Pity Kentucky. Between the basketball game and a discouraging effort in the BBVA Compass Bowl, it hasn't been the kind of day any fan base wants to have. But what happened in Birmingham might be slightly more unsettling, and for a surprising reason: The Wildcats have just finished up their first losing season since 2005.
Neither Pittsburgh nor Kentucky did that much to impress a neutral observer Saturday, though you could argue that it was somewhat surprising that the Panthers were able to find the energy to play after a disastrous month. But Kentucky had five drives break down in Pittsburgh territory during the game, either on a fumble, turnover on downs (twice) or a missed field goal. The team that knows who its coach will be in a week was the one that made mistake after mistake.
And that head coach was a part of the problem. Joker Phillips suddenly decided to try to be Les Miles, and the Wildcats went one-of-four on fourth down conversions -- including one failed attempt at the Kentucky 34, setting up an easy Pittsburgh touchdown.
There's no reason for Kentucky fans to panic after one loss, and there were some promising signs. Morgan Newton showed flashes of brilliance and didn't have a bad day. And then, well ...
But there's no question that the loss is not how you want to begin a new era at Kentucky. One game does not mean that the "old Kentucky" is back. But it also doesn't instill a lot of confidence that it's gone for good.