmakers going into the near future.



Mark Richt is now at the U. Kirby Smart is the new lead Dawg. Over the years, Smart has been heavily courted. His patience and persistence to wait for his dream job paid off. The Saban disciple can recruit in the talent laden state of Georgia.



Butch Jones was given a nice Christmas present in form of a pay increase. Jones is now making $4.1 million per year. He did lose Mark Elder to EKU. The 38-year-old former Vol TE and Special Teams coordinator was named as the 14th head coach in EKU history.


Austin Peay

After going 1-34, Head Coach Kirby Cannon was fired. The Governors are still searching for their new leader.



No change


With new head coaches at Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, and Austin Peay, the 2016 schedule could be more manageable than originally expected. The most UK specific impact is the Southern Miss offensive coordinator situation. 2016’s opening game is significant to the final win/loss column as well as Mark Stoops’s ability to win back a questioning fan base. Southern Miss will most definitely travel to Commonwealth Stadium fully expecting to win the football game.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

15 Comments for 2016 Football Schedule and Coaching Changes

  1. Willis talkin bout....
    2:19 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    How many of these programs will have first time coaches that are coupled with first time OC/DC’s and feel no need to have a special teams coach? Cause thats the blueprint for success in the SEC!!! Go CATS!!!

  2. jaws2
    2:27 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    Football games are won in the trenches. If we’re not vastly improved there, next year is another 4 or 5 win season with that schedule. If don’t think that’s the case, give me your 6 that you think we win.

    • UK Big Board Update
      2:58 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

      Just do it.

      Image is nothing. Thirst is everything.

      Fast don’t lie.

  3. Catsby80
    2:35 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    I think we look at possible wins against Southern Miss, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Vandy, Miss St (only because they’re without Prescott), Missouri, Austin Peay, and Louisville (only because it is a rivalry). I am by no means suggesting that we will win all 8 of those games, but I don’t think it is a terrible stretch to say we can win 6 of them.

    @UF, @UT, & @Bama are all for sure losses and home against UGA is likely a loss, too. So there are 8 “possible” wins. Can we win 6 or more and restore a little bit of faith? That’s the 3 million dollar question.

  4. secrick
    2:38 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    CATSBY80, I like the way your thinking. I ‘ve been thinking that way for 35 years now but someday it will happen.

  5. Lip Man 1
    2:48 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    Six wins tops, more than likely five (yet again…)

  6. Mr. O
    2:51 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    Fingers crossed, but it almost looks like 5-6 going into the UofL game again in 2016. Hopefully we can do what we did this past year and beat USC at home and steal one on the road in Columbia. Beat Vandy at home and AP should be the sixth win of the season. Tough test vs. So Miss to start the season.

  7. inside info2
    2:56 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    We will win 4 games next year tops. Our OC will be fired but Stoops will be given one more year thanks to Barnhart giving him that terrible buyout amount if he is fired. Stoops will be fired the following year and Barnhart will somehow still survive.

    And anyone that counters saying Barnhart was AD of the year– so what? You get that award for the best all around program. Tell me when the last time you guys paid money to see the rifle team or women’s soccer team? Barnhart is a terrible fundraiser — his assistants do all that — and he has made terrible coaching hires for the basketball and football teams. Cal doesn’t count because he didn’t want to hire him but had no other choice.

    • UK Big Board Update
      2:59 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

      Again, noted. Thanks.

    • Catsby80
      3:13 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

      info… dude you need to relax. stoops deserves 5 full seasons here. i know that is going to piss you off, but let me explain. when joker left, there was nobody here who could compete at the top tier D-1 level. Stoops has had to completely rebuild this program from the ground up. I know the last 2 seasons have not ended the way any of us have wanted them to, but can’t you see that you being upset because we’re going 5-7 is a good thing? 2 seasons ago we were 2-10. let that sink in for a minute. 2-10.

      was the play calling suspect this season? absolutely. but perhaps we have to look at the personnel on the field and evaluate the play calling based on what we have to work with. Our o-line was the worst in the SEC. Period. The worst. That is going to influence what plays we call and when we call them.

      If we only give Stoops 3 seasons and we only give our OC 1 season, who the hell would want to come here and take on this program? Your expectations need to be tempered. Building a winning program in the SEC is not a sprint, it is a marathon.

      Rant over.

    • inside info2
      4:31 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

      UK Big Board, I am flattered that you lurk on the board to wait for me to comment.

      Catsby80, your statement doesn’t piss me off. Under normal circumstances I would agree with you. However this staff has made too coaching mistakes in the time they have been here and it has gotten worse, not better. Also, they have not shown that they can improve and develop players.

      If I remember at the end of last season and during Spring Practice, our O Line was supposed to be our strength. It definitely did not turn out that way.

      This staff will turn out to be just like Joker and his staff. Stoops may be a good DC, but will prove not to be a good coach. Also, expect some personal news from him during this off season.

    • UK Big Board Update
      4:43 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

      Noted. We await the results.

  8. lexwildcat
    3:32 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    Vandy will have a new ST coordinator and OL coach next year

  9. Mathlete
    3:34 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    When I read the headline for this article, I got my hopes up that some of the coaching changes mentioned would be the ones wearing UK gear this year (looking at you Dawson, Eliot, Mainord, Schlarman).

  10. KTower
    4:03 pm December 15, 2015 Permalink

    Continuity in coaching is very important. It is ridiculous to fire a OC that has been in the program for 1 or 2 years. Particularly when KY has a talent gap compared to the rest of the SEC.

    Stoops needs 5 years to get his team and coaches in place.