By most accounts, Kentucky has thrown in the towel this season.
Trailing by 42 points during a dismal effort last week against Arkansas, the Wildcats were saved in the third quarter from the worst loss in the Joker Phillips era when officials called the game early. Tyler Wilson owned a depleted UK secondary with nearly 400 yards passing and five touchdowns while the Wildcats had mustered just six first downs.
In a way, the Razorbacks helped Georgia humiliate Kentucky as well. The Wildcats’ most lopsided defeat in recent years was a 51-point loss at South Carolina last season but that will be challenged this week under the lights at home against Mark Richt’s 11th-ranked Georgia.
If Kentucky can’t stop hapless Arkansas, how will they fare against an offense that’s twice as good?
Coming off a bye week with two weeks to lick their wounds from the embarrassing national spotlight loss to the Gamecocks, the Bulldogs want to prove they’re still contenders in the East and that’s not a good omen for a squad whose focused on playing out the stretch with rotating quarterbacks, a non-existent running game and a front seven that hasn’t generated a pass rush.
Backed by all-SEC caliber backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, often-criticized quarterback Aaron Murray will rebound with a huge effort from the pocket and have his usual 275-yard, three-touchdown outing against the SEC’s least. As career statistics show, Murray’s a Heisman candidate under center against non-ranked teams.
The expected whooping Saturday night will also be the final nail in Phillips’ coffin. However, he won’t be the only coach job hunting after the season. Auburn’s Gene Chizik could join the realm of departing coaches earlier in the day should the War Eagles have their wings clipped in Nashville. (Auburn’s an 8-point underdog. My how the mighty have fallen.) Derek Dooley’s seat at Tennessee is just as hot with top-ranked Alabama and seventh-ranked South Carolina looming the next two weeks.
By the time the Vols host Troy on Nov. 3, they’ll likely be 0-5 in the SEC.This was the year — with a healthy Tyler Bray — Tennessee was supposed to challenge for the top spot in the East. Instead, the Vols need to win out in November against Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky to avoid rock bottom.