Michigan seems to be the choice for Louisville's fans. After all, Urban Meyer left Florida to go home to Ohio, didn't he? You have to wonder if he regrets leaving the SEC for the B1G. Life after Tebow had to be depressing for him. Actually, the depression began in Tebow's senior season when he (Tebow) didn't quite have the supporting cast he had the previous three years. If you'll recall, Urban, Tebow and the Gators lost to (cough, cough) Michigan in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando before Urban called it quits due to health reasons. Bada Boom! He then takes the job at Ohio State after missing out for a year to "be with his family."
Urban Meyer has made every effort to bring SEC football to the B1G and he's not appreciated by that conference's other coaches for the effort. Subsequently, Ohio State will dominate the B1G for many, many years and Urban Meyer will never have to face the same level of pressure that he faced at Florida. It seems Louisville's fans are hoping Mark Stoops takes the same path, especially after Saturday.
So, Mark Stoops will pack up and leave the SEC for the B1G? Maybe, but not anytime soon. His current contract at Kentucky gives him a $100,000 bonus for each SEC victory. Would Michigan offer the same for every B1G victory? Never mind that he's already been quoted as saying he'll be at Kentucky for a long time. Is that simply coach speak? Maybe at Louisville where coaches actually have left for greener pastures on a routine basis.
For you see, Mark Stoops has the backing at Kentucky that no other coach has had and that gives him the opportunity to wake up the sleeping giant. That alone will keep Stoops in the blue-green pastures of the Lexington horse farms and Keeneland for quite some time. Sorry, Cards fans.
The rumor mill is just that: rumors. And, most of those rumors are coming out of Louisville, a place where coaches have come and gone on a regular basis for better jobs. Howard left for Oklahoma. Johnelle left for Michigan State. Bobby left for Atlanta, after flirting with Auburn. Charlie left for the Texas desert. Sandwiched somewhere in there, the Cards fired Ron Cooper and Steve Kragthorpe.
Meanwhile, heading east on I-64, Kentucky has had two coaches leave for a better paying job, and one of them was run off for fear he might be as successful as Adolph Rupp. Every other coach has been fired except Jerry Claiborne (retired) Guy Morriss (hired away by Baylor) and Rich Brooks (retired). Claiborne and Brooks retired because of failed promises from the University, and Morriss was tempted back to his home state by more money and a program with more investment in football. Louisville fans who want to compare UL and UK are comparing apples and oranges.
One is a program who actively pursues cast-offs from other schools with character or legal issues. The other is a program who refused to support football for many years and tried to "get by" without spending money. That caused two coaching staffs to seek funding from "outside" sources. They got caught, UK was put on probation and the coaches were fired. Kentucky could never get over the hump from either instance until Mark Stoops came on board with a plan of action which UK is now thankful that they bought into.
Saturday night's game put the stamp of validity on Kentucky's new era of change. The whole atmosphere has never been as electric, even with the wins over Alabama and then #1 LSU a few years ago. That $25,000 fine imposed by the SEC for rushing the field was worth every penny that will have to be paid.
Only Ole Miss and Mississippi State can match the excitement surrounding Kentucky. Who knows how long that will last? The three commitments from the 4 star Dowell twins and 2016 4 star CB Jordan Griffin after the win will keep Kentucky's level high, especially with the prospect of landing the nation's #1 running back, Damien Harris. The very idea has Ohio State worried and trying to understand why he might choose the Wildcats over the Buckeyes. Harris hasn't indicated he's favoring Kentucky, but he's showing up to watch the Cats play, and his mom really likes the Kentucky coaching staff. You've seen the tweets from Harris showing he was caught up in the excitement of Kentucky's win and the Commonwealth Stadium atmosphere. He's going to be at the La-Monroe game and is taking his official visit on the 25th of October when we play Mississippi State.
Louisville doesn't even have the capacity to match Kentucky's level of excitement because they've now become a member of a big boy conference and they are already coming face to face with reality after a loss to Virginia 23-21 and a closer than expected 20-10 win against Wake Forest (2-4), a team who had already lost to Louisiana Monroe 17-10.
You can smell the stench of fear coming out of the Falls City on the Ohio. Rather than worrying about their upcoming matches with Clemson (away), Florida State (home) and Notre Dame (away), they've chosen to become worried about Kentucky and Mark Stoops, a team who they said would never match their "success," and a coach who they said couldn't coach before the season started. Any Kentucky fan worth his/her salt has to be enjoying this because the rumor mill over there at Kentucky's favorite commuter school is a sign of panic in the "best sports city in Amurka."
According to the Cards fan base, Kentucky's win over South Carolina was nothing special because South Carolina isn't any good. While Steve Spurrier may agree with that assessment, the Gamecocks did beat Georgia 38-35 (an SEC team who demolished Clemson 45-21) and a ranked East Carolina team 33-23. Just for the record, South Carolina's offense and Kentucky's offense are tied averaging 34.2 points per game while the vaunted Petrinoites sit at 33.3 points per game against weaker competition than either South Carolina or Kentucky.
The question has to be asked. Why would Stoops leave Kentucky for Michigan? Could he be closer to his hometown of Youngstown? Would that enable him to recruit better in Ohio? Would he have a bigger impact at Michigan?
Facts are not something UL fans are used to dealing with. The distance between Ann Arbor and Youngstown is 179.45 by air. From Lexington to Youngstown is 294.91 by air. They got that one right, but is that a reason to go to the University of Michigan? Would Michigan offer Stoops to recruit better in Ohio? Stoops is currently beating every other B1G team not named Michigan or Ohio State for the top players in Ohio.
Would he have a bigger impact at Michigan? One thing is for sure, he would have an easier schedule and he would be playing in a much bigger stadium. Can Michigan pay him more? Perhaps, but Kentucky would likely make them pay dearly. As Stoops says, "We're just getting started." What he could do at Michigan doesn't compare to what he has the opportunity to do in Lexington.
It is obvious that the Stoops to Michigan rumor coming out of Louisville is nothing more than wishful thinking and is not supported by anything other than hope. Click on this link to entertain yourself and smell the fear.