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SEC Coaching Rankings: No. 13 Mark Stoops

With the SEC season less than four months away, here’s a look at how the conference’s coaches rank in 2015.

Bio: Stoops served as a defensive coordinator for several teams before joining the Wildcats. At Florida State, Stoops inherited the No. 108 overall total defense and turned it into one of the nation’s best. In 2012, the Seminoles ranked second in total defense (254.1 yards allowed per game) and sixth in scoring defense (14.7 points per game).

Stoops was hired by Kentucky in December 2012. He inherited a program that went winless in SEC games and finished last in the conference. In 2015, Stoops matched Kentucky’s win total from the previous two seasons by Week 7. 

Iowa (GA)
Nordonia (OH) HS (DB)
Wyoming (DB)
Houston (Co-DC/S)
Miami (FL) (DB)
Arizona (DC/DB)
Florida State (DC/DB)

Reasoning for ranking: Stoops’ second season at Kentucky is difficult to judge. He managed to show improvement by matching the team’s win total from the past two seasons but also failed to secure bowl eligibility. The Wildcats ended their season on a six-game losing streak after opening the season at 5-1.

Kentucky wasn’t a team that entered with high expectations, but winning changes everything. The Wildcats seemed to be poised for the postseason and capable of exceeding expectations before suffering a historic collapse.

Stoops deserves some of the blame for the teams ineptitude down the stretch. He earned a second contact extension for the team’s hot start but failed to live up to growing expectations.

The SEC is filled with talented coaches. Stoops is young and shows promise for an ailing Kentucky program. However, his short tenure has not provided enough to compare favorably to his counterparts.

2015 Schedule: 

09/05/15 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
09/12/15 at South Carolina * TV Columbia, S.C. TBA
09/19/15 vs. Florida * TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
09/26/15 vs. Missouri * TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
10/03/15 vs. Eastern Kentucky TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
10/15/15 vs. Auburn * TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
10/24/15 at Mississippi State * TV Starkville, Miss. TBA
10/31/15 vs. Tennessee * TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
11/07/15 at Georgia * TV Athens, Ga. TBA
11/14/15 at Vanderbilt * TV Nashville, Tenn. TBA
11/21/15 vs. Charlotte TV Lexington, Ky. TBA
11/28/15 vs. Louisville TV Lexington, Ky. TBA

2015 Outlook: Kentucky has four favorable non-conference games. The Wildcats should also compete in matchups against South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt based on last season’s results.

But Kentucky has too many unanswered questions on offense to expect much success in 2015. Stoops has the program moving in the right direction, but the Wildcats are far from being a contender. Fortunately, the fan base will have basketball to keep it satisfied from October on.

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