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The Five Stages of Grief in Kentucky Football



As I struggled to pay attention to the football game today, I realized something: I was watching the game with all the emotion of a completely uninvested third party observer, rather than from the perspective of a Kentucky fan who cares about the team and its success. After thinking about it for a bit, I came to the conclusion that Kentucky football is essentially dead and buried (for this season, at least), and as a fan watching its slow and painful demise, I have already progressed through the five stages of grief in Kentucky football 2012. Let’s pinpoint when and where each stage occurred:


1. Denial: Kentucky 47, Kent State 14

Okay, so we lost to Louisville. No big deal. We were the underdogs in this game, and at this point in the season, UL is still somehow undefeated and ranked in the top twenty. Plus, we won the game we were supposed to and in the fashion we were supposed to. Our quarterback Maxwell Smith had 354 yards passing with four touchdowns, Raymond Sanders had 115 yards rushing, and Aaron Boyd hit his Dougie catching 11 passes for 100 yards- our offense had its best performance since playing Vandy in 2010. Maybe this is our year! Maybe we’ll win seven games! Maybe Joker will finally live up to his coaching potential and we’ll return to a bowl game!



2. Anger: Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31 (OT).

What. The. Hell. Losing on a trick play, at home, to a team we had previously written off as the third best in the state? How does that happen? We may be Kentucky, but we should NOT be that bad. The collective rage felt in the Commonwealth after that final play was enough to power Rupp for a year.


3. Bargaining: South Carolina 38, Kentucky 17

Well, okay. So we put together one half of SEC quality football against the number six team in the nation. Winning the first half 17-7 is a moral victory. Right? And if the football gods had to take Maxwell Smith and his left ankle, well, at least freshman Jalen Whitlow played relatively well in his first big stretch of playing time as a SEC quarterback, going 12-23 for 114 yards. We’re Kentucky fans. We’ll take what we can get.


4. Depression: Arkansas 49, Kentucky 7

I don’t think there’s anything more disheartening than getting manhandled by a horrible team, on the road, in the rain, and then having the game called in the third quarter. The message being sent was “Well, that lightning doesn’t look too friendly, and let’s face it, Kentucky’s not going to win anyway, so let’s get an early start on the road home.” In the first half alone, Arkansas had 444 total yards to Kentucky’s 88. No one had any faith in the Cats at this point. Absolutely no one. Cue Boyz II Men “End of the Road” playing in Joker’s office.


5. Acceptance: Missouri 33, Kentucky 10

This was it. This was the Cats’ legitimate chance at a victory in the SEC. A loss today essentially ended Joker’s career at Kentucky. By inexplicably putting Towles in (and burning his redshirt) after Whitlow had had two successful drives, Kentucky’s offense lost any rhythm it might have had. On defense, freshman J.D. Harmon managed two interceptions in Missouri territory- yet we couldn’t convert the steals into points. After those interceptions, the previously injured Missouri quarterback James Franklin came in basically just to stretch his legs and get some light exercise for the afternoon. That’s when I knew it was over.


Not to rub salt in the wound, but with today’s loss, the Wildcats’ overall football record fell to 579-580-44- the first time we’ve been under .500 since losing to Transy (heyyyyy alma mater!) in 1902 to make our record 44-45-6. Yes, there are still three games left- all winnable. However, at this point, I’m not so sure that even winning out would be enough to consider this season anything other than lifeless. With the five stages of grief behind me, I’m ready to move on to next season- and after reading your comments and listening to the radio show, it appears that the rest of Big Blue Nation is ready too.



Article written by Kristen Geil

41 Comments for The Five Stages of Grief in Kentucky Football

  1. Drunen Laura
    6:04 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Far Choker

  2. Drunken Laura
    6:05 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Woops….FAR Choker!

  3. UKBlue
    6:06 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    It’s called reality: fans that watched Joker call plays when he was OC knew when he got named head coach in waiting this was going happen, hence the reason the majority of UK fans didn’t Joker in the first place. Barnhart screwed up, now it’s time to fix this disaster.

