Today isn't about the Tennessee Volunteers. It is about Joker Phillips and the Kentucky Wildcats. If the Cats come ready to play and put together 60 minutes of decent football, they win and end the streak. They don't need to play perfectly, or even great, for the entire game. But they have to show up when the bell rings and avoid first half disaster. It is that cut and dried.
Sounds easy enough, but as Lee Corso might say, "Not so fast, my friend". Truth is, through 11 games of the Phillips era the Cats have proven totally incapable of showing up to play. And the more important the game, the less ready to play they've been. It isn't just missed tackles, no pass rush and fumbles. It is blown assignments, false starts and not getting lined up correctly. In short, it are things that relate to effort and discipline. Which means they relate to coaching.
Kentucky exercised some demons with a huge (and quite fortunate) win over South Carolina. We could exercise a lot more today. This season could still end with four straight wins, two big streaks ending, and another nice bowl trophy. But if we don't win today, one big takeaway from 2010 will be my fear that Joker Phillips teams don't answer the bell.
Play hard and smart for 60 minutes. Win. Don't, and we'll be waiting at least another year.