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How hot is Joker’s seat?

If there’s one concern with the football program that is voiced above all others in comment sections and online chat boards, it’s that Kentucky can’t succeed in football because it doesn’t have the coach to do so. Joker Phillips almost came into the job of head coach on the hot seat and has yet to do anything to prove that he shouldn’t be there. The question is: What would he have to do this season to secure another year or years on his contract?

Looking at the schedule for the upcoming season, I’d have to assume if Phillips was somehow able to get this team bowl eligible then not only should he receive as extension, but we should organize a ticker tape parade as well. While the Cats will avoid the big dogs of the SEC in Alabama and LSU, they’ll also miss out on Ole Miss, a team who we can at least muster up some positivity against. The schedule looks impossibly difficult at this point with the Cats probably being the underdog in every SEC game and the Louisville game. Joker Phillips is going to need a few miracles to secure signature wins that, to this point in his UK career, have eluded him. Until he proves that he can beat a top team, I don’t know if there’s a real reason to keep him around. This season will be make or break for Phillips.

Hopefully, this team can pull off a few surprise victories next season. Otherwise, Phillips may not be long for the head coaching spot in Lexington.

Article written by Matthew Hays

51 Comments for How hot is Joker’s seat?



  1. Fat Ryan Lemond
    2:33 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    ’bout at hot as the bacon grease in my belly from breakfast.



  2. Steady
    2:44 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    L, W, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, W, W, L = 3-9 Toilet Bowl.



  3. Fat Ryan Lemond
    2:46 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    anyone hear Thamel-toe on the Scott Van Pelt show? SVP called him the “most popular guy” in Kentucky.
    on espn college BB page on bottom right of page if you want to give it a listen.



  4. ice
    2:53 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    4-8 if we are lucky. It would help tremendously if we could at least get our nonsensical plays called before 5 seconds on the clock. Would also help if they did some “acting” drills in practice so everyone can at least appear not to be completely confused.



  5. Capt price
    2:55 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I foresee 2 wins……and ANOTHER YEAR for the joke.



  6. Will
    2:58 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    You guys are really over estimating this schedule that UK has. Missouri has a starting QB that had the same surgery that Morgan Newton had and he’s not throwing yet and reports say that he won’t start throwing until the start to middle of fall camp. they are also replacing a bunch of Offensive Linemen and WRs. Miss St. barely beat us with a Max Smith that hadn’t played much before, they come back to Lexington. Charlie Strong teams are always horrific the first game of the season. and Vandy did a good job catching teams off guard…. If you look at that game and look at the UK game before and after that then its easily seen that UK players gave up on that game. Vandy comes to Lexington this time…. Come on this schedule is not that tough. Perception is not reality



  7. For one thing
    3:05 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    No signature wins??? Did you forget he beat Spurrier AND Tennessee without a quarterback?!!



  8. JayCee
    3:05 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    #2- UK is not beating Vandy this season. Otherwise, spot-on prediction.



  9. Come on
    3:10 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Joker came in at the height of the program in the last ten years. Consistently competitive with solid talent. Then squandered what should of been a great 2010 season. Then last year was an abyssmal season year. The Tennessee win helps to take the bad taste off the season, but it was still an atrocious year. So really what has he done to prove he SHOULD be here? Absolutely nothing. Sure he’s a good guy but that doesn’t make him a good coach.



  10. HenryEarl
    3:18 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    7 my thoughts exactly

    lol Matt Hays you are geekin today. get a proofreader, homie.



  11. Cousins Fake Tooth
    3:19 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    An extension? Yeah, lets reward coaches for winning only half your games.



  12. 3 fan
    3:26 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Joker will be back. His buyout is too much. We suck, what’s new? Mitch really screwed up not getting Mike Leach



  13. SexnNursinHomes
    3:27 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    13-0 National Champs. COY. Avg margin of win 33 pts. Lead the nation in scoring at 48 a game.



  14. Fishersblue
    3:36 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Expectations for Kentucky football are silly. The question isn’t whether Joker can win the SEC…can he go 7-5? That’s about the ceiling for Kentucky football and I’d take that every year. Of course he hasn’t shown he can do that so we shall see.



  15. Sigh
    3:57 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I see three wins on this schedule, lucky to get four. *Sighs* How many days till Big Blue Madness?? #Get#9



  16. big tim
    3:59 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    in the sec there never are for sure wins. there games you know they will not win unless they play a great game and then theres games could go either way. the only game on the schedule that are for sure are kent state, wku and samford. the game that are possible are uofl,Mississippi state, vandy, Tennessee and maybe georgia and Missouri. flordia and south carolina are the real long shots
    the problem last year was injuries on the offense side of the ball. when over half you starting offense get injured threw out the season the offense is not going to be good. i think there going to surprise some people this year as long as they stay healthy



  17. Cayuts
    3:59 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Joker Phillips is to the SEC as Mattthew Hayes is to KSR—->The Suck.



