Mark Stoops has torn down countless barriers during his time in Lexington. Signature victories over high-profile programs, streak-ending wins, bowl streaks, historic win totals, and draft selections. You name it, he’s done it.
Kentucky has started off the season with a 5-0 record, with a favorable schedule down the stretch. As a result, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic is predicting as many as 11 victories for the Wildcats in 2021.
That’s the good news.
On the flip side, Feldman also believes that a historic 11-win season for Kentucky would make Stoops one of the most sought-after coaches in college football this offseason. With several big-name programs potentially looking for new head coaches, Stoops is expected to be at the top of their wish lists.
“There may be some very big jobs open this winter in CFB. Coach who I think will become a hot commodity: Mark Stoops,” Feldman wrote on Twitter. “Kentucky’s won its last 6 games decided by 7 pts or less, and look at UK’s remaining schedule. Getting to 11 wins now seems very realistic.”
He added that the intrigue may be due to Stoops’ familiarity in several regional hotspots, winning in the SEC now, playing at Iowa, coaching at Miami (FL) and Florida State, among other stops.
“Stoops is primed to win double-digit games for the 2nd season in a 4-year stretch at a place that only won more than 8 games in the prior 100-plus YRs,” Feldman added. “He also could fit in a bunch of places regionally: played at Iowa; coached at UM & FSU; was a PAC-12 DC & is winning in the SEC.”
Of the programs potentially looking for new coaches this offseason? Feldman says Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, and LSU all have coaches with “warm” seats (or hotter) in his temperature check system.
Could Stoops leave for one of those jobs? Will another become available as the coaching carousel gets moving this offseason? Time will tell.
Be ready to get that checkbook out, Mitch Barnhart. Whatever Stoops wants, give it to him.