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Mark Stoops’ seat is hotter than Charlotte McKinney’s Instagram page these days. It’s no secret the UK head coach is fighting for his job this season and today put him in its College Football Hot Seat Rankings, again.

Stoops earned a five on the heat scale, which means he is in a ‘Win of Be Fired’ situation. Last week he was only a four, or a “Better start improving” rating.

Here’s what the website had to say about him:

Athletic director Mitch Barnhart has spent millions on facilities, raises and stadium upgrades. One problem: Stoops’ program hasn’t done its part with all that cash behind it. That’s kind of a big deal with Stoops in his fourth season and Kentucky off to a disappointing 1-2 start. Entering the fourth game of that fourth season, Bob’s brother has exactly nine FBS victories. Two of them are over South Carolina.

Let’s just call it a must-win this week, then, against the Gamecocks. Or something close to it. Aside from Vanderbilt, Kentucky’s last three-game winning streak over an SEC opponent came in 1959 (over Tennessee).

Barnhart must decide if — for starters — he wants to write a $12 million check to buy out Stoops. That doesn’t include the cost of firing and replacing the remainder of the staff. We’re probably talking about $18 million to $20 million to redo Kentucky football for 2017.

Except that all the money Barnhart has spent to date was supposed to keep this from happening. At a basketball flagship, it will be interesting to see if there is the, uh, financial gumption to write that check. (Previously: 4) []

That stat about not having three consecutive wins over a non-Vanderbilt team since 1959 is a pretty bad look for the program — as is losing to Southern Miss, only scoring seven meaningless points at Florida, and giving it up to New Mexico State.

Beat South Carolina?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

24 Comments for puts Mark Stoops on the “Win or Get Fired” hot seat

  1. secrick
    3:50 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    If S.C. beats us bad is Stoops gone? Lets say 40 to 10

    • KYcats11
      4:21 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      I sure hope not, stoops needs our support for at least the rest of the season. That being said, he had to get this defense to be somewhat competitive.

  2. ukkatzfan
    3:57 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    Stoops lost the 3 players on defense prior to season. That’s a big hit prior to a season that was predicted to be a difficult schedule. I call BS to those who do not want to give him one more season. #Chester>DrewAndCBS

    • secrick
      4:16 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      I agree, i think he needs next year at least but was just seeing what other folks thought about it.

    • The Goose Is Loose
      4:26 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      So even after losing 3 players on defense do you not think we had more talent than Southern Miss? I can promise you we do or at least should have. Troy beat Southern Miss at Southern Miss. Troy freakin University.

  3. onsides
    4:07 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    I’d be fine with Stoops being fired. However, Mitch is the most incompetent AD when it comes to sports that make money. He can’t be allowed to make another major sports hire. Cool new logo and checkerboards though! Just kidding they’re terrible and embarrassing. In other words, they’re Mitch decisions.

  4. Mathlete
    4:28 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    I have as hard a time keeping this in perspective as I have anything in my life, but here’s the short of what’s going on with UK football –

    – Historically, UK has never been a consistently good football program since Bear Bryant left. Ever. We’ve had a couple of up years, but go decade by decade and find one that UK Football comes out with a winning record. You won’t, it’s not there. I already looked.

    – We’ve finished 8 seasons in program history ranked in the AP top 25, and 5 of them were under Bryant.

    – UK has finished over .500 58 seasons out of 124 since we started playing football, 18 of those seasons were post-Bryant. Eighteen in sixty two years. 1 in 3 years we finished above .500 in that time.

    The point of all of this depressing information is this – Stoops didn’t inherit a rebuilding project or a blank slate, he inherited a slate that wished it were blank but was in desperate need of a cleaning and polishing before anything new could be on it.

    This season has been mostly painful so far, but like ukkatzfan pointed out, we lost 3 important players on defense this year right before the season. This was bound to be a rough ride from the beginning but on the upside we’re building young players who are suddenly getting a lot of reps when the original plan was to redshirt them. Bench strength is huge in college football, especially on defense.

    Barnhart says he is “tired of quick-fix coaches,” then signs Stoops to a huge extension with a colossal buyout. Maybe he’s an idiot? Maybe he knew the fans would grow impatient through the time it would take for the program to get off the plateau and on an upward trajectory again and wanted a reason to think good and long about getting rid of Stoops and his team hastily? I have to believe Barnhart isn’t a total idiot, he’d need the pedigree and dumb luck of Lane Kiffin to fall up the career ladder to where he is now.

    We’re all tired of the promise that “next year is our year,” no doubt. I’m right there with you guys. But we’re trying to build a skyscraper on what was once a swampy sink hole. It’s going to take some time to fill it in and lay a foundation that won’t collapse.

