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Is 2012 the Worst Season in Kentucky Football History?

After just reading the inside cover, it might make my Christmas Book List.

Now that this season is finally in the books (exhale), I don’t feel bad comparing this team to other one’s that have failed miserably in Lexington.  This year’s 2-10 team consistently played in a very empty Commonwealth Stadium. Two true freshman manned Kentucky’s offense for 3/4 of the season. The youngest team in the country also played the most difficult schedule. An overtime loss to WKU would seem to be the lowest point a program can go, until they lost to Vanderbilt 40-0 in front of the smallest crowd most have ever seen at Commonwealth Stadium. The Joker Phillips era has ended on a sour note, but is it the worst?


The Thin Thirty

In 1962 Bear Bryant product Charlie Bradshaw replaced Blanton Collier as head coach and made heads spin immediately. His brutal conditioning and coaching style rubbed the team the wrong way, with 58 players quitting the team and only 30 left to begin the season. The survivors not only had to deal with adversity on the field, but gambling and sex scandals surfaced off the field. The team limped through the year, but ended on a positive beating Tennessee in Knoxville 12-10 and ending the season 3-5-2.

After just reading the inside cover, it might make my Christmas Book List.


Scandals and More Scandals

While I grew up during Mumme and Fraud Claude Basset’s fiasco where 3 dozen NCAA rules were broken and recruits were paid, it has actually been worse before. In 1975 there were point shaving allegations that coincided with criminal activity off the field. Sports Illustrated painted a picture of terrible time in the program. After a game where UK blew a lead to a winless Auburn team, a person was kidnapped by 3 people that were involved with the program over what is speculated as a $50,000 cocaine robbery. The season continued with people making blatant mistakes that resulted in losses. Sonny Collins was questioned by the FBI and police multiple times after the person that was kidnapped was found dead floating in the Ohio River. The team ended 2-9 and was placed on probation, forcing them to miss a bowl game in 1976 when the team went 9-3. Mumme fudged up and was 2-9 in 2000 on his way out the door, but I’d say paying players isn’t as bad as players shaving points and being involved with drug dealers.


Jerry Claiborne’s 1st season was bad: 0-10-1 bad. However Claiborne did turn things around quickly, getting UK to consecutive Hall of Fame Bowls in the two years following, but his first season was ugly. The best name on the 1982 team: Randy Jenkins. A John Short favorite, he is best known for his quick kick. When he first got to UK Fran Curci proclaimed, “I finally got a QB that can throw the ball.” Claiborne used him exclusively on pass plays, tipping off the defense and leading him to throw for only 2 TDs and 20 interceptions. This season has seen some strange/bad QB play, but nothing like Randy Jenkins.

The only picture on the internet you can find of Randy Jenkins.



The Bill Curry era saw it’s worse record in 1994 with the Cats finishing 1-10. Their offense featured one of UK’s best running back’s of all-time with Moe Williams, but they still couldn’t score. The offense produced only 7 rushing TDs and there were more interceptions thrown (14) than touchdowns (8). The fan base thought they hit a homerun hiring a former National Champion at Alabama, but Curry’s old-school rushing attack failed miserably.


This year’s team was bad, and the next head coach will inherit arguably the toughest job in all of College Football, however we should be thankful that Joker did things the right way. The program is not better off than when he started, but it is much better than it was in 2001. It’s easy to fix things on the field, but it takes years to fix things off the field.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

51 Comments for Is 2012 the Worst Season in Kentucky Football History?

  1. true story
    9:34 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Read: Let’s be thankful Joker didn’t break any laws or NCAA rules while he was here? Dude just lost to a coachless team. ROFL.. Joker Phillips just lost to… an empty chair!

  2. Brink
    9:36 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    In a word. NO

  3. lexslamman
    9:42 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    It is true, Joker did an abysmal job – but would Kentucky fans be this caustic towards him if he was white? I don’t recall hearing this level of animosity towards Bill Curry – we all just stopped going to games. The boogeyman of racism is still clearly present in the Kentucky fanbase.

  4. ChiddarCheddar
    9:50 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    3) you’re crazy. You obviously didn’t listen to Curry’s final call-in show. I had never heard anyone be more disrespectful to a grown man than that night.

  5. SteveM
    9:50 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is just the sympton of the incompetent disease that is Mitch Barnhart. The next sympton will be manifesting itself soon….and yes, this is the lowest point in UK’s dismal football history.

  6. Booger
    9:51 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Why don’t all you ky coin hunters go out and gas your garbage truck up and get it ready for Monday!!! UK plane in Bowling Green- I think Mitch is with Kevin Wallace- head coach of bowling green high.

  7. jimp
    9:51 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Curci, actually went 7-4 in 1976 and played North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. They did not go to a bowl game in 1977 because of probation. They went 10-1 and the only loss was to Penn St.

