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What’s the minimum win total for a “successful” football season?

Dale Zanine | USA Today

Dale Zanine | USA Today

Dale Zanine | USA Today

Every year, the collective fan base sets a pre-determined win total that must be reached for it to be deemed a “successful” season. The first year of the Stoops’ era, many just wanted to see improvement and a heightened reason for optimism in the future, winning roughly three or four games. In 2013-14, an electrifying recruiting class lifted expectations to six wins and a bowl game. Last season, a favorable schedule made hopes of seven or eight wins half-way reasonable. The Cats fell just short of expectations in all three seasons in terms of win totals, but they’ve built up a foundation unlike any era in UK history.

This year, where exactly is this roster’s floor and ceiling?

Let’s be honest, this year’s schedule isn’t doing the team any favors. Going on the road to the likes of Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Louisville is going to be unbelievably difficult, and home stands against Vandy, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi State aren’t going to be easy either.

That being said, Kentucky was two plays away from going 7-5 last season. The Wildcats lost some talented pieces, but most of the core group of guys are back this season, one year older with one more year of experience and maturity. This is statistically the most talented team in UK history, and with a widely respected coaching staff, they should be finally able to get the most out of their stacked roster.

The Cats have to get the job done against Southern Miss, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Austin Peay. Each of those games are at home, and talent wise, UK outlasts all of those opponents. They can’t blame inexcusable losses on youth and immaturity anymore, that ship has sailed. The bulk of talent now rests with the upperclassmen and redshirt sophomores. Guys like Drew Barker, Boom Williams, Dorian Baker, Chris Westry, and Denzil Ware have to carry some major weight and become the vocal leaders their teammates need them to be.

Aside from the five winnable home games, a win on the road against Missouri is necessary. UK defeated Mizzou at home in the most memorable game last season had to offer, and they have to find a way to continue that streak.

There are your six wins. That’s Stoops’ bowl bid key right there, signed sealed and delivered.

Beyond those six, the two home games against Mississippi State and Georgia are intriguing, and likely the most promising remaining wins on the schedule should UK lose to one of the teams they shouldn’t. UK has always had trouble with Mississippi State, but the media listed MSU just outside the top 40 nationally and last in the SEC West, where UK finished just outside the top 50. The talent gap is closing with the Bulldogs, and if there was ever a time to steal a win away from Dan Mullen, it’s this year.

Georgia on the other hand is loaded with question marks. Without a doubt, the Bulldogs have the more talented roster, but they’re also bringing in a brand new coaching staff, likely starting a freshman at quarterback, and have uncertainty on the defensive line. I wrote a piece several weeks ago about Georgia being my sleeper upset pick, and I stand by that gutsy decision. UK can usually snag a surprise victory every year, and something tells me this is the one.

The media predicts the Wildcats will finish fourth in the SEC East, and in order to make that happen, UK has to win all or most of the games they should, and one or two surprises along the way.

My minimum win total is six. It’s bowl or bust this season. Stoops has to get over the hump eventually, and the time is now if he wants to avoid a spot on the hot seat. Truthfully, I believe the Cats come out with seven wins, finishing 7-5 en route to Stoops’ first bowl game as head coach.

What’s considered a “successful” season this year? What’s your absolute minimum win total goal for the 2016 season?


Follow me on Twitter at @JackPilgrimKSR

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

51 Comments for What’s the minimum win total for a “successful” football season?

  1. CATS1989
    6:43 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    7-5 with a win over Louisville would be ideal.

  2. Han
    6:45 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    Agreed. Gotta get at least 6 wins or Stoops’ seat gets pretty freaking hot. Now that he’s had time to recruit and should be settled in, the bare minimum is to get to a bowl game. Ideally, a couple extra wins and winning that bowl game without any blowout losses or “shot ourselves in the foot” losses.

    If injuries happen, so be it, but I don’t really want to hear any excuses about the talent level or the guys who’ve transferred out or been kicked off the team. We want out of the cellar and to beat Florida. Get it done.

