Starting 11: Poor Kentucky Fans Edition

I was at a wedding in Chicago on Saturday night as the Florida-Kentucky game came to a close. The maid of honor and best man were in the middle of their speeches and a group of eight Vandy Law grads were gathered around a single phone watching the game stream down its final seconds. (The groom went to a Big Ten school so he didn’t know any better when it came to fall weddings).
Two of the eight Vandy lawyers watching the phone had done their undergrad at the University of Kentucky. One of those Kentucky fans said if the Wildcats finally beat Kentucky for the first time in thirty years he was tempted to run upstairs and grab one of the Vincent Van Gogh paintings off the wall and put his head through it in celebration. (We were at the Art Institute of Chicago so there were Van Gogh’s present, although we didn’t have access to them once the alcohol started to flow. Which is probably for the best given how the game ended.)
This was, at long last, the Kentucky Wildcats chance to beat the Florida Gators for the first time since both guys were eight years old.
Now approaching forty years old, victory was so close they could taste it.
My wife kept shushing us all as they groaned in agony as the Cats didn’t cover the wide receiver and Florida scored a go ahead touchdown to go up 28-27 with under a minute to play.
But being Kentucky Wildcat fans they’re an optimistic group.
Having said that, I thought we were seriously going to have to tranquilize both guys when officials called holding on Kentucky on a play that would have set the Wildcats up for a chipshot field goal.
Instead the Gators escaped, strike up Gator Bait for the band, it was 31 in a row.
“I’m not going to sleep for a week,” said one of the UK grads.
And I think he meant it.
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Okay, here we go with the Starting 11:
1. My playoff top four if the season were ending today. 
1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Oklahoma
4. TCU
2. What a tremendous win for TCU at Oklahoma State.
This is the biggest upset of the year so far in college football.
Now if TCU can split road games at Oklahoma and Kansas State then the Horned Frogs will likely advance to the Big 12 title game where they would have a rematch for a chance to advance to the playoff.
I didn’t hear anyone predicting this win anywhere.
What an incredible performance by TCU.
Gary Patterson is now 153-54 at TCU. That’s nearly identical to Phil Fulmer’s 152-52 record at Tennessee.
Could someone ever pry him away from TCU or is he there to stay?
3. Alabama beat Vanderbilt like they were a high school team.
Who was that idiot who said take Vandy +19 and the under?
Oh, it was me. I really am an idiot for believing Vandy could keep this game close. There’s no way Vandy should be allowed back on CBS for five years after this performance.
This is the most physically dominant I have ever seen a Nick Saban team look against an SEC opponent.
There was nothing fancy about this game plan, they just lined up and ran the ball right down Vandy’s throat.
How bad was it for Vandy? Bama outgained the Commodores 677 yards to 78.
Bama outgained Vandy by 599 yards!
38 first downs to 3!
Bama ran the ball 66 times and averaged 7.5 yards a carry!
Vandy ran it 40 times for 16 yards.
I’ve never seen an SEC box score like this before.
The result? I don’t think I can bet against Alabama the rest of the season in the SEC. Seriously, if they play like this I’m not sure any team can stay within three touchdowns of them.
4. USC remains unstable and I think they lose on Friday to Washington State. 
The Trojans were outgained by California and only won by ten despite the fact that the Golden Bears had SIX turnovers.
Now that we’re a third of the way through the college football season — seriously, can you believe we’re a third of the way through the season already? — which is the best team in the Pac 12.
Are Washington and Washington State both for real in the Pac 12 North?
I think so, which is why I’m picking Washington State to spring the upset on Friday night.
5. The ACC is getting very interesting.
It’s still possible that Clemson rolls through the entire ACC with no issues and is the league’s representative in the playoff this year, but with Virginia Tech undefeated overall and N.C. State undefeated in the ACC, there’s still quite a bit of work for Clemson to do before Dabo’s boys roll into the playoff for the third straight year.
Vegas certainly believes in Clemson, the Tigers opened as a full touchdown road favorite at Virginia Tech. And after the way they looked against Louisville I’m not touching this game.
6. Penn State and Michigan survive with tough road wins.
In the playoff era what matters isn’t how you win, it’s simply whether you win or not. Just like in the NCAA tournament nobody remembers the score in round one if you make the Final Four, by the time the playoff teams are selected no one will remember how fortunate Penn State was to win on the road at Iowa or that Michigan trailed midway through the third quarter against Purdue.
Just win, baby.