  8. Mr G
    9:52 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    There is no more racism at Kentucky than anywhere else. You dumbass, look at the trend over the past 7 years, the trend over the past 3 years, the ass ignorant play calling and the total misuse of players. That’s why Joker got canned, not his skin color. You’re an asshole for making this ignorant post.

  9. Floyd
    9:58 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Give Claiborne today’s schedule he takes you to a bowl every year.

  10. o.O
    9:59 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    if anyone is confused I’d like to give you a glimpse inside 6’s head as he was posting: “Dangit I’m too stupid to find anything to refute here… but… must… use… joke I heard… while working fryolator today… guhhhh… WING IT!”

  11. Bluemister
    10:03 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    They did not lose to Penn State in 77. Their only loss was to Baylor. Also they won peach bowl in 77 making them 8-4, then someone had to forfeit later, making them 9-3.

  12. Manbearpig
    10:04 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    #3 you’re right! When Curry was here I don’t remember anyone voicing concerns about the.state of the program on Facebook or KSR!

  13. Hey BBN
    10:04 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Any news on Ryan Harrow?

  14. Bluemister
    10:05 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    76 that is for peach bowl

  15. @bigevanbaby
    10:07 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    hell yea it is. my freshman year at UK goes down as the worst in school history. least we get a new coach and basketball is doing well

  16. Han
    10:07 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Out of curiosity, are there any midseason additions UK might be looking at? Is Tony Trocha still going to enroll somewhere in December? Would Cal even look at him with both Noel and WCS playing and Lee next year, plus maybe Johnson?

  17. Yngvie Malmsteen.
    10:08 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Worst fb season ever.

  18. Han
    10:09 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Also, Louisville down 9 with 8 left in first half to Duke.

    So conflicted, but ultimately, hate UL fans more than Duke fans or Duke program. And UNC or someone will beat Duke later on anyway.

  19. Bluemister
    10:13 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Matt. You need to get one or two older writers on here who remember some football history. Some of us can be ridiculous too.

  20. WTF?
    10:14 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    There are so many facts wrong here, this could only be a KSR “writer” penning this p.o.s.

  21. Stigall
    10:18 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    According to matt jones, matt jones is the best and most trustworthy person in the world. Matt jones is exactly right and it’s exactly right that matt jones is exactly right all of the time. That’s exactly right. According to matt jones, harrisons arent coming here, uk has cooled on young, and all sorts of truths. Matt jones is never wrong.

  22. big blue
    10:28 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Your an idiot how can you compare fan reaction now to the Bill Curry era. With the internet age.everyone has an opinion. I remember someone calling and flushing the toliet on curry’s call in show and they gave the guy pure hell. Joker atleast has been talked to on his shows nicely. You cant compare the two at all. Bottom line Uk fans are tired of losing and Mitched made it 10x worse with his comments towards the fans.

  23. catnhat
    10:29 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Some Saturday night fun, crashing a Tard Partty: The link to Duke/UL game on Justintv, hosted by a bunch of card fans.

    The password is L1C4, hahahaha. Got it on the third guess. The IM board is a pathetic stream of excuses and homerisms.

    If you guys want to go Occupy JustinTV for a little fun, use the link, and password L1C4. My comment was deleted pretty quickly, but go for it.

  24. NKY_UK_fan
    10:32 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Couple questions:

    1.) Better ballroom? Atlantis with it’s non-stop blue lights or Cancun with a Gillispie open bar next to the court?

    2.) Will Coach K answer questions from the sideline reporter entering the half? That’s a clown question, bro.

  25. WTF?
    10:37 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    BTW, why don’t you go find Randy Jenkins & tell him some of this garbage face to face? Maybe you could regale him with some of your high-school football stories.

  26. Han
    10:38 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Looks like some jackass got the stream shut down, probably to spite the Cardinals fans. And now those of us actually watching that game can’t. Nice work people.

  27. fur eel
    10:42 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    This is the worst year,\ because the fans quit showing up. But at least we have luxury boxes and ribbon boards!

  28. Tee Martin
    10:48 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Is it just me or does my new boss look like Daniel Tosh??

  29. clancykat
    10:48 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    #12 – just curious – are you being sarcastic or stupid ? Facebook and ksr didn’t exist in the Curry era.

  30. SoCal Will
    10:53 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    Worst year? Yet to be determined by one important decision….

  31. Rick
    11:03 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    #22 – Someone called into the coach’s show and flushed a toilet on air? Hahahahaha. That should be done to more radio shows in general, not just coaches who are having a poor season.

  32. 7, I thought about that as I was reading this article. It’s amazing how we can remember that without looking it up and some of these writers get it wrong even when they could research it in about 30 seconds on the web.