  3. chicago_cat
    6:50 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    6, gotta get to a bowl game.

    Cats haven’t won 8 games since the 80’s, anyone who is predicting that needs to temper expectations.

    Couldn’t even beat vandy last year

  4. runningunnin.454
    6:53 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    Minimum would be six.

  5. BluKudzu
    6:57 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    MINIMUM 9 wins. Stoops has had plenty of time. Tired of the hype, let’s see some results.

    • scorpiocard
      7:28 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      I’ll take 8… my ass


    • scorpiocard
      7:59 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Nice account security on this high tech website ksr! (says the REAL scorpiocard) LMFAO!!

    • UK Big Board Update
      8:13 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      A quick search on twitter brings up fellow UofL fans disdain for scorpiocard. He’s even loathed by his own idiotic fanbase.

      Chug [email protected] 7 Mar 2013
      @ULhothot I swear to you, if I ever met Scorpiocard in real life, I’d smack the shit out if him. He’s the worst

      Matt French [email protected] 19 Sep 2013
      @CardChronicle what exactly did you do to ruin Scorpiocard’s life? Dude lives to hate you.

      doctorofdunk [email protected] 1 Feb 2013
      @CardChronicle [Makes template for ScorpioCard profile, waits patiently]

      doctorofdunk [email protected] 1 Oct 2012
      Want to know more about this bar that ScorpioCard allegedly owned.

      doctorofdunk [email protected] 18 Jul 2012
      @CardChronicle We pool some money via PayPal and get ScorpioCard to loan us some cash. We go to an auction, buy cheap 2YO. Stay w/ me…

      gocardsattitude [email protected] 26 Jun 2012
      @CardChronicle Matt Jones’ trip to Final Four vacated… Scorpiocard to immediately assume his place. #LCPT

      R.C. [email protected]_calhoun 15 Jun 2012
      @CardChronicle scorpiocard really is a buzz killer! Lancaster and billy T should be in front of rozier and crook

      gocardsattitude [email protected] 13 Jun 2012
      @troydstout scorpiocard is 12.

      Paul Peavler [email protected] 11 Jan 2012
      @ULhothot @cardscott5 Pretty bad. Clay Ables, scorpiocard, Whacker77, all the big name trolls suddenly make a return.

      Chris Sohl [email protected] 16 Feb 2011
      Somebody please tell scorpiocard he’s got diarrhea of the keyboard. I can’t do it.

      doctorofdunk [email protected] 10 Sep 2013
      @ULhothot I’ve already decided to live-yell my tweets at both road games in TX. Canned shout-out to ScorpioCard, #fth, etc.

    • scorpiocard
      8:40 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      ^ loser ^ ha ha ha

    • scorpiocard
      8:50 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      A quick search of twitter shows that those on Card Chronicle who worship Pitino and think he can do no wrong, took issue with me calling him out for his F ups FOUR YEARS AGO!

      Those battles and dust ups are ancient history nimrod.

      Damn you are weak dude. 😀

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:50 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      scorpiocard says:
      December 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm
      No one! turns down Texas? How ridiculous. Cracks me up how simple minded folks always think they know what someones else’s career priorities are.

      Jim Tom you know what else comes with the Texas job? CRAZY fan base expectations. If a new coach had one bad season their life would become a living hell. Charlie Strong is also a devoted family man with two daughters in their final years of high school. He’s not going to move them for ANY job. He may leave after they graduate. Sure its possible. Before they do? No way.

      Your idiotic response makes me laugh.

    • JoChan
      9:32 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

      Crabcard, I didn’t realize you could call someone weak while also posting an emoji at the same time. Especially when the emoji is one that looks like you’re wanting something put in your mouth.

  6. Kentucky Ben
    7:17 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    Ideal would be 7 or 8 wins with wins against Louisville and/or Florida

  7. Kentucky Ben
    7:18 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    But since thats a stretch 6 wins with a bowl win is successful

  8. Souf beach Lou
    7:25 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    2 wins. Beat florida beat Louisville. Kentucky will never be taken seriously without ending the florida streak. Bowls are meaningless compared to that streak.

