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The Cats near the top of USA Today’s Misery Index


Every week the folks over at USA Today rank the most miserable teams in college football and wouldn’t-ya-know-it  the Cats made the list. The only team to top them was LSU who quickly went from playoff favorite to low-middle of the top 25. Just how miserable are things in Lexington? Here’s what the USA Today had to say:

2. Kentucky: On Oct 31, 2014, Kentucky announced that Mark Stoops’ contract had been extended to 2019 and his salary raised to an average of $3.6 million per year. At the time, Kentucky was 5-3 and feeling good about its progress, having just played a highly competitive game against then-No. 1 Mississippi State. Recruits were coming. Big-time SEC facilities were being built.

It felt like the Wildcats were on the cusp of breaking through to a different level, and with some potentially enticing jobs for Stoops coming open, athletics director Mitch Barnhart went ahead and locked his coach up with a real SEC-level salary.

Since that extension, however, Kentucky is 2-11 in the SEC and has completely fallen apart this season with five consecutive losses. Though some Kentucky fans were getting restless as this team blew opportunities early in the season to land significant wins, Saturday’s 21-17 loss at Vanderbilt was the moment the bloom officially came off the rose. Kentucky is 4-6 and will need to beat its rival, Louisville, on Nov. 28 to finish .500. That is not how Year 3 was supposed to go for Stoops.

This was a bowl game-or-else type of season. Of course, there is no “or else” for Kentucky because it pushed all its chips into the middle on Stoops last season and there’s really nothing else they can do but ride it out and hope progress comes in 2016. This year, however, has to the shake the confidence of the fan base because Kentucky had every opportunity to make this a good year and whiffed when it counted.

[USA Today: Misery Index Week 11]

I think Dan Wolken nails Kentucky’s situation perfectly. Kentucky had so many opportunities to do something special this season. They held Flordia, the SEC East champs, scoreless for the second half but could never find the end-zone and end the streak that haunts the fanbase. They had a reeling Auburn team at home in a crazy environment but dropped the game winner. They faced a Georgia team that was running off the rails, only to be given new life by the Cats. And they outplayed Vanderbilt in their house only to hand them the game on a silver platter. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe it.

So now Kentucky has a two game season to keep the dream of the Stoops era alive. Without out a bowl game in year three will the class hold together? Can they keep the recruiting momentum of the past 3 classes going without much to show for it? Highly unlikely. Stoops could still find some success in the short term but without a bowl and continued high-level recruiting then that success is hard to maintain.

It’s sink or swim time for Kentucky football. Misery indeed.


Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

29 Comments for The Cats near the top of USA Today’s Misery Index

  1. VirginiaCat45
    9:04 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    We all saw it coming,
    From our living room venue,
    Stoops never found the hot hand,
    The weapons to be used,

    But someone killed our football season
    Cut out its heart and soul
    Stoops and Dawson got away with murder
    Down on Music Row

    He’s been paid a many dollar,
    And recruited some better names,
    But somehow kept losing our tradition
    And for that, I’ll have my say,

    Every last player looked quite guilty
    But the evidence will show
    It was the coaches committed murder
    Down on Music Row

    For the Stoops Troops no longer cry,
    And the band they barely play
    But dropped passes and bad play calls
    Are the Cats everlasting way

    Our team would have had a chance,
    On our TVs and radio
    But the Coach went with the hot hand
    Are you kidding us Down on Music Row

    They thought no one would miss it
    Once the game was dead and gone
    They said no one would wise up
    That its last seasons same old song

    (Oh but we still bought our tickets)
    Well there ain’t no justice in it
    And the statistics they don’t lie
    Murder’s been committed
    Down on Music Row

    For the Stoops Troops no longer cry,
    And we never make any winning plays
    With our mistakes right and left all day
    Vandy laughed right in our face

    Why, the Team might have had a chance
    On our TVs and radio
    But Stoops and Dawson committed murder
    Down on Music Row

    Why, they even tell old Oscar Combs
    To pack up and go back home
    Cause our coaches committed an awful murder
    Down on Music Row

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:08 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

      Was a murder committed
      Down on Music Row?

    • VirginiaCat45
      9:20 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

      Just of our football season

    • BluKudzu
      9:02 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      UK Big Board Update has no reading comprehension skills. His spiteful responses add nothing. Two indicators of being a moronic troll. Just grow up little girl, and go away.

  2. kurofmi
    9:35 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    Gallows humor is about we have left. Now that we all can attest that the King has no clothing…what’s next? Check Sabin’s salary per SEC victory….now see what The UaK is coughing up. I’m frankly have grown tired of fans resignation to mediocrity. This is a winnable scenario….especially with 3 victories purchased up front. Football intellect. Motivation. Discipline. Nope. Nope. Nope.

  3. tippytoe
    9:39 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    What you are failing to report on on these numbers, where we are number 1in FBS:

    1. Worst coaching game decisions
    1. Worst receivers
    1. Most dropped passes by a human being (Dorian Baker)
    1. Worst special teams in the history of college football

    Yay, us!

