Kentucky Football Gets Head Start On 2012 Coaching Carousel And The Big Finish

Kevin C. Cox

This week, a 1-9 Kentucky football program made plenty of headlines while 2-7 Boston College was nothing more than Notre Dame's week 11 opponent. That's why you fire a coach with Spaz's track record now.

Jeff: Rumors are swirling about who Kentucky's next football coach is going to be. Bobby Petrino's father went out and said this week that his son would love to be the next coach of Kentucky and he wants to remain in the SEC. Some other names have been throw out there including Tommy Tuberville and David Cutcliffe, but I'm not trying to breakdown the Kentucky coaching search.

My point is Kentucky football has a coaching search going on right now. Midseason! A fairly big name coach will have inked with Kentucky prior to Spaz getting canned at the end of the season. So, let me ask you again, why is Spaz still the coach of Boston College football?

Brian: Why do you have to get me riled up here?

Let's start with Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart's press release:

After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season. I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach. Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard. I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.

The search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally. I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program. It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.

Respectfully, this is the exact statement Bates should have issued about Spaziani following Saturday's listless performance against a bad Wake Forest team. Last Monday was the time when Bates should have wished Spaz well and announced that the program will be making a coaching change at the end of this season. As with Phillips, keep Spaz on through the end of the year -- because is there anyone on the current staff you'd be comfortable turning the reins over to at this point? -- and start the coaching search immediately.

For one thing, making a move this week could have generated some buzz about the program and motivated the players not in Spaz's doghouse to "win one for coach." It would have also signaled the students, fans and alumni that mediocrity will not be tolerated and that change is coming.

Those reasons are secondary to what Barnhart has accomplished by firing Joker Phillips midseason. Firing Phillips midseason made headlines. The fact that Bobby Petrino is interested in the coaching position? Another headline. A lot of ink for 1-9 Kentucky, a program that is 9-30 in the SEC over the last five seasons.

Yes, Kentucky is in the SEC but UK is a basketball-first school with a historically below average football program. The Wildcats have to compete with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and now Missouri in the SEC East, not to mention whichever two SEC West teams wind up pounding UK each season.

We can debate whether Kentucky is a better head coaching position than Boston College, but the Eagles do benefit from being a football-first school in an extremely winnable BCS conference. However, what can't be debated is Barnhart's decision to can Phillips midseason has generated a lot of press and given Kentucky a first-mover advantage when it comes to hiring the school's next football head coach. I don't want Bobby Petrino to be the next BC head coach, but the fact that he's making public overtures to a program the calibre of Kentucky is precisely why Bates should have fired Spaz midseason (that is if he's even allowed to).

This week, a 1-9 Kentucky football program made plenty of headlines while 2-7 Boston College was nothing more than Notre Dame's week 11 opponent. That's why you fire a coach with Spaz's track record now.

Big Finish

Jeff: The Globe profiled Canadian freshman Olivier Hanlan in advance of this weekend's hoops season opener. What player are you most looking forward to seeing play on Sunday?

Brian: I'm looking forward to seeing what BC has in both Hanlan and Rahon, but I'm most interested in seeing how Dennis Clifford has improved over the offseason.

Brian: Meanwhile, the Herald profiles Patrick Heckmann. Are you expecting Heck to improve on his freshman season?

Jeff: If Heckmann stays healthy, he'll definitely build on last season's output.

Jeff: When Bates was asked how the department is preparing for tonight's game, he said the product has "to be better than our local movie theaters." If BC football was a movie that came out this year, what would it be?

Brian: Either The Dictator or Frankenweenie.

Brian: Sophomore DB Spenser Rositano has almost quietly notched three INTs, a forced fumble, three pass-breakups and 33 tackles in seven games this season. Does he have another takeaway in tonight's game?

Jeff: Doubt it, but you never know.

Jeff: Last one. If you were playing for Bill Romanowski would you be pumped up for the game or think he's crazy?

Brian: Crazy. Definitely crazy.

Pick 5

Jeff (4-1 last week, 23-27 overall):

Army Black Knights (+17.5) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Miami Hurricanes (+1) at Virginia Cavaliers
Northwestern Wildcats (+9.5) at Michigan Wolverines
Penn St. Nittany Lions at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-9)
Georgia Bulldogs (-15) at Auburn Tigers

Brian (3-2 last week, 25-25 overall):

Kent St. Golden Flashes (-6.5) at Miami (Ohio) RedHawks
Oregon St. Beavers (+4) at Stanford Cardinal
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide (-13.5)
Kansas St. Wildcats (-6.5) at TCU Horned Frogs
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Boston College Eagles (+19)

ATL (0-1 last week, making Spaz look good at 2-8 overall):

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