By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky football fans are going to wonder what is starting to happen with the respect that seems to keep trickling in for the Wildcats.
This time it is coach Mark Stoops getting some national love which basically is the same as national love for the overall program.
Last week Stoops found his name 15th on the list of the top 25 college football coaches in a rating by 247Sports. Then this week Sporting News college football writer Bill Bender has Stoops 27th in his rating — an increase of six from where he had Stoops last year.
Kentucky has gone 18-8 the last two seasons, including 10-3 in 2018 when UK won 10 game for the first time since 1977. That’s why true college football observers understand that Stoops’ overall 44-44 is more than a bit deceiving because of the rebuilding task he faced when he took over at UK.
Kentucky lost 12 of Stoops’ first 38 games at UK but has gone 32-18 since then, including 8-5 last year when it beat Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.
But he’s ended that horrendous losing streak with a win at Florida and three recent wins over Louisville. He’s dominated Missouri and Vanderbilt. He has a win over Tennessee but obviously would have like to have had more and must feel like he should have more. However, he’s also taken UK to four straight bowl games and beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.
And he’s coached UK’s all-time rushing leader (Benny Snell), the 2018 consensus national defensive player of the year (Josh Allen) and maybe the most amazing single season performer ever (Lynn Bowden).