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Mark Stoops: Keeping Up With The Joneses

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The University of Kentucky head coach may have the toughest job in all of college football.

Louisiana Monroe v Kentucky Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images

Keeping up with the Joneses is a common theme in most of our lives and can lead to a heap of insecurities that can end up becoming major obstacles in our lives.

Am I as successful as most of my friends? Is my house as nice as my neighbors, or are my clothes as nice as my co-workers? These questions have all crossed our minds at some point in time.

The anxiety of performing up to expectation levels at our jobs would be at the top of the list for just about any of us, so you can imagine the arduous task of being the head coach of the University of Kentucky football team.

Mark Stoops may have the toughest job in all of college football.

Being a head coach of any college major college football team is a challenging job on its own, never mind when the fan base of that school doesn't just hope you win, they expect it because it's all they know.

I imagine it could be a little difficult waving good morning to the athletic director and the Big Blue donors on certain days when the guy whose office is down the hallway from yours has delivered them a national championship, four Final Four appearances in seven years, four SEC championships, an .822 winning percentage and has sent over 30 of his players to the NBA and is widely considered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of his sport.

Some may say that comparing a school's basketball coach and their football coach is apples and oranges. Fair enough. However, keeping up with the Jones' in your own football conference is apples and apples.

Stoops has the challenge of trying to keep pace with perhaps the greatest coach in the history of college football in Nick Saban. Stoops fellow SEC foe can list four national championships, five SEC championships, an .847 winning percentage and has had 50 plus of his players drafted in the NFL during his 10-year stint at Alabama.

Most of us retreat to spending times with our family to get away from the pressures of work but even looking across the table during a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is another reminder that Mark's older brother Bob also has a national championship on his resume as well as nine Big 12 championships and a 179-46 record during his 18 year tenure at Oklahoma.

During his three-year stint as the head coach of Kentucky, Mark has made slow and steady progress going from 2-10 in his first year to back to back 5-7 records. However, you have to wonder if the Big Blue Nation is capable of accepting slow and steady progress.

If there were ever year for Stoops to make an improvement in the SEC East, it would have to be this year. Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina all have made coaching changes to replace their respective legendary coaches within the past year, and so all three remain question marks moving into this season.

Tennessee has made strides under Butch Jones, but they no longer strike the fear in anybody the way they did under Phillip Fulmer annually. Florida could be the cream of the crop in the SEC East because they're as good as anybody in the country on defense.

However, even the Gators still aren't their former selves, having to name a starting QB who has never started a game before and is currently attending his third school in three years.

As for Vanderbilt, well they're still Vanderbilt.

If the timing was ever right for Mark Stoops to make his mark on his coaching career, it's this season. He's had a few season to bring in and develop his own recruits; it's usually around the three-year mark that you should see an established culture of winning beginning to develop.

We'll find out starting September 3 at home in Lexington against Southern Miss.