  18. IWantJust"K"OnTheFootballHelmets
    4:20 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I think most reasonable people can agree that UK is going to be lucky to win 4 games this year. So is there anything compelling about this year? There sure is! Just look at how boring the home schedule is. The amount of empty seats will be shocking, especially Vandy and Samford in November.



  19. blaze
    4:42 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Lets pay Antiqua a couple more bucks to recruit football.



  20. Put in Richie
    4:49 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    As other posters have pointed out, Joker has beaten both Spurrier in his first season and ended the UT streak in his second, so getting a signature win hasn’t been the problem. I don’t know that Joker is the right coach for UK, but I think this team will surprise people in a positive way this year. Most are going in assuming the worst, but I expect this to be a very competitive team. If we can somehow go 2-4 in the middle 6 games than I think we make a bowl.



  21. Mister +
    4:52 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I’m gonna say between 4-7 wins. I think we will be better than people think. Max Smith and Josh Clemons might just dominate.



  22. Chuck
    4:54 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not going to shout from the mountain how excited I am about this season, but I’m not going to jump off a cliff either. The good news is that this is make it break it time for Joker and company, if he fails we get a new coach with Towles who could infuse some new blood and life into the program, and if he succeeds, great! We get something to build on…but there’s no way there an underdog in EVERY conference game this year…we’ll hang with Arkansas, Miss. St., Mizzou, Vandy, and Tennessee; Non coference schedule is still a joke, plus we get USC and Georgia at home; the past few times we’ve played them at home have been wildly entertaining games. I think with this schedule 7-5, 8-4 is possible but at the same time there are lots of question marks on offense, so 5-7, 6-6 is more likely.



  23. Uk
    4:55 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    2-3 wins but that is a job well done for barnfart
    We’re on the right track I’m mean look at all our awesome 2-3 star players
    Look at all our awesome returning players who dominated last yr

    We are uk

    We the team others get to play their bench as extra practice

    But that’s a job well done in barnfarts book

    Come get some uk football.. We will Rock you… Well at the least we will make u feel better about your short comings



  24. Mudcreekmark
    5:00 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think it would be a stretch to say we could win 6 games maybe 7 if we get a break here or there. The schedule is not as tough as some of you make it out to be. If we win 4 or fewer then I think Joker is gone.



  25. Leon
    5:11 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Guy talking 8 wins: sucks to be you in mid-Oct

    So funny to me UK fans do the “amnesia” every year ’bout this time. I’m gonna remind you UK did nothIng well last year. Nothing. We’ve added the worst recruiting class in the conference and lost every player that had his name called last season.

    The team will deal with long stretches of blow out losses, a coach on the hot seat, 50% attendance at home, a QB controversy and (if past strength & conditioning is a predictor) some key injuries to a thin roster.

    We will win 0 SEC games. To much drama for a team with no leadership to overcome.



  26. macon_volfan
    5:16 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    When did Georgia leave the SEC???



  27. Put In Richie
    5:23 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    25 – Sorry, but recruiting classes mean almost nothing in college football the next season. Even for programs with Top 5 recruiting classes, they will still redshirt 90% of those freshmen. If last years recruiting class hurts us, it will hurt more in 4-5 years more than it will this year. I agree that the guy talking 8 wins is crazy, but 0 SEC wins seems just as crazy to me. Also, even if you think Joker is not a leader, a player can step up and be a leader on the football field, or even a position coach could rise to the occasion.



  28. Put In Richie
    5:35 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    One question….Why is everyone praising UL right now??? They beat us by 7 points last year and early last season we were playing worse than we did all year with Newton at QB. That same UL team also lost to FIU and Marshall. Our offense looks very improved with Max Smith. I would take a wait and see approach with this years team. Of course I don’t expect us to win 8 games, but calling for a 3-9 season and saying we won’t win an SEC game seems like vintage doom and gloom instead of reality.



  29. James K
    6:08 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I enjoyed the name of the picture.



  30. Briar Gates
    6:11 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll be amazed with more than three wins.



  31. cjcat
    6:12 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Really 3-9 at best



  32. CAUKFAN
    6:23 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    What about beating Tennessee for the first time in 20 something years? Or did I dream that?

    That said……the schedule does not look good.



  33. Damn man
    6:57 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Every pre-season I am usually pretty optimistic about UK football. I always see atleast 7 maybe even 8 wins. This year……not so much. In fact I’m not really even interested in at all and don’t see myself caring when the season starts. I used to hyped up about Kentucky football, love going to games, tailgating, etc..not anymore. And for that, I thank you Mr. Barnhart.



  34. Musehobo
    7:01 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    3-9, or worse…tops.



  35. Designated Drinker
    7:26 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Schedule isn’t that bad. It’s just we probably are. Also, no signature wins? Uh, Spurrier/USC and UT? Not saying he’s a great coach, but those are pretty good IF we get 6 or 7 w’s this year. Notice the BIG if.



