We’re in there, somewhere.
To everyone in Lexington, it’s fairly obvious that all is not right with the football program this season. There have been injuries and a little bad luck, sure, but we were still mostly healthy when we played Louisville and Western, and we saw how that went.
And now, according to everyone’s favorite SEC football exclusive blog, Saturday Down South, Joker is officially “scraping the bottom” of the coaching barrel in the nation’s best conference. There’s little solace anymore in saying “hey, at least we’re in the barrel. Best conference in the nation, right?” That salve has stopped being soothing. On Joker’s season, SDS said:
There could be four legitimate coaching changes in the SEC after this season… Joker Phillips may be cursed this season. Sitting at 1-6 and losing two of his better quarterbacks to injury, Phillips could be on his way out. The only other win on the schedule looks like Samford.
Well, at least they’re saying it’s because he’s “cursed,” right?
Joining Joker at the bottom are Gary Pinkel (Mizzou), Gene Chizik (Auburn), Derek Dooley (Tennessee), and John L. Smith (Arkansas). Vanderbilt’s James Franklin is somewhere “lost in the middle” after a somewhat disappointing season for Vandy (since when is any season “disappointing” for Vandy?).
Meanwhile, Nick Saban is listed as “top shelf,” which is fair, if even something of an understatement. I’m not even sure he’s in the same cabinet, if we’re extending the liquor metaphor; he may be in a locked desk drawer somewhere. Les Miles and Steve Spurrier are “next level,” Dan Mullen (Miss. State) and Will Muschamp are “hottest young coaches,” and Mark Richt is “knocking at the door.” Heck, even Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) and Kevin Sumlin (A&M) are “better than advertised.”
Apart from being inconsistent with their metaphors (Saban is a bottle of booze, while Mullen and Muschamp are subjects of a GQ article? Richt is what, a trick-or-treater?), the assessments are very accurate. So what does Kentucky have to do to move out of the “scraping the bottom” category with our coaching staff? There are a lot of possible, viable solutions, but one thing is sure: whatever the University does, it will have to involve change. Whether that’s personnel, culture, or budget, what’s happening is simply not working. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If significant changes aren’t made, you can say one of two things about the administration: either they don’t want to see change, or they’re insane. Those are really the only options.
We don’t need “top shelf” necessarily, just not “scraping the bottom.” We’ll take “better than advertised.” But, as the Deadspin blurb pointed out, and Saturday Down South reinforces, something’s going to have to give if we want to get out of the bottom of the barrel.