  4. Drunken Laura
    6:07 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    By the way, the Catholic Church changed that one year ago….it is NO longer WE believe……but ‘I’ believe. There is no “I” in team.

  5. UnknownFan
    6:07 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    UK should have spent money on coaches and facilities rather than silly billboards around ULs campus.

  6. Reality Check
    6:08 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    STOP PLEASE! No, the last three games are NOT winnable!!!!!

  7. Jon Lock
    6:13 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Maybe I am wrong, but I think Towles’ medical redshirt chances were burned when he was cleared to play at all. I think he still wouldn’t have gotten one even if we didn’t play him because I think you need to not be cleared to play the rest of the year to be eligible.

  8. coach search
    6:19 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    JOB OPENING: A Division I team that plays in a competitive football conference will be accepting applictions from individuals with little to no coaching experience. Please apply online to [email protected]

    Feel free to invite coworkers,bus drivers, short order cooks, and nursing home residents to apply.

  9. True Blue
    6:22 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Where is Mitch hiding out? My gosh he is the AD and we never hear a thing about football. I simply don’t trust him and his ability to get us a decent coach. Ditch Mitch will be making a comeback. The fool makes 600k a year from UK!!! The school only pays Cal 400k. Look it up on the UK website.

  10. Cletus
    6:22 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    “Hello Bobby P? This here is Cletus…Cletus…yeah…uh…um…we REALLY need us a new coach here at UK..Bobby…Hello??…Hello??….”

  11. Lets hope
    6:23 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Lets hope Mitch, informs joker Monday that once the UT game is over, so is his tenure as HC. Then maybe we can win sneak a few wins for SEC pride from Vandy and Tennessee. Cause let’s be honest misery loves company and nothing would make UT miserable than for UK to win in Knoxville. One thing we do have going for us is that Vandy and Tennessee both have one of the worst run defenses in the SEC(yes even worse than uk, who knew that was possible)

  12. BigKatHead
    6:25 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    WOW-might have opened a little differently, but nice analysis!!

  13. JokerChoker
    6:26 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    “#11 Wish in one hand and **** in the other,see which one fills up faster….I should know.”

  14. Good Grief
    6:30 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Can we PLEASE get rid of Joker’s butt buddy Mitch as well? Mitch is not an SEC football AD. This is a big boy sport guys and girls. No one on here is expecting us to be Bama or LSU every year but we don’t have to be Vandy’s bit$h or Western Ky for that matter every year either. We need a new coach and new AD right now!P.S I give Barnfart zero credit for getting Cal and winning the NC.

  15. niaps
    6:32 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Grief ? We all should be celebrating the end of the coaching career of 1 Joker Phillips. The worst major college coach maybe in history. It was a HORRIBLE call to make him coach in waiting and he proved my theory to now make it a fact. Way to go joker you made no one proud in the 3 years you were here. I know we have games left for what ever thats worth but the end of the season brings at least a hope for the future of UK football and thats more than we EVER had with joker. So sports fans lets celebrate to to the end and grief is not an option.

  16. Dan the man
    6:33 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Hey at least we are the best at being the worst?

  17. Lets hope
    6:34 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    13) well I didn’t say wins vs Vandy and UT were likely but the only teams that are worse vs the run than uk are Vandy, UT and Auburn. But I love for us to first fire joker then beat UT because volunteer fans would burn down Neyland stadium to get at Derek Fooley.

  18. Bankshot
    6:35 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Clever. Well written. Forget football. The blogger is the star!

  19. rob
    6:57 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    FYI, Kent State just beat Rutgers (#15). Just thought you should know.

  20. goUKats
    6:59 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    This has to be one of the most inept team in UK history.Do they have anyone on either side of the ball that is really belongs in the SEC.