  9. Souf beach Lou
    7:32 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    think of it from a recruiting standpoint. How many big time recruits did we get during rich brooks bowl run? Cobb was not Abigail time recruit he picked uk because ut didn’t want him. How did going to bowl games help us during rich Brooks’s run. I don’t think it did, I think we stayed right where we were talent wise and if you look at the last two bowls we kind of peaked and regressed. The bowl games were nice but the big time players did not even notice. Florida is our bowl game. Georgia is a bowl game. If you can beat teams like that you can attract big time recruits especially from those 2 states. Those are the games that will put UK at another level. nothing else matters, everything else is marketing and smoke and mirrors

    • scorpiocard
      8:07 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Excellent point!

    • Souf beach Lou
      9:49 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      They put such an emphasis on bowl games but I can’t remember anything good coming out of it. The Clemson win was fun, the ECU win was fun. The FSU game was fun but half the FSU players were held out. Did our recruiting talent improve? No matter of fact Brooks was asked to leave simply based on the fact the program stalled and joker was supposed to start bringing in the four star guys. But they never came. We ended up recruiting to the level of bowl game we could win. I think if you can beat these big time programs those wins pay more dividends recruiting wise than a sleepy bowl game no one watches. Bowl games are fun and good for the kids but honestly at this point I’d rather beat florida more than anything. I’d rather have one or two more sec wins over some cupcake bowl. Besides if your good enough to beat a team like florida the bowl games will come.

    • JoChan
      9:34 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

      Souf, generally speaking anytime that Crabcard responds to your post with “excellent point” your comment was most likely delusional or off base, if not just ignorant or trollish.

  10. UKPROF
    7:46 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    UK must beat Louisville and Florida and WIN a bowl game, THIS YEAR. Anything short of at least those 3 victories means we had another year of underachieving.

    • scorpiocard
      8:03 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      How does losing to teams favored to beat you constitute “underachieving”?

    • cats paw
      8:22 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      nice spin scorpio. the underachieving part is having the 15th highest paid coach in America with supposive great recruiting classes and having Louisville win more games in the SEC than we do!! and we dont need to mention our record against Western and Louisville. NOT being favored against such teams is what makes this a pathetic program with pathetic fans that continue to support it

    • cats paw
      8:32 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      scorpiocard, do you have a boyfriend? we should hook up sometime. I heard your supposively gay

    • scorpiocard
      8:39 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      And going to OT against EKU…yeah I get it. I have already gone on record as saying I think you all will have to break out the checkbook and say bye bye to Stoops.

      But the UKPROF lists Florida and U of L. U of L is ranked in everybody’s Top 25, as high as #12 in one. And its on the road and you’ve lost 5 in a row, and Bobby is 7-1 all time vs uk I believe…with one of those wins coming at WKU with C-USA talent. I won’t say good luck with that, because I wish you no luck at all.

      Florida is not getting as much preseason love as U of L, but there is that little matter of not beating them for close to 30 years, and its on the road also. When is the last time uk won a SEC road game? Stoops has NEVER won a road game I believe. I’ll go ahead and say good luck with that one.

      Demanding to win those two games, plus a bowl game is kind of crazy.

    • scorpiocard
      8:44 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Man what’s up with the hacked accounts? What a joke. LMAO!

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:49 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Stoops has never won a road game? LOL Might wanna check your facts, dipshit.

    • scorpiocard
      9:49 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Acknowledgment where it is due.

      I forgot that uk beat South Carolina on the road last season.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:23 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

      Scorpiocard, are you over here making friends again? 😉 You should realize by now that the ability to pose as another poster is one of the things that makes KSR fun! Put a big target on your back, and the shots will come.

      And yes, UK has its share of kool-aid drinkers. We have to! UK football fans are perhaps the most star crossed and long suffering in sports this side of Cubs fans!

