Mark Stoops did it again.
Ever since the Kentucky Wildcats’ breakout season in 2016 under Stoops, his teams have consistently scored big wins over the Louisville Cardinals, several of which were the difference between a good season and a meh one.
That was very much the case today, as Kentucky entered the day 6-5 and potentially on the verge of its first losing season since 2020 during COVID. Take out that chaotic year, and Kentucky hadn’t suffered a losing campaign since 2015.
Thankfully, Kentucky scored its season-defining win at the expense of their rivals yet again, defeating the 10th-ranked Cards 38-31 in one of the best games this series has ever seen.
Enjoy this video of Mark Stoops walking off the field, the fans going crazy and Eddie Gran throw L’s down pic.twitter.com/jfeCQq1DcK— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) November 25, 2023
Oh, and this was Kentucky’s biggest ranked win under Mark Stoops in terms of teams in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings (Kentucky also beat No. 10 Florida in 2021, but that came prior to the CFP rankings being released that season).
And we can’t forget this came with a potentially huge distraction that came right before kickoff, as ESPN and The Athletic reported Stoops was a candidate for the Texas A&M opening.
Is this something Kentucky fans should actually worry about?
Following the Wildcats’ victory, Stoops briefly touched on the Texas A&M rumors, though he didn’t issue a flat-out ‘no.’
“You know better than that,” Stoop stated. “This is a big win for this state and team. I’m good at keeping my concentration on this team.”
Mark Stoops comments on the Texas A&M coaching vacancy pic.twitter.com/HRRIKC40kO— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) November 25, 2023
I’m personally not ready to buy into Stoops being a legitimate candidate for the Aggies. That school is absolutely loaded with football money, so one would think they could poach a lot of coaches in America.
Another reason I don’t think it’s a good fix is the majority of Stoops’ biggest recruiting ties are in Ohio and now Kentucky. That’s a bit of a travel from the state of Texas.
I actually wondered if Michigan State could be a team to watch for with Stoops, being that he could have gone there and still maintained those recruiting ties to Ohio and Kentucky since the states aren’t too far away from each other.
But the Spartans are hiring Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith, so that threat is over.
Saying this, today’s win over a top-10, 10-1 football team in their own building certainly had to make Stoops a more attractive candidate. And because Stoops hasn’t firmly shot down the A&M rumors, they’ll likely continue to persist until a hire is made.