  21. Kristen have you watched any uk football games this year?
    7:01 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    How can anyone say with a straight face that any game besides the samford game is winnable? And the Samford game is debatable.

  22. Drunken Laura
    7:05 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Far CHOKER!

    Far BornFART !

  23. Drunken Laura
    7:06 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    HAR Charlie Strong!

  24. Joker
    7:14 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    I can’t figure out how we beat Kent. St??

  25. I'm Batman
    7:30 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    This site is pathetic. They censor any form of critcism. Great monopoly you got here. Quit with the crappy writing.

  26. Come and get it...
    7:54 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink


  27. Roll Tide
    8:01 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Where is Barnyard? He is a social Pygmy! The Joke beats Samford, do not be surprised if he returns.

  28. hoof hearted
    8:14 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    bill curry just called and said he left his playbook…he needs it back, theres still other suckers out there!

  29. Claude Bassett
    8:23 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m available !

  30. Red Pup
    8:25 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s tear down Commonwealth Stadium and build a bigger on campus basketball arena. Cal with his performance deserves this.

  31. Cooter Jones
    8:42 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    They suppose to be SEC??? HAHA!!

    Stick to bball…y’all suck on the gridiron.

    GO CARDS!!!

  32. Katdaddy
    8:55 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    I cant hold up for you anymore joker, you need to go!

  33. tankercat
    10:40 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    What winnable games they talking about ?

  34. Noetown Ranger
    10:57 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Poor ole Kentucky……

  35. Craig
    11:16 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Thats my sign. It was used at the Music City Bowl (1st time around). It is not a reflection of my belief in Joker.

  36. Alan
    11:19 pm October 27, 2012 Permalink

    Craig, we all know you want to give Joker 1 more year.

  37. Dent 44
    12:07 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    We just suck!

  38. Emmert's gay
    2:04 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    i just wanna say to the players– don’t think BBN is angry or disappointed in y’all.. Your record doesn’t indicate whether or not you are individually talented or appreciated by the BBN.. We all understand you are playing for an inept coach and that isn’t your fault.. Please stick around to play for a potentially great coach next year and you will see that the true fans really root for you hard, in the cellar or not.

  39. WIKIrev
    2:53 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    I think you’re wrong about the Transy stat beating UK in 1902 considering Transy has never EVER had a football team. I went to school at a school that competes in their conference. And looking at the all-time results…UK didn’t even play Transy in 1902. The only team the CATS lost to in Lexington that season was Kentucky University and unless KU became Transy (which, I don’t think it did) makes that information false.

  40. #39 is a Moron
    11:25 am October 28, 2012 Permalink

    #39, a quick look at Wikipedia would have prevented you from posting that stupid comment. The fact that you “went to school at a schhol that competes in their conference” is useless and irrelevent, especially with regards to 1902. Transy was in fact also known as Kentucky University until 1908.

  41. #39DropedOutTooSoon
    12:34 pm October 28, 2012 Permalink

    #39 the first head coach of the Wildcats was W.W.H. Mustaine, who in 1903 called together some students, took up a collection totaling $3 for a ball, and told the students to start playing.[22] The first recorded intercollegiate game at the college was a 15—6 defeat to nearby Georgetown College. The team went 1—2 for their first “season,” also losing to Kentucky University (later Transylvania University) but defeating the Lexington YMCA.[23]

    Through 1908, the team did not manage a winning season, and had an all-time record of 15—29. In the fall of 1909, the faculty athletic senate voted to abolish the men’s basketball program at Kentucky, due to a poor record and an overcrowded gym. As a reaction to this, the University of Kentucky students presented the board of trustees with a solution to the overcrowding. The plan was for a wooden floor and new lighting to be installed in the Armory. To address the poor record of the past teams, the university’s head football coach, E.R. Sweetland was named head coach. This made him the first paid coach in Kentucky’s basketball history

    Maybe Drake can get you a GED….