One question for Big Blue Nation as we get prepared to beat Georgia in football Saturday: When is it time to say Mark Stoops has done a pretty great job this year?
I've been thinking about this point since before the win over Mississippi State.
Since the seemingly back-breaking loss against Southern Miss, since he's taken control of his defense, since he's tried to recapture a fanbase that saw a program slipping away ... Stoops just may have done the best SEC coaching job this side of Nick Saban.
He's done what most thought was impossible: He's righted the ship, and has UK all alone in 2nd place in the SEC East - a punter's chance from playing Alabama again in the conference title game in Atlanta.
He's done it with a backup quarterback - someone no one knew a year ago. He's done it by finding an identity for a team that always thought they were going to pass, pass, pass - and convincing us all we're going to run, run, run.
And that's been a lot of fun, by the way.
He's done it by recruiting athletes and depth who could fill in when others moved on or got injured. He's consistently developed linebackers who have become some of the most productive in the SEC. He's produced not one, but two of the best running backs in the league, stealing Boom Williams from Georgia and Bennie Snell from Ohio.
(Snell may be the find of Stoops' career, by the way.)
He's developed a brotherhood and camaraderie among his players that is obvious and apparent - something that was sorely lacking last year. It's produced a team that has consistently achieved in the clutch time and time again this season.
And to those who say Kentucky has only taken advantage of an underachieving SEC, those people are missing the point.
For two years in a row, Stoops and UK have been unable to take advantage of such teams (see: at Vanderbilt, last season). This season, he's developed a team that can win those kinds of games.
Once again, he's brought us to the precipice of a bowl game, except this time there's one more game on the schedule where we will be heavily favored.
So when, then? When do we give him the credit for doing a GOOD coaching job?
When do we admit he's done a lot of things right this year?
I guess after one more win, right?