  36. Hoosier Wild Cat
    7:41 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I have said it before, Joker will be added to a long list of coaches since the Bear left us. NONE have had success as a division one coach. AS LONG AS WE HIRE LOSER WE WILL LOSS. It is that simple. Don’t give me that crap ” no one can recruit for Kentucky”. That is BS. Did Bossy State get their players because of a Blue field? NO, they got a coach that was a winner. Louisville will kill us for the next three years unless we hire a REAL coach. I love to go to KY’s games but it gets harder every day when you know we will NOT call the right play because we do NOT have the players to run it.



  37. Joe Football
    8:09 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Another great bask story on KSR. Get over it and start interviewing the players. Tired of your negativity KSR!



  38. Joe Football
    8:12 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Who gives you the honor of stating that you don’t know if there is a real reason to keep him around. I love nerds that were the last people picked in flag football evaluating the future of Kentucky football.



  39. East Kentucky Infidel
    8:52 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is one big win away from a contract extension or one big blow out loss away from getting fired. Now which one comes first? With Joker you’re just not sure, and that is the problem. To get a contract, things must improve. If the passing game gets on track things will improve. Special teams has to come through also. I’d bet Joker is retained. Lose to Louisville and all bets are off. Lose to Louisville and Vandy again and Joker is damnguaranteed canned. Hate to even think about who Mitch would hire next so let’s go Joker.
    Folks it can get worse. And knowing Kentucky it will.

    #37 Kentucky has earned it’s negativity. SEC teams don’t go 35 years without a winning conference season. Go Cats! KSR is grounded in reality.
    Look in the mirror and get a grip before it’s too late. You’re losing touch with reality.



  40. JR
    12:41 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Samford? Seriously? Id rather play Eastern and keep the embarrasment in state boundaries.



  41. Srwhit4
    12:49 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Im sorry but calling the UT game a signature win is stupid. Tennessee was THE WORST THEY HAVE BEEN EVER!!!! And we are calling that a Signature win?!?! Get real! And Mizzou is a lot better than what ppl think. Our BEST ATHLETES are gone on defense! We won’t be able to stop anyone on defense!



  42. jholland9
    2:06 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    4-8 will be a miracle finish for us



  43. Dr. Kutaweigh
    10:43 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky MUST win the first three and the last three. Anything more is gravy, anything less is “so long Joker”.



  44. barn
    10:57 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    32–we beat tenn, truly a good thing, but ut was a team in total disarray with a new coach following the kiffin debacle, and a team with only 2 or 3 seniors on the entire squad. it’s not like UK improved up to the level of what ut once was a few years ago.



  45. catGrad7072
    12:03 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    44: Exactly!!!!
    43: The UL game would be a MIRACLE win; more likely a loss.
    If UK loses to either Kent St or WKU (neither should be on the schedule anyway), Joker should be fired on the spot.



  46. ToAllNon-Believers
    1:54 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    If you think UK’s win against UT was “not impressive” or wasn’t a “signature win” then you are complete FOOLS. Let’s think back to the game for a moment…UK had BOTH QB’s out due to injury. UK played a WIDE RECEIVER at QB who hasn’t played that position since high school. UK was 4-7 and had no chance of making a bowl while UT was 5-6 and HAD A CHANCE TO MAKE A BOWL. Considering how the earlier part of the season went, I think it is very impressive that Joker kept the moral of the team up. THEN HE BEATS UT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 26 YEARS. Keep in mind UK ran all of about a dozen plays and UT’s defense still couldn’t stop us. If this seriously doesn’t impress you then the true UK football fan’s would prefer you to stay home and not come to anymore games.



  47. G
    3:12 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    A prediction… the game that saved Joker last year (the UT game) will be the one that costs him his job this year. UT pissed off = 35 beat down of the Wildcats. The straw that will break Joker’s back.



  48. Justin
    3:26 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    no idea why everyone thinks Joker is gone…. its not like any other coaches are going to want to come to UK to coach… this isnt like basketball and coach cal.



  49. Reality_Watch
    3:33 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    The UT win was a signature win? UK beat what was arguably the worst Tennessee team in the entire school’s history. But that will be forgotten when UK loses to Louisville to begin the 2012 season, thus for all intents and purposes, ending UK’s season and driving another proverbial nail in Phillips’ coaching career coffin at UK. The number of people who did not renew their season tickets this season is STAGGERING. (KSR should DEMAND the actual number but UK will never release it or risk huge embarrassment and fan outcry.) The countdown to the end of the Phillips’ era has already begun. The enablers will continue to be blindly loyal right up to the end but the unbiased fan already accepts that Phillips was not the right man for the job and the “Coach in Waiting” experiment was a failure. Once more UK will have the opportunity to hire a true SEC-caliber Coach. But will they? Seems unlikely.



  50. Reality_Watch
    3:37 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Note to #48, we were told that repeatedly when Tubby Smith coached here. And look at where we are today. Those who blindly accept the premise that a high profile coach won’t come here deserve to forever suffer through a typical disappointing UK football season. UK is now the worst football program in the SEC. Losing to Vandy by 30? How humiliating. If that’s not a wake-up call, what is?



  51. Tampa Satchel
    2:33 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    I’d say 5-7 wins, with 5 being slightly more likely than 7 and 4 being not far behind. This team has a razor thin margin of error.