The goals are not exactly that hard to figure out for Mark Stoops this year. It’s 6 wins or bust for the Cats. Despite the fact the schedule has been significantly stronger than last year (when UK played just ONE ranked team), it’s Year 4 of the Stoops era with no bowls yet. The last 2 years should have been bowl seasons, especially last year’s collapse. So this year, no matter how they come, the Cats HAVE to win 6 games if you want the fans to stay on board. So what has Year 4 meant for UK coaches in the past. Below is each UK coach since Bear Bryant and what their record was in their 4th year at UK. Those in bold had their best year up to that point in their 4th year.
Joker Phillips (only coached 3 years)
Rich Brooks: 8-5 (most wins at that point)
Guy Morris (only coached 2 years)
Hal Mumme: 2-9 (worst record at UK)
Bill Curry: 6-6 (most wins at that point)
Jerry Claiborne: 5-6 (2nd worst record at that point)
Fran Curci: 9-3 (most wins at that point)
John Ray: 3-8 (most wins at that point)
Charlie Bradshaw: 6-4 (most wins at that point)
Blanton Collier: 3-7 (worst record at UK)
Bear Bryant: 9-3 (most wins at that point)
So, taking out Joker and Morris, who didn’t last 4 years at UK, 6 of the 9 remaining coaches had their best year up to that point in Year 4 of their tenure. Mumme was headed out the door because of probation in his 4th year so there were some extraordinary circumstances with that one. But for a program that has seen plenty of 5 win and below seasons, that’s a pretty good group of 6 wins or more seasons. If I told you that Mark Stoops had a 66% chance of winning 6 games or more this season, I would hope you would take those odds.
So, it’s 6 wins or bust, right?