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Winnable Games Remain for Kentucky

 

On Matt’s post-game radio show last night, he said that the performance vs. Georgia was good enough that there won’t be a decision Monday morning concerning Joker Phillips, and I agree. Joker likely has at least two more games before any forward steps are made in the decision-making process, and baring another Arkansas-type showing, I believe he will finish the season. Joker’s only chance of being retained next year, most likely, is if UK would win all four of their remaining games. At 1-7, the prospects of UK winning 4 straight seems pretty unrealistic, but is it as far-fetched as it sounds?

The easiest portion of the schedule is here. You may be telling yourself that Western Kentucky was supposed to be easy, but they’ve turned out to be pretty good. Yes, Kentucky experienced their lowest of low moments just a week ago against Arkansas, but bounced right back last night and looked like an entirely different team. For the first time all year, UK now has a STRETCH of winnable games on the schedule and they follow a game vs. No. 11 Georgia in which some confidence was gained. I don’t like to use the term “moral victory”, but the team has to feel better going forward than they did on the flight home from Fayetteville, right?

Going into the season, not many considered a road trip to Missouri to be a winnable game. But just like Kentucky, Missouri enters the last game in October with zero conference wins. Vandy was another team thought to be on the rise heading into 2012, but they’ve been a disappointment and the Cats get them at home. You’d hope that I don’t have to think much about the chances of beating Samford, so I’m going to be confident and say that’s a win. Missouri, Vandy, and Samford = three winnable games. Maybe UK only wins one of these games, but they’re all very winnable.

That brings us to the final game in Neyland Stadium vs. Tennessee. Derek Dooley’s seat is just as hot as Joker’s, and the Cats may once again run into a Tennessee team in turmoil. As bad as things are in Knoxville, they still have better players at nearly every position. On paper, there is simply no reason why Tennessee should lose to Kentucky. But even Morgan Newton would have to be an upgrade over Matt Roark at QB. If we were able to win under the unlikeliest of circumstances a year ago, I don’t think you can completely count the Cats out of this one. Tennessee is just not a team you can trust to win any game at this point. I don’t trust that Kentucky can make the plays to beat a superior Tennessee team, but I think Tennessee could make the mistakes to give the game away. The winner of this game alone will not save anyone’s job, neither Dooley’s or Joker’s, but things could get interesting if either one of them ends the season on a four-game winning streak.

I’m not saying any of this will happen, but I’m saying it could. I’m not telling anyone to support Joker and the staff, either. All I am saying, is that whatever side of the fence you fall on regarding Joker Phillips, be prepared for this decision to not be as clear-cut as it looks right now. The schedule is set up for the Cats to be able to end the season on a strong note, and Joker has a puncher’s chance of staying alive even without a bowl game.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on blogredmachine.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

41 Comments for Winnable Games Remain for Kentucky



  1. Billy Clyde
    2:36 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Bring me back to Kentucky!! I can win more football games then Joker!!



  2. Oscars potato chips
    2:37 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is Richt Light. Be prepared to shut that sunshine pump off after Missouri.



  3. Mike
    2:38 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone know what Chane Behanen did?



  4. J A Brooks
    2:39 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Dykes is the only clear cut option to fix this mess



  5. Jokersajoke
    2:46 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    No one in the SEC gets up for a terrible Kentucky team. UGA went through the motions and beat us. We keep settling for moral victories and use our youth as an excuse. Other SEC schools have redshirt 4 & 5 star players and a good nucleus of upperclassmen year in and year out. It’s Joker’s fault we’re in this mess. Let’s get someone in here to right the ship. It’s not going to get better until we make a change. Four winnable games left? Dream on. We’ll finish 1-3 and possibly even 0-4.



  6. Ben
    2:47 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    The only way that happens is if Towles and Whitlow are healthy and playing! I would not put my money on Newton winning 4 games Ina row!



  7. Oscars potato chips
    2:47 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    #3 No, but I’m sure if it’s something illegal it will be covered up by the ul boosters pronto.



