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Mark Stoops votes in favor of only scheduling Power 5 non-conference opponents

stoops opening presser

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.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for Mark Stoops votes in favor of only scheduling Power 5 non-conference opponents

  1. Changing the Culture
    3:08 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    Coach Stoops – changing the football culture ’round here! I like it!

  2. Jeff
    3:13 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    GREAT. Coach Stoops walk in with an attitude. As my Dad use to say, don’t get and Ulcer, Give the other guy one. HooRaa

  3. Tyler
    3:16 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    It’s funny how people are happy when Les Miles and Stoops say this, yet when Saban said this he got absolutely destroyed.

  4. memphis
    3:17 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    What do we have to lose? It’s already embarrassing when the only wins are against cupcake opponents. It would be fun to see some big time non-conference opponents come into Commonwealth Stadium. Or at least bigger than the likes of anyone from the MAC.

    • Turner the Burner
      4:08 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

      We already have big time SEC schools that come to Commonwealth + UL every other year. Getting wins is important and more importantly, those schools like EKU, Murray, etc… need that guaranteed money to support their sports teams.

  5. gordonm
    3:19 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    If you want to Win a Power 5 NC, you should play a Power 5 schedule.

  6. jlove
    3:49 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    I always questioned the logic of playing 2 or 3 smaller teams and pretending like the W’s were legit. I would much rather see us play an not ranked power 5 school where a win would simultaneously be great for the program and an actual possibility.

  7. Cals Cats 3.0 Check us out on Facebook!
    4:06 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    If it isn’t required to have 6 wins to get into a bowl game, then why would you not be in favor of this? Not understanding your logic Tyler. You said we rely on our non-conference schedule for easy wins. What are we relying on those easy wins for? One thing, to put is us in a situation where we have a chance to go bowling.

    My only concern with doing this is not about the easy win part but getting beat up and not having the depth to handle the big dogs. UK tends to fade by the end of the year because our starters for the most part can compete with the big dawgs, but once we have some key injuries we fold and fold fast.

    It wouldn’t work well this year but if Stoops continues to get in top 25 recruiting classes, we should have the depth to handle the injuries, especially if the other SEC teams are dealing with the same issue.

    What we don’t need is some of the SEC teams to not take this on and we ended up getting beat by them in the season because of it.

    I can also see this helping out the mid majors. Once bowl games come around, the mid majors should be fresh, while the big dawgs beat each other up throughout the season. End result if UK has a game in a small bowl like we did against E. Carolina that one year, it is a tough draw. If you win, so what you beat a little school. If you lose against what maybe a much fresher team, it just looks like a loss to a small school.

    • Keller
      4:21 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t really get your logic here, why would it be any different than every other year when we were coming out of the SEC gauntlet into a bowl game? Why would a team be any fresher in late December by playing cupcakes in early September as opposed to playing more competitive games?

  8. theWilkman
    4:13 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    Bring on IU!

  9. Keller
    4:36 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    This would be more exciting for college football as a whole, I’m sure Bama vs Oregon or A&M vs Texas or Georgia vs Clemson would get much higher ratings than Georgia vs Savannah State or Bama vs Troy or Tennessee vs Middle Tennessee. And it wouldn’t be outside the realm of feasibility for us winning the required 6 games. I think it would be nice to play the other “basketball schools” like IU, Duke, Carolina, Kansas, Syracuse, UConn. They would attract more fans and bring more of their own fans as well.

    • agree
      4:50 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

      I agree with you, nothing says UK would have to schedule Oklahoma, Ohio St, or Florida St. They could schedule schools like Wake Forest and Utah

  10. Ukcatzfan
    5:17 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    Two things about above ,EASY wins,?
    And does that include WESTERN ky?

  11. Daddy Jorge
    9:30 pm August 7, 2014 Permalink

    IMO playing exclusively against the Power 5 would be a great thing for UK and the Power 5 in general. Its tough to evaluate this on today’s setup however, you have to imagine the changes that are going to come about in regards to recruiting and talent pool when the Power 5 go autonomous. For conversation purposes lets assume each team takes a 25 person recruiting class each year. Current FBS teams at 25 recruits per class means the talent pool each year is among the top 3200 kids. Power 5 means the talent pool per class is 1625. Today Wake Forest is indistinguishable from Temple. Future state Power 5 means going to Temple will equal a scholarship and going to Wake Forest will equal a scholarship + $$$. The original 3200 kids will be begging to get into the top 65 schools. Inherently the 65th school will have more talented kids fighting for admittance than the 1st of the non-power 5 schools.

    Further, season tickets look a lot better when you are seeing 6 or 7 games each year against power 5 teams. Meaning more interest in the program, meaning more donors and emphasis on the program. The incredibly lucrative TV packages will be even more lucrative. Each of those 65 schools will make a tremendous commitment to football. Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Auburn, USC, will always be powerhouses, but the schools ranked ~ 15th to 65th will all take steps up and will all be closer in competition with each other.

    So in summary…If you flipped the switch next year and said: “only power 5 conference teams are allowed on the schedule”, UK would definitely suffer, however, if you consider the other changes and the length of time needed for this to happen, UK will greatly improve in talent and on the field product with the switch.

  12. football school
    12:58 am August 8, 2014 Permalink

    Why not move to:
    2 Power 5 schools
    2 Mid-majors
    No Div II
    Smaller mid schools still get $$ and we still get decent games