Joker Phillips Out At Kentucky; Butch Jones Watch 2012 Starting Early

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Its November. The leaves have turned, the weather is getting bitter, and Football coaches around the country know, more or less, who is getting fired. Joker Phillips is the first coach to fall, and he did so on his own sword the like noble Samurai Warriors he may, or may not look up to.

A Sea of Blue with the hammer stroke.

Inevitability. We know what that sounds like, too. We knew, and have known for some time, that Phillips would not be retained. Today, Mitch Barnhart announced that the inevitable had become the immediate.

With that "the silly season" as a certain coach once called it will begin. As ever Butch Jones will be a hot name in coaching circles. That happens when you win 16 of your last 21 games.

Coaching Search has an early list of candidates for the Kentucky job, and what do you know, Butch Jones is on it.

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In the next couple of weeks, you could see Sonny Dykes, Butch Jones, and John Chavis emerge as candidates.

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Butch Jones (Cincinnati - head coach): Jones (44) went 20-3 in the MAC during his three years as the Central Michigan head coach. He is currently in his third year at Cincinnati, where he holds a 20-13 overall record. The Bearcats won the Big East in 2011. Cincinnati is just over 80 miles from Lexington.

I understand why Jones's name would come up for the job. He is a young up and coming coach who has garnered near universal praise from his peers. On a surface level Kentucky is a solid job, and would make sense for Butch. UK has a large athletic department budget, over 80 million in 2011, probably closer to 90 this year. They play in the best conference in the country and, when they win, they have good fan support. And most of all, they pay well. Joker Phillips made 1.7 million* in 2011, and UK is capible of paying much more than that.

* For comparison's sake Butch Jones made a shade under 1.4 million last season, and has a base salary of 1.575 million this year.

But there is a caveat. Kentucky is beyond terrible at football right now. At this point UC is miles, and miles, (and miles), better than Kentucky. UK has more resources to throw around, but the simple fact remains that it is much easier to win, and win big, at Cincinnati than it probably ever will be at Kentucky. The Wildcats have won double digit games twice in 129 years of Football, and haven't done it since 1977. Its not an attractive job at all. That being said they are capible of making a god father offer if Barnhart ever decides that they want to be good at Football.

I would be beyond stunned if Butch Jones even considered the Kentucky job, for all the reasons listed. Above all that though, Butch has no ties to the Wildcats at all, nor does anyone on his staff. Its a geographic fit, but that's it. However, now is as good a time as any to mention that Butch Jones has one of the best agents in the game. If you look at the 10 coaches most likely to get fired none of them are a real threat to lure away Butch Jones. Still get prepared for four more game broadcasts filled with talk that he is going elsewhere. This is a rite of all Bearcat football fans every November.

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