  8. yeaaahhhnoo
    2:47 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I see one winable game… samford



  9. Want to win?
    2:48 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Dykes would be WAY better than joker and could win some games, but that type of offense is subject to West Virginia type implosions( they have been blown out the last two games). The only way to win consistently is to have a good defense. The reason UT has sucked over the last few seasons is because their defense sucks. We play in the SEC, meaning offense only gets you only so far, but you will live and die by your defense. Hire kirby smart. Pay him and his coaches so they won’t bolt like lane kiffin and we can get back to bowl games.



  10. KyTom
    2:53 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Good grief. The decision should have ALREADY been made. No matter what happens. By the way, I don’t care how good Western turned out to be…..UK SHOULD NEVER LOSE TO THEM. Making the argument to keep Joker because we beat Samford and Vandy just guarantees more of the same crap we’ve been given. Let him win 3 of 4 against Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and LSU…..THEN, we’ll talk.



  11. Look around
    2:56 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Look at northwestern. Definitely not a football powerhouse and no less of a challenge than KY. They hired a former player and they’re LB coach as they’re head coach. The difference is he gave the administration reasons to keep him around with 6-7 win seasons. Now they are having one of the most successful seasons in school history. This joker experiment isn’t working out. He can recruit but can’t take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to him. He has had chances to win big games(2-3 this year against ranked teams, SC, UGA, MSU) but he has proven that he can’t capitalized. We had the same issues when joker was OC, the only difference is we had a defense and a health QB. He should be informed tomorrow that he will coach the final four games and be relieved of his HC duties.



  12. Tony
    3:18 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    This is exactly why UK Football is where it is. Let’s just forget the fact that we can’t beat any of the better teams in our conference or Louisville or WKU….cause we may have a shot at beating Vandy & Samford and hopefully hang with Missouri and a down Tennessee team. Never mind the fact we have an incompetent coach that’s been in way over his head since Day 1.



  13. UKFaniac
    3:25 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I like how everyone continues to say “We’re young”, what I wanna know is did we not recruit for 2 years? I know we are banged up but where are the guys we recruited as Brooks retired? Where are the guys that came in for Joker’s first year? Joker is pitiful at developing the talent he does have. Randall Cobb used his heart and determination to be where he is today. Joker does not and can not coach. I was at the South Carolina game. During time outs when the team was huddled Rock (the strength and conditioning coach) was the guy over there trying to coach and pump the team up. Joker was just wandering around. Good bye Joker, hope you had fun playing coach in the SEC.



  14. dodger1
    3:49 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    what cool-aid have you been drinking? we have one winable game remaining.



  15. [email protected]
    3:58 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I see maybe two winnable games left: Vandy & Samford, We will start a new losing streak at UT and Missouri will get their first official SEC history over good ole UK. I might say that even the Vandy game is iffy because they have played very well at times and they seem to have our number.



  16. rupp's grunt
    4:02 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Absolutely zero chance that Joker will be fired. Anybody who thinks otherwise has rocks in their head. He has the out of all the injuries and freshmen players starting, and it’s not like any respectable coach would be caught dead in this cesspool.

    The head coaching position for UK football is a one way street to failure, disgrace and either retirement or Division II (See Claiborne, Brooks, Curry, Mumme, basically all but Guy Morriss, who was able to escape before too much of the stank got on him, if you can call Baylor an escape).

    Guarantee Joker will be retained, and if he wins five games next year, he’ll be given a contract extension.

    What do you bozos think UK is? A football school? Wake up.



  17. Mike
    4:08 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry Joker. You haven’t earned anymore time. You have totally WASTED what time you have been given and you have not earned the big money that you have been paid. You are not a HC in any league let alone the SEC. Shame on Mr. Brooks for thinking that you were worthy.



  18. Chuck
    4:14 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I think they played about as well as they could without a passing attack.Their defense really played well against the run and the DBs seemed a little less confused than at Arkansas. Just think what a really good coach might be able to do with these young guys. Being at the game was really a lot of fun. We actually played with a really good team. The effort in this game would have beaten WKU.



