Mark Stoops has lost 30 games as the University of Kentucky head coach. 1/3 of those came in his first season. And he has improved or stayed steady in wins each season as the head coach. But one area that a coach in his 5th year with as many returning players as Stoops has, an easier schedule, and just the natural excepted progression of a program should have is removal of the blowout loss. Kentucky has lost 11 games in the last 4 years by 20 or more points:
-Lost to Florida by 38
-Lost to Alabama by 28
-Lost to Mississippi State by 26
-Lost to Tennessee by 31
-Lost to Georgia by 24
-Lost to LSU by 38
-Lost to Georgia by 32
-Lost to Tennessee by 34
-Lost to Alabama by 41
-Lost to Missouri by 31
-Lost to Tennessee by 42
2012: 6 losses by 20 or more points (Joker)
2011: 4 losses by 20 or more points(Joker)
2010: 1 loss by 20 or more points (Joker)
2009: 1 loss (Rich Brooks)
2008: 1 loss (Rich Brooks)
2007: 0 losses (Rich Brooks)
It has been 10 years now since UK experienced a season without a 20-point loss. One of the Rich Brooks’ best attributes was that Kentucky was competitive in nearly every game. Road or home, ranked team or not, UK battled each and every game. They were rarely overmatched. Joker Phillips, unfortunately, changed that and Kentucky was consistently embarrassed on the field.
Mark Stoops has seemingly turned that corner, getting UK back to a bowl game, beating UL along the way, but what will be the next steps? That is what this season is all about. What are the next steps? Is it 7 wins and out each year? Is it ever beating Florida, Tennessee, or Georgia? Or is this program ready to take another leap?
Blowout losses have become the norm for Kentucky football. I think that could change this year. No Alabama on the schedule. Florida and Tennessee at home. No seemingly unwinnable road games. This program gained back some respect last year. I’d like to see them earn that respect each and every game this year. Blowouts need to be gone.