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Historically Bad

Kentucky Football is currently, without doubt, embarking upon an historic season.  Unfortunately for our fans, players, and coaches that kind of historic is the kind that you would only wish upon your arch rival.  Yes, this is the kind of historic that induces over-emotional fan reactions, embarrassing on-field results, and coaches eventually being relieved of their duties.  So far this season, Joker Phillips and his 1-6 squad have produced some outstandingly underwhelming results on the field that have most within the fanbase calling for his job to be taken away sooner rather than later.  While this season is a lost cause at this point in time, it’s not the first time in this program’s history that embarrassingly awful results are being placed on the field.  Kentucky has quite the history with that for certain.  So, to give some perspective on just how awful this season has been thus far, I researched past Kentucky teams to see just where this team ranks among the worst in modern Kentucky history through seven games.

First to come up with the ratings, I simply compiled scoring data through each of the respective teams’ first seven games and applied that to the same rating system I do for college football.  I’m fully aware that the styles of play in college football have changed over the past 30 years, giving potential for data skewing, but I don’t find it drastic enough to make this an unfair comparison.  Also these numbers do not take strength of schedule into account, but given that Kentucky historically has a similar degree of difficulty when it comes to opponent strength the numbers should hold relatively consistent.

In terms of rating by scoring margin, this team is the 5th worst in modern program history (since 1980 and beyond).  What makes this even more spectacular is the fact that Joker Phillips inherited a program merely three years ago that was experiencing, arguably, it’s most stable years in history.  While coaches like Rich Brooks and Guy Morriss have the very reasonable excuse of receiving a mess from the previous administrations, Joker Phillips has no such excuse.  Something even more terrifying about these numbers is that they have the potential to become much worse as Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee still all loom on the schedule’s horizon.

Kentucky Football has an interesting history to say the least.  From the Bear Bryant years to the Bluegrass Miracle this program has just about seen it all. Though there’s always fluctuation in success one thing seemingly remains constant over the years, we always manage to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”  Even though close losses to the likes of LSU, Alabama, and Tennessee leave us saying “what if” we’re usually playing competitively with our opponents more often than not.  That’s far from the case now as this is among the worst Kentucky squads in history.  There are any number of reasons for this, but given the stability of the program before the current administration took over it’s safe to say that a change must be made.

Article written by Jonathan Schuette

29 Comments for Historically Bad



  1. FYI
    6:09 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    For those of you that think that the UK football program is beyond saving here’s a stat for you. In the 2010, 2009, & 2008 seasons UK lost 3 of its games in each season by one possession, in the 2007 & 2006 seasons there were 2 games in each season lost by one possession. all of those were against SEC competition and with a good not great coaching staff and talent that had to be developed instead of just recruited. In the 2012(so far) and 2011 seasons there has been one total loss by one possession and that was wku. The problem isn’t uk its whatever joker has done to change the program since the end of his first year. With a great coaching staff( as in talented coordinators with good chemistry) and a good scheme a coach could win 7 games a year without to much effort. With a little more work and some luck uk could have consecutive 8 to 9 win seasons( not BCS bowl worthy but more than respectable). They need to fire joker and find a coach that has his act together.



  2. Be honest...
    6:10 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    There is a continued theme (or so it seems to me) from the writers on this website and among a portion of the fan base…lack of rationality about where we really are as a program and have been since the 1960’s. You stated: “Even though close losses to the likes of LSU, Alabama, and Tennessee leave us saying “what if” we’re usually playing competitively with our opponents more often than not.” Yet you provided evidence to the contrary in the graph right above that statement. If you look at 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2000 we lost games by an average of 16.7, 14.7, 9.7, and 9.1 points respectively. So for 40% (4 years) of a decade we are losing games by a total of 12.6 points a game. Sorry, but only in Kentucky would losing by 12.6 points per game constitute “competitiveness”.



  3. FYI
    6:20 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    My point is that for 5 seasons straight or 50% of a decade. The program was in a position to not just win 6 games a year but 8-9 games a year with the RIGHT coach not just a good coach uk could’ve over come those one possession short falls. I’m tired of hearing since the 60s when it comes to uk football guess what ppl uk basketball wasn’t very good before rupp it takes finding the RIGHT coach to build a program, not just the available coach that seems to do an ok job.