  19. Joker isn't a good coach
    4:18 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I didn’t get to (or want to) watch the game last night. What was the real attendance last night and how many of them were Georgia fans. I caught a little on the radio and Georgia fans were as loud as ours.



  20. kycatman
    4:20 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Dear John ~ is this your opinion of Joker and his staff or KSR’s ? How in the world can any of you predict his future based on the remaining games and all 4 being weak teams!! I totally agree with #10, the decision should have already been made on his future and his staffs future. If Mitch Barnhardt wants to retain his job, then I say they best be looking for another coach. The man cannot coach, motivate,inspire or coordinate a College team in any way,shape,form or fashion. He is way in over his head and will continue to be as long as he is the HC! Come on Cayats, give us someone who knows the game and can get us back to where we were. Go Cats!!!!!!!! Go Cal!!!!!!!! Go Future Coach!!!!!!!!



  21. kyfan32
    4:32 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is a joke, I cancled my season tickets last year when nothing was done. Thats why UK football will always be the laughing stock of the NCAA!!



  22. Wiffle Ball Jack
    5:05 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Passing game is a zero as are defensive backs! 80 yards of passing. Leave #9 in. The long ball was very catchable and he also fumbled a punt that luckily we recovered.#16 got burned repeatedly and did #3. Can’t blame it on the players, but sick of hearing Joker in press conferences continue to tell how great these guys are. #9 has returned zero punts this season or last. Stay the course Joker, the only skills player that is good on your team is your punter.



  23. BigKatHead
    5:09 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Delusional drivel-one win left -Samford- two arse-kickings (UT and Mizzou) and a woulda-shoulda-coulda (Vandy) – was at AR, sitting behind the band (who left early) – worse display off football that I have seen since Curry days in The Swamp – wasting money and time supporting this administration -love the kids but hate the situation!! Thank goodness for basketball!!



  24. C'mon UK fans
    5:14 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    22 – Our wide receivers can’t get off the line on opponent defensive backs.
    Our defensive backs are toast every play. 508 total yards of offense for GA, and I hear everyone saying what a moral victory. Wrong!!!!



  25. Wake up Kentucky fans
    5:35 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    THE SCENE: Nine seconds remaining, 79 yards to go for a TD. UK ball. Zero time outs remaining. A miracle touchdown and we win.

    THE PLAY: A nine yard pass across the middle. Huh, a pass across the middle with 9 seconds remaining. No team runs that play.

    THEN: After the nine yard pass, the QB is almost to the sideline watching Randy Sanders, do his chicken flop calling in plays. Huh, he is calling in plays, the QB is on the sideline.

    THE ANSWER: At a minimum the offensive and defensive coordinators have got to go, and now would be not soon enough. Coaching zero and personalities zero. Our players deserve better.



  26. Mark
    5:44 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    In Joker’s regime, winnable means….helping the other team find a way to win.



  27. Yab
    6:03 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Half of our team is from Georgia. They Just played inspired because it was their home state school they were playing against. Really it’s an indictment of just how poorly coached UK really is. Joker can’t do anything to get this team ready to play in any other game.

    Kevin Sumlin’s offense looks putrid against SEC competition, and he just beat Dykes last week. No thanks, I’ll pass on the high school offense. Give us Petrino, that guy just wins and wins.



  28. hmmmm
    6:22 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Proud of the ‘cats effort last night, but Western was supposed a “winnable” game also. I won’t speculate on the next head coach but whoever it is, I hope they can hire someone better than a defensive coordinator from (FCS) Indiana State. Oh, and please do better than high school coaches to coach the linebackers and running backs. You know, kinda like the rest of the SEC…..



  29. Lol
    6:35 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I hope that joker does just enough to be coach next yr!

    Why?

    Because I hate uk football! I love to watch them suck yr in and yr out its so funny!

