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Mark Stoops on ‘Win or Get Fired’ List by CBS

Saturday’s game against South Carolina could be biggest game of Stoops’ tenure

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks is important for a variety of reasons.

A win would give the Wildcats their first conference win of the season, put the Cats at 2-2, and provide a small bit of optimism in what has otherwise been a season filled with a lot of negativity thus far.

Mark Stoops’ job could also be on the line, at least according to Dennis Dodd at CBS Sports. Here is what he wrote about Stoops and the Wildcats.

Mark Stoops, Kentucky (5): Athletic director Mitch Barnhart has spent millions on facilities, raises and stadium upgrades. One problem: Stoops' program hasn't done its part with all that cash behind it.

That's kind of a big deal with Stoops in his fourth season and Kentucky off to a disappointing 1-2 start. Entering the fourth game of that fourth season, Bob's brother has exactly nine FBS victories. Two of them are over South Carolina.

Let's just call it a must-win this week, then, against the Gamecocks. Or something close to it. Aside from Vanderbilt, Kentucky's last three-game winning streak over an SEC opponent came in 1959 (over Tennessee).

Barnhart must decide if -- for starters -- he wants to write a $12 million check to buy out Stoops. That doesn't include the cost of firing and replacing the remainder of the staff. We're probably talking about $18 million to $20 million to redo Kentucky football for 2017.

One thing that Stoops has been able to do well as head coach of the Wildcats is beat South Carolina. He did it in 2014 and 2015 as well. In order to remain on an upward trajectory, Kentucky has to consistently beat teams that they have risen above in the SEC. One of those teams is South Carolina.

Stoops must show that he can beat a South Carolina team that has a new coaching staff and is in the midst of a major transition. If the Gamecocks come out and score 30+ points on the Wildcats— they’ve not surpassed 20 in any of their first three games— it could spell trouble for Mark Stoops.

I do not think that Stoops would immediately be fired following a loss to the Gamecocks, but there is no doubt the conversation regarding his position will continue to rage even more and questions will need to be answered.