  4. Jatt Mones
    6:23 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    I think you should do an addendum to this showing the worst full seasons in UK history, so we know how we’ll stack up when we finish up with one win.



  5. EverythingsBlue
    6:31 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Here’s where I’m at…

    I’ve been a huge UK fan and supporter of all UK sports for years….

    Our football team is currently, and quite frankly, embarrassing…has been for a while now and I’m sick and tired of all of the excuses from fans, UK sports writers/bloggers, and the administration.

    We have players that commit to us each year and work their assess of for the school, themselves, and for us, the fans….

    This isn’t working and it wont work. It’s time we all start living in what has been UK football reality for quite some time now. It’s floundering at best…

    If you, who ever you may be, want to continue to live in some sort of fantasy world, and settle for what we’ve gotten for all these years, fine….you do that…but I’m not…I’ve flat out had it.

    I’m sick of it…there is no reason for it…not one…

    Pony up the bank and get this program turned around, once and for all….

    Fire JP and whomever else, and get a staff in here that can get done what needs to get done for the players….the players FIRST!



  6. FrigFullofBeer
    6:33 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    :BREAKING NEWS: Marcus Lee announcing tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  7. FrigFullofBeer
    6:34 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    That can be a good thing right????? 😉



  8. dr. Dildorf
    6:35 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Someone once said to me “name me a coach that’s any good who would take the Kentucky job (football)?”.. I replied.. None.. But that’s why God made money…. We going to have to show someone the money! Big time.. I would pretty much do any in humane act on this earth for 3 or 4 million a year.. I’m sure someone could gag down a couple years of coaching SEC football for that kind of money..



  9. FrigFullofBeer
    6:36 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    It will not be on ESPNU at it will be around 2:30 est 11:30 pst



  10. EverythingsBlue
    6:39 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    No offense MJ, but seriously, what’s the point???

    Do you/we need more numbers/analysis to know where we “stack up”???

    We’re horrible!

    Why are we wallowing in the numbers and stats?

    I’m not expecting a national championships for a long while yet but can we at least be making changes that are solid and lasting and that at least give the players something to hold their heads up over??? A true foundation???



  11. Smiley Pete
    6:45 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-kobe-bryant-smush-parker-kwame-brown-jodie-meeks-20121011,0,1306340.story

    Kobe spent some time trashing Meeks this week. I never liked him but this makes me dislike him even more.



  12. tabb
    6:59 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Cheer up guys. According to the Herald Leader, Eli has agreed to allow expanded student tailgating for the Georgia game. Kind of. No alcohol allowed.
    http://www.kentucky.com/2012/10/16/2373705/university-of-kentucky-announces.html



  13. wildcat502
    7:03 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    7 really bad years, in the last 20. Not counting the 3 to 5 win years. I`ve told you, I`m 51 years old and the adminstration does not care about football. 5 million to a basketball coach, they will fire a winning basketball coach if he doesn`t win at a championship level, up grade the basketball facilities (it seems like yearly) and give them an unbelievable recruiting budget. But football has to beg for upgrades and just receives new folding chairs for their recruits to sit in.
    500 football and they are happy. Old outdated coaches or new up and comers that no one else wanted. This is Kentucky football…………no one but the fans care



  14. Katdaddy
    7:11 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    I’m hearing lee may announce tomorrow. Anybodyelse hearing the same?



  15. Kirby Smart
    7:26 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    3 million a year, and let me run the program how I see fit and I will get you to 6-6 next season guaranteed.



  16. Jackson Purchase
    7:56 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Why are we still talking about Kentucky Football? We know they are turrible, well the coaches are i’m not going to call the players that. Basketball season is here, more basketball please.



  17. Cal for president
    7:58 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Who else is tried of talking about a coaching change ? Let’s end the misery and ask Mitch to do the right thing. I ask for the BBN to start calling the athletic office and tell them you are finished supporting the coach and his staff. Notice I said coach and his staff! It’s not the boys in uniform’s fault to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s called coaching!



  18. Wild Turkey 101
    8:19 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Jerry Claiborne passed away a few years back but i’ll take him over Joker.



