Sun Aug 25 04:40pm EDT
The Mark Stoops era is about to begin.
After building so much momentum on the recruiting trail, spanning two years of high school classes, Stoops is about to oversee his first on-field product. How closely will it resemble the opening campaigns of previous Kentucky coaches?
Since 1946, the 11 UK coaches have averaged just over four wins per year in their first season (combined first-year records: 45-72-3).
Four of the 11 coaches -- Bryant, Collier, Curci and Mumme -- improved the team record in their first year.
Can Stoops be the fifth? He hasn't given a specific target for what Kentucky's record could be -- Las Vegas has them as generally a three- or four-win team -- and Stoops has said the "educated fan" should be aware of the current state of the program.
Here's a look at the year-by-year win total for every football season since 1946 (Bear Bryan't first), with each coach's inaugural season highlighted in blue:
Asked at the start of fall camp what his goals were, Stoops said, "just improvement. Drastic improvement."
And here's how each of those 11 coaches have fared in their first game:
-- Bryant: 20-7 win over Mississippi
-- Collier: 0-20 loss to Maryland
-- Bradshaw: 0-0 tie with Florida State
-- Ray: 30-58 loss to Indiana
-- Curci: 31-26 win over Virginia Tech
-- Claiborne: 9-23 loss to Kansas State
-- Curry: 20-17 win over Central Michigan
-- Mumme: 38-24 win over Louisville
-- Morriss: 10-36 loss to Louisville
-- Brooks: 24-40 loss to Louisville
-- Phillips: 23-16 win at Louisville