    • BluKudzu
      5:07 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      I usually agree with the thoughts you share on this forum, however, some of the points mentioned, are difficult for me to support. I appreciate what you wrote, and I see your point, but, I refuse to believe it takes years to build. There are too many examples, of the process of turning around programs, from swamps to sky scrapers, clean slates, and doing so in less than 4 years.
      Houston, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Rutgers, just to name a few.
      I would be tempted to offer this thought as well: Stoops 4th year, no more of Joker’s players on defense. This is what you got; an overated defensive coordinator, as a coach, his buddie as the DC, and that is why you are seeing the 42 + points a game given up each Saturday. These guys are as lost as their players on the field.
      Nope, this is not a genious move by Barnhart. In fact, it was him buying into the hype, just as we had, and that is why the contract was floated. 9 of those wins, over FBS teams, were with players left from Joker’s regime.
      This season, it is Stoops, his team, his players.
      This is what Barnhart spent 12 million on.

    • Mathlete
      6:32 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      Out of those programs you mentioned that rose meteorically –

      – Louisville was 8-5 last year, they spent years going up and down in quality and happen to be incredibly good this year. Gravity will probably bring them back down to Earth in time because Petrino is no Saban.

      – Houston is in the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country, I think I remember a graphic that showed over half of their starters’ home visits were within commuting distance to the stadium. Their coach is a rock star, but they were 5-7 as recently as 2012 and hung out at 8-5 for a few years in the AAC before taking off last year. They’ll probably continue rising if they move to the Big XII (likely). No doubt that’s the dream scenario, but not everyone has 100 5* recruits in their home state.

      – Vanderbilt had 2 good years under James Franklin, not what I’d call sustained success (although they’ve still been holding our heads under water the last couple of years). Franklin apparently isn’t catching fire everywhere (see Penn State Football and his currently warm seat)

      – Rutgers was relatively great once, but so was Harvard. Neither one is relevant now.

      The guys playing now are Stoops’ guys, true enough, but how many did we lose right before the season or during the off-season? Hatcher turned out to be more interested in his hits off the field than on it. Elam is probably a bust and we know that now, but he was also a splashy 5* recruit at the time so of course we burned a scholarship on him and took a chance. Barker finally got to start and he’s hurt, the receivers and corners are widely regarded as the best collective groups we’ve ever had (possibly not saying much considering the history I cited above, but still!).

      The O-line and defensive front 7 are our weak points right now, but Johnson can mask the O-line’s problems (mostly related to their youth) with his feet and Stoops taking over the defense actually gives me some hope. DJ Eliot has done such a lousy job coaching them to this point that there was no way Stoops was going to turn it around in a week, or maybe two. Give them until after the bye week to really get their act together and we can judge progress then. (I don’t suggest any more public tirades about their practice habits by Stoops in the meantime though…)

      The point of both of my posts is this – yes, it’s frustrating right now, but it’s not time to give up yet. Sometimes it takes a while to get that winning spark going, Barnhart probably knew that when he gave Stoops his contract extension, and we’re not seeing any of the dividends of the new stadium or practice facility yet but they’ll get there. The promise of “next year” forever rings hollow for UK fans, but which would you rather go through right now: being frustrated we’re probably going 5-7 because we should be better, or being ecstatic we’re going 5-7 because it’s been a great season?

    • BluKudzu
      8:09 am September 23, 2016 Permalink

      Love the feedback, and agree to a point. I chose to cite those schools that were products of a 4 year or less turnaround. There are several more that could be brought into the conversation, you get my point.
      As to your question on 5-7, it was great following a 2-10 season. Not so much last year when we head a schedule that seemed specifically designed for a breakthrough season, which became a struggle, even with EKU.
      As of now, based on what I have seen thus far, 5-7 would be a gift for this team, this year. Further, less than 5-7 would be dissapointing, as it would be indicative of a program failing, which means any credibility Stoops had established, takes a huge hit, with his current team and potential recruits.
      Maybe Stoops will make an impact with the defense in a couple of weeks, who knows? But, giving up 40+ points a game in his 4th year, is not a definition of progress.
      Not very many programs, prove to be successful, when a member of their defensive backfield has more tackles than the entire defensive line, combined.
      I am a college football fan. I am a UK fan for life. I believe Mitch can do better, and he should.
      This is the SEC. We are the cellar dwellers. You do not change this direction in this conference by “rolling the dice” with a coordinator. You have got to find an experienced head coach, that has turned programs around. It is hard to do, I know, but it has to be done, and it can be done.
      I hope I am wrong. I hope Stoops is able to push that magic button and turn this program around. However, based on the games I attend, record, and watch again and again, just about everything I have seen, thus far, is not indicative of a program on the rise, or showing any improvement, than the last coordinator Mitch hired and fired, in 3 years.
      Appreciate your post. Go Cats.

  5. truebluethroughandthrough
    4:29 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    I think Stoops, Barnhart, and the checkerboard pattern should all be dismissed…. Checkerboard pattern. Who the hell does a checkerboard pattern in 2016? 1 step forward and 3 steps back. I cannot belive they’re putting that junk in Rupp…..