  19. barn
    8:30 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    you want to see some really pitiful stats? look up the number of sec wins per season for the past 60 years. we don’t play to win, we play for the sec money



  20. Makers46
    8:37 pm October 16, 2012 Permalink

    Any comparison to Kentucky teams of years past is setting the bar pretty low. Any direction except up with that standard is unacceptable and flat out embarrassing.



  21. carnifex
    12:37 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    Zombie Jerry Claiborne for coach!!! Over Joker? You’re right! Snatch him up in a heart beat,(not his) and just pay him in BrAAAaaAiIIIiiIIInNNNnNNnsssSSSSsssS

    You know that chicken that plays tic-tac-toe at the state fair? Joker lost a weeks pay to it.



  22. Duke Sucks
    1:25 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    Calm down people the Joke is gone. Barnhart has not backed Joker publicly so that is telling enough. There is nothing to gain by making it public yet. Barnhart you can bet has already been contacting coaches about the job. No one is going to take over mid season. So if joker was let go now either Sanders or Minter would take his place. Barnhart will let Joker finish the season and recruit what players he can. Cutcliff will take over after Dukes bowl game.



  23. Duke Sucks
    1:26 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    By the way 21 liked the PvZ reference



  24. kingrex
    3:01 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    I have always felt there is no way the universe would allow Bear Bryant to stay at UK all those years ago. You could not have one school, one state dominate basketball and football the way we would have if Bryant had stayed. There is just no way. I feel blessed we are a basketball school. Even Ohio State with their insane alumni numbers and mega resources only really brought it all together when they had Odom and they still could not win it all in football. I just want us to be respectable and be competitive in the SEC. Basketball is king and always will be. High School football in KY is not really SEC caliber so we cannot really expect much. Even South Carolina’s roster is almost all local kids. We cannot do that.



  25. ribin
    6:30 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    Joker and Barnhart are ‘friends’ (so the story goes) — Joker will resign at the end of the season (buyout assured) to help his ‘friend’. Cutcliffe (22) is a good option, but Duke announced they are putting $$ into their program – why would he leave where he can compete for ACC each year to come back into the SEC [fight this battle each year]?



  26. WideTackleSix
    9:13 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve seen all of these teams play.

    That 1982 team was better than any of the others listed. No offense, but they would hit you defensively. Their first 7 games were at Kansas St., at Oklahoma, Kansas, at Clemson, at Auburn, LSU and Georgia. Giving up 24 pts/game against that schedule isn’t so bad.

    No team in their right mind would start the season with that schedule today. FWIW, they finished at Virginia Tech, Vandy, Florida, and at Tennessee.



  27. BillCurrey'sGhost
    9:34 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    The greatest point made is that every single one of the examples given was where the coach inherited a mess. Joker inherited a program which by UK standards was the best in my lifetime, not great but good. For this reason I give him far less benefit of the doubt than had he came into a mess like the coaches in these examples. Until UK decides to fork out the money we will be mediocre at best, and most of time horrible like we are now. In the last 10-20 years the SEC has become so much tougher in football than it was previously, and if the culture in UK athletics towards football doesn’t change we are doomed to more seasons like this than ever. In the past fans came no matter what. Now I don’t know if it was because Rich Brooks gave us some success or what, but fans are not coming to the games which will certainly get their attention.



  28. Aaron C Bunch
    11:33 am October 17, 2012 Permalink

    My problem with Joker is the regression. Does anyone remember his very first game versus Louisville, we came out of the gate and punched them right in the mouth 20 straight unanswered points, he was great offensively. We played “competitive” and gave the SEC big dogs some scares, I know we lost to UofL last year but we beat Spurrier and we beat Tennessee, I mean, he was good. Now Joker just looks totally regressed, unemotional, and uninvolved. No passion.

    We need the facility upgrades or we might as well keep Joker, however. Period. Look I don’t wanna win the SEC next year, I’m not trying to beat Alabama, I just want to beat LOUISVILLE and WKU for God’s sake. GO CATS. We can do better, we can be better: We ARE better..



  29. FordeLikesVolleyball
    12:32 pm October 17, 2012 Permalink

    7 horrible teams, 6 different coaches. Sigh.