  11. shelby
    7:52 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    If stoops makes a bowl with this schedule, only 4 years after inheriting jokers high school team, he’s national coach of the old year. I see 5-7 and I’m happy with that given the hole we’re climbing out of. This is a six year rebuild–minimum. How in the world anyone predicted a bowl last year is beyond me. You don’t take true sophomores and redshirt freshmen into the SEC and win…it’s men against boys. We just need to keep recruiting, and let our young talent mature. Baby steps.

  12. scorpiocard
    8:24 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink


    Not a bad post, but I see two obvious serving of Kool Aid in it.

    1) “Kentucky was two plays away from going 7-5 last season”.

    Okay right. But Kentucky was also just a couple of plays away from going 3-9 last season too. EKU took you to OT on your home field, and now you are talking about upsetting UGA?? Gutsy is not what I would call that pick for an upset.

    2) “widely respected coaching staff”

    Gimme a break. Widely respected where? Down in Opossum Holler? Stoops is on his first HC job and has done nothing but lose, and really show no ability as of yet that he can be a head coach.Respect is garnered win you win. As usual uk fans, and ksr, need to pump the brakes and dial back the rhetoric until they actually do something on the field. Ron Zook could recruit too, but he will never be respected as a good HC.

    On another note…how about that FAKE national championship trophy?? 😀

    • Billy Hill
      10:01 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Get a girlfriend, loser.

    • scorpiocard
      11:24 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      I always think it is so dang ironically funny when someone posts on an internet message board, that another person is a loser for posting on an internet message board.


    • Billy Hill
      11:55 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      I didn’t insinuate that. I’m pointing out the fact that you obviously have not ever had a girlfriend and are craved for attention, even if its negative.

      You take it way beyond “its just sports”

  13. BluKudzu
    10:10 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

    I will start with hoping they beat Southern Mississippi. That game, plain and simple, will define this program, Stoops, and Mitch Barnhart. The entire season depends on that first game. Win that game, decisively, and a meaningless bowl is more obtainable. Lose or struggle, the only thing left is playing out the season, trying not to end in last place.

    • scorpiocard
      11:21 pm July 26, 2016 Permalink

      Agree. That first game is going to tell us a huge story.

      Mississippi Southern (as Jerry Claiborne used to always call them even after they changed their name) is too good for uk to simply roll over, but they need to win by at least 7, or more like at least 10 to come out of that feeling good about what lies ahead. Lose that game and you are dead in the water. Win big and there is some reason for legitimate hope.

    • JoChan
      9:19 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

      BluKudz, you really think the Southern Miss game will define Mitch Barnhart? I mean, it’s a stretch to think it will define Stoops or the program, but to say it will define Mitch is just way off base. Also, trying not to end up in last place? First off, that is not an SEC game so it won’t effect the SEC standings, and second, UK is picked to finish middle of the pack in 4th place in the east ahead of Vandy, S. Carolina, and Mizzou which is as close to 1st as it is to last. In General, anytime that Scorpiocard agrees with you, it is a good indicator that your comment may have been delusional.

    • BluKudzu
      1:29 pm July 27, 2016 Permalink

      JoChan, if the season works out well, it will definately define Mitch, Stoops and the program, consequently, it could also leave a lot of efg on plenty of faces.
      I hope you are correct on your 7 win prediction, but please remember, this is a team that needed a miracle, at home, to beat an OVC team last year.
      Better yet, read Freddy’s post today, which states essentially everything I said in this post yesterday.
      If we do not beat Southern Miss, we have little or no shot against the SEC, and depending on how the bottom play against each other, we could very well end up in last. Scorpiocard speaks with his mind.

    • JoChan
      2:03 pm July 27, 2016 Permalink

      Blu, you are correct about the EKU game, but I was also at the Florida game where if Baker catches the ball in the end zone (also 1 play), then we beat the SEC east Champions! Also 1 play difference against Vandy and we make a Bowl game. It’s all in how you wanna spin “1 play away from…” but in the end we were 5-7 with a win over the OVC team and a loss to the SEC champ. I just don’t see the schedule as hard as some do and I see a deeper roster with more experience. People are only looking at the fact our “gimme” games are down to only 2 or 3 this year and not looking at the fact that the “mission impossible games are down to only 2 this year with Bama and UT. Also, just to be clear, I predicted 6, but said 7 is not impossible.

