Success is a relative term. Merely going to a bowl game is a success for one team and a given for another. Some schools expect to compete for conference and national championships; others just hope. What does that success look like at each school? Over a player’s four years in school, what is the measure of success?
Today, we look at Kentucky. The standard in Lexington is a bowl game. The recent success of the Rich Brooks era set the bar. Every year the Wildcats should win six games. Typically the formula has been win four out of conference games and two SEC games. That’s good for 6-6 and a bowl berth. If a coach isn’t doing that (Mark Stoops), he isn’t succeeding.
In addition to going to a bowl game every year, Kentucky expects to have an 8 win or better season twice in the four year span of a player. The last coach to do that was Rich Brooks, but it is a reasonable goal for UK. An 8 win season means the Wildcats would be flirting with the Top 25, depending on how the bowl game and other teams. That’s success.
Kentucky usually doesn’t compete for SEC East championships. Of course they aspire to, but that’s not where the program is right now. For now they have slightly less ambitious goals. They want to knock off one of Tennessee or Georgia, or failing that, they’ll settle for South Carolina. It win over one of the programs ahead of them in the standings, and key if they want to make steps forward to compete for more.
Speaking of teams who matter in Lexington, Kentucky needs to keep pace with Louisville. The Cardinals have turned themselves into legitimate ACC contenders, and Kentucky has to have success against their instate rival. They don’t have to win every game every four years, but they do need to be competitive, and they need to not go on five game losing streaks. If they simply split with the Cardinals over a four year period, that’d be good.
How many Wildcat fans would take the above for the next four years? Go to a bowl every year (which they haven’t done since 2010), win 8 games twice, beat Louisville twice, and knock off another SEC “power” each season. That would certainly validate the Mark Stoops era.
Previous Level of Success: South Carolina