Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/15/14

The first domino in the 2012-2013 coaching carousel fell on Sunday, when Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced that football coach Joker Phillips had been fired. Barnhart wrote an open letter to Kentucky fans, which said in part: 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. As the letter indicates, Phillips will be allowed to coach the remainder of the 2012 season. He currently has 12-23 record at the school, is just 4-19 in SEC play, and as things stand, the Wildcats sit at an abysmal 1-9 in the 2012 season, and 0-7 in SEC play. Speaking of the 2012 season, it has been a disappointing one in every manner for Phillips, who was already on the hot seat after last year’s 4-8 finish. Many believe if Phillips hadn’t beaten Tennessee (for the first time since 1986) to close the season, he may have been let go at that time. Still, there is little excuse for what has happened on the field this year, and little patience for this season’s 1-9 record. Included in those losses is an 0-7 record in SEC play, a stunning 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky in September, and a season-opening defeat to Louisville, Kentucky’s cross-state rival, which is now 10-0 on the season. And in the end, Kentucky’s 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday might have been the final nail in the coffin for Phillips. Understand its one thing to lose big to SEC powers like Florida and Georgia, but quite another to lose to a club which was just 4-4 entering Saturday’s game. That loss came just a week after Missouri notched its first SEC win over the Wildcats as well. What will be interesting now, is to see what kind of candidates Kentucky looks at to fill this job, and in turn, who might be interested in taking it. Playing in the SEC, with a limited recruiting local recruiting base and at a school whose emphasis is on basketball, makes it one of the toughest gigs in college football. It seems almost certain that Kentucky will at least inquire with some of the big names on the coaching market, including Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino (which would be an ironic hire, if only because Petrino once coached at Louisville) and maybe even current Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes. However, one name to keep an eye on might be Willie Taggart, the man who may have expedited Phillips’ downfall as the head coach at Western Kentucky. Taggart’s Hilltoppers beat Kentucky 32-31 in overtime in September which was one of the seminal losses of the Phillips’ era. As things stand, Taggart has Western Kentucky at 6-3 this season and have won 13 of 17 dating back to last year. Kentucky is entering a bye week this Saturday, before closing out with Samford at home November 17, and a rivalry game at Tennessee on November 24. For all his opinion, insight and analysis on college football, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Malcolm Jenkins on McCoy trade: Could've gotten more

Does Romo restructure pave the way for Peterson?

Todd Gurley: 2015 NFL Draft Profile

Colts' Robert Mathis hopes to be back by training camp

LeBron thought Kyrie was a ballhog when season started

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Muhammad Ali rooting for a Pacquiao win over Mayweather

Report: Cowboys to restructure Tony Romo's contract

Blake Griffin frustrated with lack of fan support at home

Eli Manning expects Giants' offense to take off in 2015

Bruce Irvin apologizes for DUI April Fools' joke

Report: LeBron James calls plays, David Blatt repeats them

Auriemma blasts men’s college basketball: ‘The game is a joke’

Westbrook: I'm not Angry Man off the court, I'm a chill guy

Fourth man sentenced in 2007 killing of Sean Taylor

Players who could have their arbitration years bought out

Rookie of the Year: Should there be a winner?

What's next for the Phoenix Suns?

Aaron Rodgers to appear on celebrity version of 'Jeopardy!'

Dark horse Cy Young candidates

Final Four fact or fiction

Five worst situations at quarterback in NFL

Young sportswriter behind Cam Newton column speaks out

Tom Brady posts Photoshop as April Fools' joke on Facebook

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dark horse Cy Young candidates

Final Four fact or fiction

Why WrestleMania 31 was an all-time great

Five worst QB situations in NFL

WATCH: Curry drops CP3 with crossover

Durant wants to spend career in OKC

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.