  14. dgtuk
    5:25 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

    Not sure what statistic you are using to declare this is the most talented team in UK history. Regardless that is an absurd claim. Doesn’t come close to passing the smell test.

    At least 6 and 6 is necessary for a successful season in my opinion.

  15. Elwood BLU
    8:14 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

    I am going to go undefeated in tailgating this year, again. Hopefully we will get 6 W’s on the field. Either way it is going to be a fun season and I can’t wait for it to start!

  16. JoChan
    9:13 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

    I actually think 7 wins is a legit possibility. I don’t by any means think it is certain, or a given, but here is why I have the belief that 7 wins is very possible. I think Southern Miss., N. Mexico St., S. Carolina, Vandy, and Austin Peay are 5 wins. We get 1 of 2 against Miss. St. and Mizzou for 6. Then we get 1 of the 3 against Florida, Georgia, and Louisville for 7. Bama and Tennessee are the only 2 games that I think UK has very little chance against, and just need to avoid a blowout in. From previous experiences, UK will lose 1 they should’ve won so my guess is 6 is how many they’ll get in the end, but I just wouldn’t be surprised with 7 at all.

  17. CatMan4Life
    9:14 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

    Does anyone ever wonder if trolls like BluKudzu and scorpiocard are the same pathetic L’ville fan talking to himself? Just curious.

    To the point at hand, I think that six wins is likely. It is also necessary for Stoops to not feel the heat under his seat. I believe that we can beat Southern Miss, New Mexico State, Austin Peay, Vandy, Missouri and South Carolina. Any wins beyond that is gravy, for me. I think that this is as good a year as any to break the Florida streak. They will have a new QB and lost a lot from that great defense they had last year. Also, this is a great year to catch Miss. State, with their exodus of talent via graduation or the draft. So, 6 is likely, 8 isn’t out of the question. Any more and I will walk from Georgia and personally kiss Stoops’ SEC COY trophy that he will get for winning that many games.

  18. macsauce13
    9:44 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

    Gotta get six. I am 100% in Stoops’ corner, but a lot of people will not be if they don’t get to six this year. Next year may be our year, but Stoops has to overachieve this year. If he can get to six, I think he wins over the fan-base and we see an unprecedented level of success over the next five years. If he cannot get there, then he is going to feel some serious pressure and that is not a recipe for success.

    Come on Stoops, come on CATS!

  19. dshwildcats
    10:44 am July 27, 2016 Permalink

    The Louisville fans, like Scorp, keep pointing to Kentucky struggling with EKU. Yes, that was not a good performance, and I thought EKU’s kids deserved to win that game. But, Card fans keep forgetting that Auburn had to go to OT to beat I-AA Jacksonville State, exactly one week after they dominated Louisville for all but the last 10 minutes of the game. Auburn was up 31-10 on Louisville with a little over 10 minutes left in the ballgame. Does this mean that Jacksonville State is better than Louisville? Heck, Kentucky played Auburn a much tougher game than Louisville; but, I don’t think Kentucky was better than the Cards.

    Also, Louisville could have easily lost to Boston College and Wake Forest last season. If they lose those two games, they are at home for the Holidays as well, even with a win over Kentucky. It is definitely a game of inches!

  20. Howdy Doody
    4:28 pm July 27, 2016 Permalink

    Is THIS really true ??? UL Grad e-mailed me this morning…

    I hope not. THIS make’s us all look desperate to other teams in the SEC.
    We need to admit what we are and get on to hiring a winning coach. I imagine this (if true) will be locker room fodder for opposing teams for decades.
    PLEASE say it ain’t so !

    • Florida580
      1:41 pm July 28, 2016 Permalink

      Oh yes. It’s real and hilarious. I think they were correct to do it though. If you are a joke, go all in on being a joke.