  4. Long Dong Silver
    10:25 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    Nah! No misery here! We’re just getting started, bro! Grove street party!!!

  5. hakanea
    10:36 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    I’ve been watching Kentucky football since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. For over 50 years I have watched ineptness on the football field become an artform. However, yesterday’s loss to Vanderbilt was without a doubt the worst I’ve ever seen.
    From Charlie Bradshaw’s thin 30, John Ray and we believe, Fran Curci, Jerry Claiborne ,Bill Curry, Guy Morris , Rich Brooks , Joker Phillips…..I thought I had seen every way you could lose. I was wrong.

    Saturday at Dudley Field in Nashville on the campus of Vanderbilt University , I witnessed a game with probably 20 thousand other Kentucky fans out of an announced attendance of just over 30 thousand TOTAL, in which THE Ultimate way to lose a game occurred. Maybe myself and every other Kentucky fan just care too much about winning. Perhaps even the coaches and players care too much about winning. Something just ain’t right. Quite frankly, my give a damn is busted.

    The sun did come up this morning. Maybe all of us just need to care a little less about the results. I don’t know if caring less will make a winner out of Kentucky Football, but at this point , it certainly wouldn’t hurt either. After all , 129 people in Paris lost their life Friday night. Let’s all try to keep a football game in perspective!

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Jiminy Crickets
    11:37 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    We gave a coach an extension and a raise based on close LOSSES. We almost beat Florida twice, be came really close to beating Mississippi St, we played Louisville really well until the back-up QB ripped us apart. Stoops does not have a single signature win in his first 3 years, even Jokers resume is better than that. The team looks completely lost, makes so many basic mistakes like having 11 guys on the field at a given time. Our coach admits, after every game, that the decisions he makes are stupid. Our OC is an arrogant ass that is clueless with his “if it worked, it would have worked”,

    Stoops came to Barnhardt asking for the job, and boy was he fooled. We beat a terrible USC team in the last two seasons, and the boosters drive the coach to step down, and Bobby Petrino cant wait to hang 50 on the “NEW CWS” scoreboard.

    I was at UK during Curry years, and its wasnt that bad because no one cared that we were terrible, but this guy got us to care, and gave us nothing

    • Long Dong Silver
      12:08 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      This. Exactly.

    • The Rest of the story
      8:50 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      You are right on the money Jiminy. Stoops saw an easy mark at UK and took the money. He acts angry on the sidelines but laughs all the way to the bank. He is now a multi-millionaire who can sit back now and wait for more millions with a buyout. Only UK can make millionaires out the worst coaches in college football. Way to go coach you got a life of ease now with no worries if you never coach another game.

  7. 2thepoint
    11:47 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    In spite of the loss I am sure the “hot qb” starts again Saturday so perhaps he can get his confidence back.

  8. kyjohn
    11:50 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    Don’t worry about UK football.Stoops has it figured out.In fact he tells us after each pathetically played game,all he has to do is coach better,work harder,and pay attention to detail.

  9. FunkyMonkey
    11:51 pm November 15, 2015 Permalink

    I’m not surprised we got fooled by a trick play, our arrogant OC is the least creative I’ve ever seen,… no sweeps, reverses, not even a flea flicker,… the results speak for themselves,… he just a big cocky talker just like Ron Cooper was at Louisville with results to match. Unfortunately Stoops didn’t have any head coaching experience to see thru the bull he spewed. WVU is laughing we hired an OC who even they wouldn’t let call his own plays. Here’s your sign.

    • The Rest of the story
      8:52 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Yes Dawson is pure horse poop as a OC but remember it was Stoops who wanted him. The coaching problems on this team start at the very top.

  10. bigpops
    12:47 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Yep we’re awful. Check our wins. UL Lafayette: we score late to beat them by a TD at home. They are a 4-5 Sun Belt team with a 21 point loss to Akron and a 29 point loss to Louisiana Tech. South Carolina: They have a 3-7 record, including a win vs WINLESS UCF and the talent is so bad that Spurrier couldn’t stand to watch them any longer. EKU: We stole one in OT against a lower division FCS team that recently lost 34-0 to Jacksonville State. Sure glad we don’t play them! Now on to Mizzou: 1-5 in the SEC and that win came over South Carolina.

    ZERO quality wins – not only this year but in Stoops three years! But like he always says we are going to go back to work and no one needs to panic. Contract runs through 2019. I have started counting the days until November 2019 when he can be given his walking papers. Only 1473 more days!!!

  11. ky1988
    2:10 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Fans need to realize stoops is building program from bottom up. football it takes more then three years to build a program. this isn’t basketball. if you cant see the progress he has made you do not know much about cats football.

