What's Next for Kentucky: A Tough Road Ahead as Joker Phillips Faces the Heat

Yeah, it's doesn't look good.

A look at the road ahead for the SEC's most hapless teams

Is there any chance for Joker Phillips to come back? Maybe. After all, Phillips has become something of a streak-breaker at Kentucky, snapping long-running skids against South Carolina and Tennessee. And there's a major game coming up this weekend against Florida, which has its own epic run against the Wildcats.

Short of that, though, it's going to be hard for Phillips to meet the standard that he and Rich Brooks have set in recent years. He's gotten good at breaking losing streaks, but the end of the bowl-bound streak for Kentucky might be the biggest issue Phillips faces.

Remaining schedule: at Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State, at Arkansas, Georgia, at Missouri, Vanderbilt, Samford, Tennessee

What's wrong: The rushing defense is allowing 188 yards per game, despite the fact that Kentucky has spent most of the year at least in contention for a win against their opponents. Their passing defense isn't much better, with the result that the Wildcats have trouble stopping teams from moving the ball pretty much how much they want in the manner they want. And the rushing offense is generating just 106 yards a game; the leading rusher is averaging just 34.3 yards per game.

Rays of hope: Maxwell Smith has actually turned out to be a pretty decent passer; his 135.26 rating isn't half-bad, and the 322 yard-per-game average for UK as a whole is the best in the SEC. The offensive line has also managed to keep the quarterbacks standing upright despite the fact that the Wildcats are tossing it around a fair amount.

Prognosis: That's a brutal schedule on tap for Kentucky. The next three games are all uphill battles and the trip to Arkansas is no sure thing. It might be success for the Wildcats to get a win -- any win -- before Samford comes to town Nov. 17. Of course, that would make it highly unlikely that Joker Phillips will be gainfully employed by that time -- even if he's still technically the head coach, the clock will likely already be running.

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