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1. Mark Stoops
Game Result: Lost to Southern Mississippi after blowing a 30-point lead at home.
Kentucky folded faster than the French Army at the first sign of war, losing at home to Southern Mississippi after holding a four possession lead midway through the third quarter. Stoops, who is supposedly a defensive expert, watched his supposedly heralded defense surrender six consecutive scores and nearly 400 yards of total offense in just fourteen minutes of actual game time.
This was supposed to be a make or break year for the youngest Stoops brother, with many expecting Mark and his below .500 career record to re-conjoin with his doppelgänger brothers in Norman. Now, with an out-of-conference loss to one of the three worst teams on their 2016 slate, it seems highly unlikely the Wildcats make a bowl game, probably sending Stoops to the unemployment line.
Good news for Big Blue Nation, though — basketball practice starts in less than a month.
2. Clay Helton
Game Result: Lost 52-6 to Alabama and former coach Lane Kiffin.
Welcome to major college football, coach. The Trojans, with one of the most talented rosters in the nation including seven all-conference performers and the highest average recruiting star rating per player of any team, looked like a high school squad scrimmaging the Patriots. Alabama completely had their way with the Trojans, facing less resistance than America did in the battle of the Conch Republic vs. the USA en route to nearly 500 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns.
The scariest part? It could’ve been far worse. While Nick Saban is not usually one to run up the score, Bama Offensive Coordinator and former USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin kept his foot slightly off the gas late in the game, toying with the demoralized Trojans as three Crimson Tide quarterbacks accounted for touchdowns in the second half. By the end of the third quarter, Alabama was averaging over ten yards per play — not exactly a recipe for defensive stops.
Helton will get some time in LA to fix the clusterfuck that has been the successive eras post-Pete Carroll, but, with a roster as talented as any in the country, it has to be troubling to see just how far the Trojans lag behind the truly elite teams of 2016, and the mental state of what looked to be a frustrated and beleaguered young team in the midst of Saturday’s curb stomping.
3. Butch Jones
Game Result: Beat App. State in OT 20-13
Ok, Volunteers fans, it’s time to shut the fuck up indefinitely. For what has to be the 5000th season in a row since the forced retirement of former Coach Phillip Fulmer, the Vols claim to be “back” as a legitimate SEC and national championship contender. Right. While this was always rooted in backwoods Tennessee logic touting “elite recruiting” that has in reality ranked between South Carolina and Kentucky in average star rating since the beginning of Jones’ tenure, an overtime debacle against the Mountaineers should put this talk to rest — mercifully.
Senior quarterback Josh Dobbs, a third year starter who has appeared in over 40 total games, looked like a befuddled freshman, overmatched by a Mountaineer defense sitting in a lower football subdivision just three seasons ago. While first time starters such as Deondre Francois, Shane Buechele, and Jalen Hurts stole the show this weekend as teenage stars, the elder statesman in Knoxville showed again just how much Tennessee’s expectations differ from their reality.
In his fourth season, with nothing but “wait ’til next year!” and seven wins per season on his resume, time is running out on Coach Jones and his staff to live up to the ever-inflating hype. Their bubble is about to go the way of the Hindenburg..
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