    • NothingTrivial
      5:10 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Some of us do realize that, but even when you account for that there is still a lot of room for valid complaints. Even in wins we’ve been poorly coached and unprepared. That’s on Stoops, and it’s inexcusable. He’s made bone headed in game decision after bone headed decision, our players often stand around before a play confused about where to line up. We’ve had the worst punt returner in college football all year when he’s not waving for a fair catch inside the 5 his arm is too tired to even be bothered to catch the ball. We’ve got a qb who is late on every read he makes, makes bone headed plays, absolutely refuses to get set on throws…I’m never seen a qb tap dance and effect his throws more. I know Drew Barker won’t be much better as evidenced by Saturday…but his throws are more crisp, the team plays harder for him, he makes his decision and gets the ball out. If Patrick is making the same mistakes as Barker who is 40 snaps or so into his career that says a lot. Maybe Barker will adjust and learn because we damn sure know Patrick wont.

    • cats paw
      7:05 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Ky1988—-I think you have it backwards! Actually, the University of Kentucky is trying to build a head coach from the bottom up!!! Yes, it takes more than 3 yrs to accomplish. Thus why he needs to be perfecting those skills at Georgetown college at a salary of about $150k/year. UK needs a proven coach that shows the immediate results a 3.6 million salary demands.

    • kycats13
      8:05 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Are you kidding me? This team and coaching staff is ridiculous. Looks like Houston, Memphis, Temple, etc. found ways to get things going. How about Western Kentucky, then there is Tennessee that was in our same situation 3 years ago and look where they are. Even Vandy was awful at the beginning of the year and they are much improved where we have totally fallen apart. Stoops has no clue as to how to manage the program. I can’t believe we are paying him 3 million. Too, is it just me or is anyone else annoyed with our team dancing on the field like they have accomplished something. I’d send them to the locker room.

    • The Rest of the story
      9:00 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Here it is, the ole ” need more than 3 yrs to build a team” speech. Does it take more than 3 yrs to see that we have zero improvement in the program? UK has been robbed by Stoops and his Merry Men. No college in football has been rebuilding the program longer than UK and the end is no where in sight.

  12. StevieGotLoose
    8:11 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Stoops was a bad hire, period. His decision making and game prep is terrible. He won’t listen to his coaches. He is a desperate man coaching in an emotional way. He is trying to control everything. The good ones don’t get rattled, they maintain their composure and think clearly. There are divisions everywhere you look on this team: offense/defense, Towles/Barker, coaching staff/head coach. Barker should have had more game time than he has received. I have said from the 1st game on that Towles will not get us over the hump and to a bowl game. The SEC is not a place for on the job training for a head coach, especially one who can’t pass an open book test. Some will say that the SEC is not the place for a QB and on the job training. WTF have we gotten with Towles for 2 seasons, 2 SEC wins a year. It is time for a new QB and a new head coach. One last thing, what about all these great receivers we have? All we get are the ones who can’t catch or block. Snodgrass has left, don’t be surprised if there are more transfers at the end of the season (Barker, Conrad, etc). Stoops is not the man.

    • kycats13
      8:53 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      I can not believe that Towles didn’t throw the ball somewhere on that last play Saturday. Either Towles doesn’t have a clue and/or the coaching staff didn’t tell him he had to throw it somewhere, anywhere. Either way the last play is an indictment of the entire program.

    • bigblueforever
      9:08 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Well, he did try to lateral it, about 3 seconds after he was tackled. So he is getting smarter and by year 12 of his career should be fine.

      I have been pointing out how awful this coaching staff is for weeks. But of course that just means I’m a troll.

  13. kycats13
    8:45 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    I’ve seen some very bad football at Kentucky over the past 60 years, but what I saw on Saturday has to be the lowest point in my lifetime. The Team looks confused, but that’s because the Coaches appear to be confused, there is no situational planning, the only rhythm we have is the team dancing during timeouts and commercials, Stoops thinks that yelling at the officials will get him somewhere. Do NOT mistake activity for accomplishment. This is another lost season. The only way we’ll know the result of the Louisville game is to look up this year’s results next year when the season starts. They should start giving away tickets for the last games today in an attempt to get “someone” in the stands. Because we went all in on Stoops last year, he isn’t going anywhere, but the rest of the coaching staff has to be let go and we need to bring in someone to manage the program while Stoops yells and screams at the officials and runs up and down the field with his arms flapping like a wounded duck.

  14. The Rest of the story
    9:08 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    As we look at the above comments the feeling seems to be the same. Stoops and staff just are incapable at what they are paid to do. 23 comments and only one with the lame ” it takes more than 3 yrs” as anything close in favor of Stoops. That my friends is just over 4% in favor of Stoops.

  15. Howdy Doody
    9:17 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    4% must be deaf, dumb & blind….these clowns are a disgrace to humanity.

  16. bigblueforever
    9:20 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    We need a big time OC and DC. A special team coach. We have better than 4-6 talent in a really down SEC (especially the East) plus what should have been three rout wins and 8 home games. This was the year, remember we were told ” year three” was going to be the big year. New stadium. Sec talent. Best receivers our OC had ever coached. Vandy is awful. UT and AM will beat them by 50. UK should be 1-9. Team is in total disarray. Coaching is a head scratcher. Do you really think next year, when our defense loses a lot and schedule is much tougher, that this staff will figure this out? I don’t and I wish I were wrong. But I’m not.

    • kycats13
      9:32 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      There are better coaches in the Kentucky High School playoffs than we have coaching the Cats.