Culture Changer Mark Stoops Doesn’t Dismiss UK Chances at SEC Title

Kentucky last won an SEC football championship in 1976 (split with Georgia), but that hasn’t stopped head coach Mark Stoops from thinking this just might be the year the Cats break shock the college football world. Crazier things have happened in 2020. Speaking on the Sirus XM radio’s SEC channel, Stoops had confidence things are building towards reaching that mountaintop.

“Why not,” Stoops asked. “We understand it’s a great challenge. We take the approach that we need to handle our business each and every day. We want to play with an attitude and a chip on our shoulder, however it’s about executing and doing the right things. I’ve taken the approach, since I’ve walked in the doors here to try and do the right thing and to work our tails off everyday. I said that in the first press conference I was in. we’re going to attack everyday…but I can only control that. I feel we’ve done the right things and put the pieces in place to be successful for the time I’ve been here.

“Now I think there’s a lot of schools in this league that have been doing things right for 50, 100 years and we’re also trying to get there. I can promise you that we’re putting the pieces in place and we’re working and we’re taking that mentality since I’ve walked in the door here.”

The task in 2020 is daunting. First up: a trip to Auburn to face the No. 8 team in the country. The good news for Kentucky is that it won’t be a typical SEC road trip. There will be just 17,500 fans in attendance at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Now for the bad news in 2020. Kentucky will face Auburn and Alabama, plus the typical games against Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. That’s an absolute dogfight for Stoops’ team, a program that has beaten Georgia just twice this century. It’s worse when you look at Kentucky’s record against Florida. The Wildcats have beaten the Gators twice since 1980. UK is 2-37-1 all-time vs. Alabama.

In other words, Stoops has his work cut out for him. He’s not going to say the team is hoping to finish third in the SEC East. You either go into the season thinking you can win it all, or you get out of the business. Mark’s clearly all-in and ready for Auburn.

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Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.


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  1. As a 40 + year fan of UK football, very few Power 5 programs have been a victim of excessive gut punch losses and consistent mediocrity as UK.

    And while I appreciate the love from Outkick, and give credit to AD Barnhart and Coach Stoops for improving the facilities and overall talent to the best levels in UK history, today’s Auburn game proves that “UK football gonna UK football.” Stoops still doesn’t make in-game or halftime adjustments and there is enough combinations of questionable play calling, player mistakes and excruciating officiating to keep UK out of contender status.

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