  6. BluKudzu
    4:30 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    I remember the fall hype video about UK football, captured during practices for this season. One scene stuck out to me; it was Defensive Coordinator DJ Eliot, adressing the team, while the players were taking a knee. He said “if we had 11 players like (Courtney Love) on the team, we would go undefeated.” Then, this week, Stoops basically said Courtney Love is a major problem, and basically is lost on the field. Threw him under the bus actually.
    I think this os a great example of the dysfunction of DJ Eliot, and Stoops just saying it like it is.
    I am thinking it will play out that Eliot will get another position and responsibility to coach if he wants to stay, Stoops keeps his job, after replacing the DC. He gets acouple more years to get it to work.
    The hype machine begins as soon as we get a new DC.
    Same stuff, different decade.

    4:49 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    Right the freaking check now. Ready for Brohm.

    • RealCatsFan
      5:25 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      ** write **

  8. ekywildcat
    4:58 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    Really thought Stoops would get the job done, but he’s not making much progress. Some of the mistakes we make, major college teams aren’t supposed to make. Seems like every game we give up a TD before halftime WTH!!! I was in the keep him camp, but now, if they want to fire him, I’m fine with it.

    • Patches
      5:41 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      I really felt the same bout Stoops, he came in here looking like, talking like and recruiting like a real football coach. Now in his fourth year and this is a total mess. Totally blowing the second half of the last 2 seasons and the dumpster fire that is this years team. He has failed UK, the fans and the players he has recruited. Shame on Stoops, shame.

  9. RealCatsFan
    5:25 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    Any good AD would have a list of 3 or 4 names of head coaches that he would offer the head coaching job to if his coach were to leave for another program. Of course, that won’t happen with Stoops, but you have to think there would be a short list of coaches to replace him. The scary part is, who would those coaches be?

    With the investment in facilities, decent fan support, the opportunity to coach in the SEC, and an at least respectable cupboard of talent at a lot of key positions, UK football should be a reasonably attractive target to an up-and-comer, especially at the pay level that Stoops is already at. Yes, of course UK is not ‘Bama, LSU, OSU, etc., but they would have to be an upgrade over the likes of Houston or even WKU. The key is to put the offer out there before a traditional power football program is looking for a coach. When UK hired Stoops, there were a lot of high level programs in search of a coach, such as Michigan and UT. Not sure who else might be making the switch, but sometimes timing is everything! (ask UofL)

  10. Catlogic15
    7:55 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    You can talk players this, players lost, coordinators blah blah but I think the common denominator is the fact Stoops can’t communicate with his players. Can’t connect. He can’t sell them, and they don’t like him.
    That will not change.

  11. AllBall
    7:58 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    So, according to some the defensive failure can be made better by Stoops taking control. I think any change has to be a positive from what we’ve been seeing. However, my question is, “How the hell did Stoops not forsee our defensive struggles and poor performance? He’s the head coach and is paid handsomely. Stoops had all off season and camp to figure this out.
    I want to be a supportive fan but not blindly put my faith behind someone who couldn’t recognize the challenges ahead. Look, I realize the roster may be thin in areas but you gotta plan. See things for what they are and scheme around it. I honestly believe many fans would accept things better if we got a game plan explanation pre/post game with some substance. You can’t just say we need to get to work or execute.

  12. timer2
    10:24 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

    The fan base has given up. The guys and gals from our tailgate crew have all given up their season tickets. We will still pull for the players, but we aren’t gonna waste our Saturdays driving to Lexington to support an incompetent administration that does not care.

    • football school
      11:17 pm September 22, 2016 Permalink

      GA Tech’s student section was still full tonight in the 3rd qtr and cheering hard vs Clemson, showing support and pumping up their team. Did they win? No, but the team gave a spirited effort and the stadium was still rocking and not the rocking chair type of rocking you get at Commonwealth in the 2nd half. No wonder our players lose interest in the 2nd half of games. Our fanbase doesn’t have the guts to sit through something that lasts longer than a basketball game. If we’re winning like we were against S. Miss then the place is supposed to be going nuts during the 3rd qtr. What happens at ol Sleepywealth? Half the students leave for the party, half the other folks are running for their bourbon. No atmosphere equals disinterested players. Part of a program is also building the right culture for football players to thrive on, not sleep on. Go Cats.

    • BluKudzu
      8:38 am September 23, 2016 Permalink

      Fans can help build a program. Disillusioned fans can bring it down faster than any other type of fan. Last I checked, New Mexico State University is no Clemson, and UK is not even close to being a Georgia Tech. Just review the records for the last three years.
      I have tickets, I go to the games, I pull for the Cats. However, I can’t find fault with those fans, who were loyal, based on reasonable expectations of improvement, being subjected to the results given thus far, to execise their right to show their displeasure in what they see.
      I think they expect to see progress, and they have not.
      7 years since a bowl and the team has gotten worse. Neither Clemson or Georgia Tech have had that problem.
      Maybe that is why they have fans cheering late in the game, and we don’t?
      Who wants to watch something they love get beat so bad, even the media makes jokes about the team and the University?
      I stay for the game, but I do not expect others to.