Monday, July 11, 2011

Joker Phillips 2.0: The Upgrade

Let's hope Joker was listening to some winning advice here.

Despite what happens with the NFL lockout (it will be resolved, it's a billion dollar industry) the NCAA college football season will go on without a hitch. Training camp is right around the corner and that means that Joker Phillips will be getting the Football Boys in Blue ready for his second year as the head man in charge.

Joker kicked off his tenure with the title "Operation Win". Operation Win turned into Operation Same Ole, Same Ole. The Cats went a familiar 6-6 in the regular season and then lost a third tier bowl game to a third tier coachless Big (L)East team. They ran through the non-conference schedule unscathed only to go 2-6 in the SEC.

The two wins were against then #10 South Carolina and whipping boy Vanderbilt. There were a couple of head scratching losses to teams that UK seemed to be superior to against Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee. The Cats even went down to the wire with eventual national champion Auburn, only losing by 3, showing that at times they could be better than their final record indicated.

This year Joker Phillips faces the challenge of taking the Cats to "the next level", soemthing that I have been waiting for since Andre Woodson and company wowed us 4 seasons ago. The next level for the Cats is to win 8 regular season games and then win a prestigious bowl game on top of that. As it is every year, this is a tall order to fill. The Cats will face their usual SEC East foes as well as LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State during conference play. Never an easy task. The cake non-con schedule (including Louisville) will give the Cats 4 wins, leaving them with the task of getting 4 wins in the SEC.

For Joker to get comfy in his coaching chair his team has to produce this year. If not, then you can count on year 3 being the deciding year. The decision will be whether or not Joker is allowed to come back for a fourth year at the helm.

Joker needs to upgrade this year and has to be, in my opinion, two games better to secure his job status. I, along with other football fans, have had our fill of Music City, Compass and Liberty Bowls. We want a biggie. Like Peach or Gator Bowl big. I'm not going BCS big. That's just too much to ask right now.

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