  33. Yeah
    11:39 pm November 24, 2012 Permalink

    #3 is effing right !!
    I totally don’t recall the white coach who got fired in 1929 getting this much heat on the call in shows and the Internet
    It’s effing racist ky in action

  34. Boomerball48
    12:15 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    If I remember correctly threats were against Curry and his family and the Lexington PD had to keep a watch on his house! In 77 UK lost to Baylor on the road 14 to 7.

  35. Pops
    12:17 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    I think the book could be a lot better. A lot of conjecture and the author did not even interview the important people. He did ot interview one player I know that started offense and defense. Thre is a lot of creative writing in this on. Don’t waste your money

  36. Boomerball48
    12:19 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    If I remember correctly threats were against Curry and his family and the Lexington PD had to keep a watch on his house! In 77 UK lost to Baylor on the road 14 to 7. I

  37. BravoBigBlue
    6:44 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Joker’s 3 years as HC were very similar to Bill Curry’s tenure. Both coaches seemed to be clueless as to how bad they were at their jobs and how hopeless the program had become. And both had the “coach-speak” down pat. It’s just hard to take seriously when the team is on its way to a disastrous 2-10. The Kentucky fanbase deserves better. It’s time the UK adminsitration gave them a competitive football program. If not, the fans should stay home. And maybe find another football team to root for (as CM Newton once said). Hey, I kinda like that Alabama Crimson Tide team. They’re not too bad.

  38. Larry Ivy
    7:03 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Make this easy, hire the best coach available.

  39. Rich Brooks
    7:27 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    First, as with a lot of info posted on KSR, get your facts correct. UK did not miss a bowl game in 1976. They went to the Peach Bowl. Second, you seem to go direction with whichever the wind blows. Coach Stoops would be a terrible hire for UK’s head coach. Take away all the shenanigans and throw in the best defensive coordinator money could buy and I believe the Mumme era would have turned out a lot different. The best coach available is Coach Petrino. If we are going to settle for a coordinator with no head coaching experience bring Coach Phillips back and give him another year.

  40. BBB
    7:39 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Agree with 37). Its time for the fans to have a GOOD football team. It starts and ends at the top. We should hire the best football coach we can find and if not find a new AD who can make the call. Hands down Petrino is the only $4 million a year coach we have a chance to get. Everyone else is 6-6 or 7-5. We continue to hire “up and coming” or retreads and just “flip the coin” and hope he works out. BULL

  41. Hal Mumme
    8:08 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    What a dumb question, whats the point of piling on? Besides, I won 2 games too, but I also cheated and got the school put on devastating probation during a time where Kentucky was loaded with instate talent.

  42. Hilbert
    8:25 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Curry was not a national champion at Alabama. I don’t know where that came from.

  43. JLivermore
    10:11 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    I’m glad some others already corrected the horrible mistakes about the 1976-77 teams, but another ridiculous mistake needs to be pointed out. Bill Curry was not a National Champion. Both Georgia Tech and Alabama won National Championships AFTER he left. The joke in Tuscaloosa after winning the National Championship shortly after he left was, “Who’s going to take UK to a championship after they fire Curry?”

  44. Manbearpig
    10:42 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    #29 facepalm, thanks for staying the obvious

  45. Stigall
    10:54 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    21, don’t post under my name. That wasn’t me. I got no problem with MJ. I have a problem with Joker getting 2.5 million to walk away

    As to Curry, he pulled the worst act I have ever seen from a UK coach when, after being fired with 3 games left, pulled a redshirt on a TE for the last game of the season against Tennessee, when we were like 28 point underdogs. Was that Whalen?

  46. Bluehaz
    11:17 am November 25, 2012 Permalink

    1962 my good friend, Clarkie Mayfield, kicked a field goal to beat TN. He kept the shoe he was wearing to do this the balance of his life. Bradshaw should have had criminal charges against him. Makes me appreciate the likes of Joker Phillips ! Just wish he could have won more games. Will the next coach win enough to survive ?? Odds ,not good! Especially first three years +

  47. eightisnotenough
    12:01 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Man, that was a hard read. Flow was terrible.

  48. GhostOfJoePa
    1:06 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    #7 UK beat Penn State in 1977 season at Penn State. Only loss was to Mississippi State and finished ranked in top 10. Writer, better research next time, UK chose to go to a bowl game in 1976 vs risking not going to one the next year.

  49. GhostOfJoePa
    1:09 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    Actually lost to Baylor in 2nd game of season. Ghost of Bear Bryant gave me bad info.

  50. Mr. T's Mohawk
    2:39 pm November 25, 2012 Permalink

    #34 In ’77 Cats lost on the road to Baylor 21-6.