With the loss to Missouri still lingering like burnt popcorn, it’s time to start thinking about what’s next for Kentucky football. John Pennington, aka “Mr. SEC,” compiled a list of the potential coaching vacancies and replacements in the SEC, and not surprisingly, he gave Joker Phillips a very low chance of survival. Like 1% low. Pennington’s “sources” tell him that the list of “real” possible replacements include two names we’ve heard around the rumor mill for quite some time, and a former rival coach that is desperate to get out of his XXXL sweatpants and back into the game:
Current Coach: Joker Phillips
Chance of Survival: 1%
Wildcat Fans Want: Jon Gruden, Chris Peterson, or another big name
UK’s Real Top Choice: Phillip Fulmer, David Cutcliffe or Sonny Dykes.
Our Take: Phillips pried open his tomb with a good showing against Georgia a week ago… only to have the crypt slam back shut on him Saturday at Missouri. A return by freshman quarterback Patrick Towles was expected to provide a bit more hope for the future, but Towles and UK looked very poor in Saturday’s 33-10 rout in Columbia. We initially thought Fulmer would ixnay the idea of heading to Lexington and taking on a rebuilding project, but a source close to the coach recently gave us a “not so fast” on that one. It’s believed Fulmer – whose buyout money from Tennessee ends this year – wants desperately to end his career with more victories than former UT legend Robert Neyland. We still find it hard to believe the 62-year-old Fulmer would take the job, but Rich Brooks made it work at UK in his 60s. Ron Zook’s name was even thrown out to us as a possible D-coordinator and star recruiter for Fulmer’s hypothetical staff. Sorry, still not buying. Have to see it to believe it. Same with Cutcliffe. He’s already a hero at one basketball school. Unless he feels he’s got something to prove in the SEC, why make a lateral move? Dykes, on the other hand, is a former UK assistant and he’s taken many of Derek Dooley’s old players at Louisiana Tech and turned them into a BCS-ranked team. Young coach, exciting offense, ranked team. But would he jump at a Kentucky offer or wait for a better/easier job elsewhere? UK’s all over the board with potential hires, but we feel safe in saying Phillips is done.
With Joker’s time at UK appearing short, what do you make of Pennington’s predictions? How would you rank Fulmer, Cutcliffe and Dykes as potential replacements? I’ll start: 1) Dykes, 2) Cutcliffe, 3) Fulmer.