Early on in the week before Saturday night’s game, the 6-4 Kentucky Wildcats were betting favorites at the 4-6 South Carolina Gamecocks. But towards the end of the week, odds shifted pretty significantly to favor South Carolina by nearly a field goal. But why?
I didn’t quite understand the line moving that much. Normally that’s only when a player on either team is declared out or is announced late in the week that they’ll be playing in the game. But this was just an odd move for the line without justification — or at least I thought.
Though the 17-14 box score won’t show it, South Carolina absolutely handed it to Kentucky. Not necessarily in “blowout” fashion because the Gamecocks didn’t even out-gain the Wildcats. They weren’t even better when it came to yards per play or yards per carry.
But South Carolina was well-coached, disciplined and you could see they wanted to win Saturday night’s game. Kentucky, on the other hand, looked like they could care less and that 100% falls on head coach Mark Stoops as well as the rest of his coaching staff.
"I've been doing this a long time this league at Kentucky. That's, that's a very difficult loss," said Stoops.— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) November 19, 2023
"We didn't do a good enough job putting them into position to be successful."
This isn’t the first game this season that Kentucky has looked to take a backseat in the coaching matchup. And while Stoops deserves a ton of credit and healthy compensation for what he’s been able to do at UK, he’s not lived up to that credit or paycheck this season.
Stoops is listed as the country’s ninth-highest paid head coach in college football at just over $9.01 million per season. But when you watch Kentucky on Saturday, do you feel like they’re being coached by the ninth-best coach in the country? That’s a tough question, because a significant part of college football is recruiting and both Stoops as well as his staff are pretty spectacular in that department. But when it comes to putting their players in position to succeed, it’s been a pretty flawed year — especially considering their talent.
The Wildcats are loaded at wide receiver, improved their offensive line from last season, added one of the best running backs to ever play for the program and were believed to have a young, speedy defense that was on the rise to being good-to-very good this year.
Instead Kentucky ranks as one of the worst teams when it comes to drops, their offensive line has been hit and miss, Ray Davis has been misused in recent weeks and the defense (Stoops’ side of the ball, specifically defensive backs) has been wildly inconsistent. Add in that transfer QB Devin Leary has also been inconsistent and now you have a pattern.
That pattern starts and ends with the coaching staff. While it’s difficult to see Stoops fired in Lexington, it’s also difficult to see a solution moving forward. When you start to become pretty consistent at performing below expectations, that isn’t normally a sign for longevity.
Tweet of the Day
Not good — not good at all.
It’s a thing of beauty.
So tragic for the Seminoles.
Incase you missed this.
He’s been so much fun to watch.
They’re just so far ahead of everyone else.
It’s a little too late.