    And if Mitch keeps this crap HC. Lololololol it’s just funny calling him that!

    Well if he stays then maybe 10000 tickets sold and maybe a zero and 12 yr lol

    Ooo please keep him Mitch

    That is what non uk fans r saying Mitch! Almost a direct quote from a friend of mine in tenn

    Fire this asz hole and let’s get to work



  30. kramer
    6:37 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I went to the game last night, my aunt gave me the tickets,there were a whole lot of Georgia fans there. We were in sec 217 which is right next to opposing fans but scattered through the stadium were Ga fans. Lots of empty seats, tailgating looked packed and fun! The game itself turned out to be OK don’t know how much was us playing really good or Georgia is a tad overrated, they looked terrible. The score could have been more but their kicker is horrible missed extra point and feild goal which could have turned game more to their favor.I think Joker has to go, bring in Petrino, there are good players on UK team that would really prosper under Petrino, imo.



  31. Mark Liptak
    6:40 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    John:

    In theory ANY game is “winnable.” Realistically though the only game UK has a realistic chance to win is Samford…and I wouldn’t bet your life on that one.

    Mark Liptak



  32. Bob wiley
    6:49 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    What about the O.C for Texas A&M? NFL experience and up tempo Offense.



  33. dtfromgeorgetown
    7:10 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    I wish them nothing but the best but (there’s always a but it seems) .It’s not looking good



  34. BlueTexan
    8:03 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Barnfart’s just dumb enough to give the Joker an extension…fire Barnfart before he does!



  35. Matt Jones
    8:41 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    This is why my blog is going downhill. I continue to let people who have little to no football knowledge post this crap. 1 game doesn’t make a season or define a team. If UK was better in other games I could call the WKU fiasco an anomaly, but it wasn’t. The fact is because during the rest of the season this team has looked awful, the GA game is an anomaly.

    Please stop using 1 game, 1 half, 1 Qtr, or 1 play to try and define hope in this team or staff. I define it over the last 3 seasons which is 6-7, 5-7, and currently 1-7. Over the long haul, not one game Joker and his teams have continued to decline.

    All of the people who said after the Louisville game you can’t judge a team on one game, I would offer you the same explanation for this past game. Judge this coach over 3 seasons and you will see the clear answer.



  36. rixter
    8:55 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    People on drugs should NOT write blogs



  37. Get a Clue
    8:58 pm October 21, 2012 Permalink

    Georgia’s Defense is awful and has been torched all season. Georgia always plays in high scoring affairs unless they don’t score like against USC. They are a bit overrated and Richt is ordinary.

    Before you go spraying hope all over everything, look at the facts and try to make an educated argument.



  38. Unknown Fan
    7:42 am October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Drugs will make you stupid….as witnessed by this article. “Well golly gee whiz! We MIGHT get to 4-8 this year!! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!”
    BarnFart must have laid down the law to KSR.



  39. bluesince66
    8:46 am October 22, 2012 Permalink

    I really like how some come on here and bash some of the assistants for once being high school coaches. News flash I would say at least 80% of head coaches coached in high school at one time or another. Everyone yelling for this O.C. or that one as head coach need to wake up. We had that in Mumme and as soon as he ran out of Currys’ players it all went to hell. We do not need a gimmick offensive coach, we need a defensive minded coach that can bring in a good O.C. those offenses don’t hold up in the SEC, and you win chamionships with defense. I agree the teams since Joker took over seem to be less prepeared than any I’ve aeen at UK. It seems like the other night with a lot of players being from Georgia played with some pride, and the only other game I remember them coming out fired up for was Florida, because Pease had talked about laying 50 on them. So the two games they’ve showed some emeotion didn’t even come from Joker.



  40. Dolfan66r
    11:32 am October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Oh Boy! The lid will come off next year when we open in Nashville against Western Kentucky!!! Cant wait for the Joker Juggernaut!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  41. Dolfan66r
    11:33 am October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Get a new AD while we are at it!!!!