Last night was hard. Very hard for numerous reasons. Kentucky officially became the 3rd best team in the state. Joker Phillips fate was sealed barring at least 3 miracles going forward. The legend of Max Smith came to an end. And for the first time in my life I was ashamed to be a UK fan.
After losing to Louisville and Western Kentucky, there is no longer a debate regarding the pecking order in the Commonwealth. The Hilltoppers came out and played with an underdog’s fire but the confidence of a team who thinks they belong. The Wildcats played with neither. There are various reasons for the team to lack confidence this year. But the truth is that Kentucky had better talent on their sideline, yet they didn’t play like it.
It’s very hard to imagine Joker Phillips keeping his job past this year. At this point Kentucky would have to make a bowl game, including wins over the likes of Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee to placate rabid fans. I’m not even sure if such a miracle would bring everyone back. I’m not going to expound on Phillips’ job status much more, as we covered it extensively in the new podcast. But fans shouldn’t expect a firing to come anytime soon. A mid-season firing does Kentucky little good. I would say the earliest a move could be made is once a losing season is ensured, which could very well be after the 7th game.
Earlier last week there was speculation that Maxwell Smith could already be one of the better quarterbacks in Kentucky football history. Smith responded by throwing 4 interceptions early in a 1-point loss. Three to UF transfer Jonathan Dowling. None were tipped balls. Just poor throws. He put Kentucky in a hole that it nearly didn’t climb out of. In all fairness, he later settled down and helped Kentucky come back in the game. It’s unfair to place the blame for a loss on one player, especially the way the defense performed, but you have to think the game might have gone differently without those four turnovers.
And finally to the shame. In the 4th quarter, with Kentucky driving the field to tie, Wildcat fans were flowing to the exits. One the game was knotted up, even more headed for the exits during overtime. It was one of the most shamefully poor displays of fanhood I have ever seen. If you don’t care enough to stay and see who wins the game, then how can you consider yourself a fan? How do you think it feels for our players to see how little the “great” BBN cares about them? How do you think it affects their confidence or their play? I sure didn’t see any of the WKU fans in the stadium leaving. To be honest, their small contingent was louder than Kentucky’s quite often throughout the night. WKU beat UK on the field. Topper fans beat us in the stands.