The win-loss records are currently the same. Vandy and Kentucky both sit at 2-3 as we get closer to Saturday’s matchup between the two in Lexington, Kentucky.
ESPN’s Chris Low has both head coaches, Derek Mason and Mark Stoops, on his list of 10 coaches with the hottest seats after five weeks. Mason comes in at eighth this week after not being in the top 10 a week ago. Kentucky’s Stoops saw his seat slightly cooler this week at fourth, compared to second last week. After the game Saturday, one seat will cool, while the other heats up. This game is important for both men’s future.
STOOPS MUST BEAT VANDY
With hopes of breaking through the bowl game threshold of six wins, the Wildcats lost opening on weekend to Southern Miss, at home. Stoops has been trying to climb out of that whole ever since, and UK has won two of its last three games.
Beating Vandy is a ‘must’ if Kentucky wants to go bowling. Where are the four needed wins on the schedule? This four game block against unranked conference foes (Vandy, Mississippi State, Missouri and Georgia) is a place to start. Kentucky will beat Austin Peay and will lose to both Tennessee and Louisville in November. That means, UK has to win three of its next four games. Losing to Vandy at the beginning of the stretch could be the beginning of the end for Mark Stoops.
Many believe Stoops is out if his ‘Cats don’t make the postseason. A loss to Derek Mason’s crew nearly solidifies that.
MASON MUST BEAT KENTUCKY
Vanderbilt’s goal or the 2016 season was to make a bowl game, but it’s not an ultimatum, like at Kentucky. The Commodores were a tad behind schedule at 2-2 before losing a tight game at home against Florida last week.
Now we’re doing the same thing: searching for four wins. Vandy’s schedule is some what similar to Kentucky’s. Count Tennessee State as a win, and go ahead and count Ole Miss and Tennessee as losses. The problem for the ‘Dores is, they will earn their bowl bid by winning on the road. Vandy needs to win three out of four games at Kentucky, Georgia, Auburn and Missouri. The Commodores are 2-10 on the road under mason, and Auburn is slightly better than expected at the season’s start, which adds difficulty.
Derek Mason will be back for a fourth season with a 5-7 record. In my opinion, he needs a win at Kentucky to get to 5-7.