And both Penn State and Michigan won. But in watching both teams play and looking at their stats through four weeks, is it possible that Ohio State is still better than both teams? I think it definitely is. Which is why I think there’s a decent chance we end up in another three way tie in the Big Ten East — Ohio State beats Penn State, Penn State beats Michigan, and Michigan beats Ohio State. Then all three teams finish with identical round robin losses. (The complicating factor here is Michigan’s game at Wisconsin, which renders the Wolverine schedule quite a bit tougher than either Ohio State or Penn State’s schedule.)
Essentially the more I watch the Big Ten teams in the east play, the more certain I become that no one is going to be undefeated from the Big Ten East this year.
So get ready for another mess here.
7. How in the world did Kentucky choke away that game against Florida?
I know, I know, the easy answer is because they’re Kentucky, but that was a brutal way to lose. Up 13 points and you give away the game and allow an undefended receiver to catch the winning touchdown with under a minute to play?
I swear, Jim McElwain is the new Les Miles.
You can make a very strong case that Florida should be 0-3 right now. Instead McElwain keeps Les Miles’ing it and coming up with wins.
How does not one single player on Kentucky’s defense notice the Florida wide receiver lined up — raising his hand — with NO ONE COVERING HIM?
I know much of the blame here deservedly goes on the coaching staff on the final defensive series, but shouldn’t at least one player look at the defensive formation and see this issue?
Also, that holding call, really?
Does Bama get that called against them? I don’t think so.
8. Texas A&M keeps finding inventive ways to break Arkansas’s heart.
Kevin Sumlin lives to coach anew — the Aggies should beat South Carolina and then lose to Alabama — making them 4-2 when they head on the road to play the Gators.
And who knows what might happen in that game.
Bret Bielema is now 10-23 in the SEC, 26-28 overall in his fifth year with the Razorbacks.
As much heat as Butch Jones and Kevin Sumlin are under, both Jones and Sumlin are orders of magnitude more successful at their jobs than Bielema has been at his.
Think about this — Sumlin is 47-22, 22-19 in the SEC and Butch Jones is 33-22, 14-19 in the SEC. How bad has Bielema been? Butch Jones is seven games better!
In my opinion both Butch Jones and Bret Bielema should be on infinitely hotter seats than Sumlin.
9. What in the world is going on with Tennessee and Butch Jones?
After a near disastrous 17-13 victory against a winless 28 point underdog UMASS team, Georgia is heading to Knoxville on Saturday for Butch Jones’s final stand. The Bulldogs are a seven point favorite in the game, but Butch’s teams have typically played their best games against Georgia.
All five games Butch Jones has coached against Georgia have been decided by a touchdown or less and he’s 2-3 against the Bulldogs.
But if Butch loses this game, and I think the Vols will lose, then I don’t see how he keeps his job.
Because you know Alabama is going to destroy Tennessee on October 21st and at that point Tennessee will be 4-3 and have lost to all three big rivals — Florida, Georgia and Alabama. With three losses in the SEC, two to east opponents, Butch will have failed to win the SEC East for the fifth straight year. And what reason for extreme optimism is there left in the season? He’d have toss up games at Kentucky and at home against Vanderbilt left, plus a home game against LSU. If he ran the table he could finish 9-3, but does anyone think Butch would run the table and win the final five games of the season after Tennessee lost to Alabama to fall to 4-3?
Don’t you have to go ahead and rip the band aid off at that point and make your run at Chip Kelly and Bob Stoops, two guys without jobs right now that presumably will get jobs in the offseason?
I think you do.
Here’s a crazy stat for you, in his final 55 games Phil Fulmer was 34-21 with two SEC East titles and Tennessee fired him for that. Butch Jones is 33-22 with no SEC East titles.
So Butch is actually worse right now in his 55 games at Tennessee than Phil Fulmer was in his final 55 games.
Granted, Butch started off 5-7 in his first year, but the trajectory looks very similar, except Butch hasn’t won the east and Fulmer won it twice, including the year before he was fired.
So why fire Butch before the season is complete?
Whichever program fires their coach first gets the opportunity to shoot their shot with Chip Kelly before anyone else does it.
Now, to be fair, if Tennessee beats Georgia then the SEC East remains wide open and Butch survives whatever awful beat down occurs in Tuscaloosa. And Tennessee would continue to have some flickering hope of winning the division.
But I just don’t see Butch being able to do better than 8-4 against this remaining schedule.
10. My Heisman Top Five is actually only a Heisman top two right now.
1. Baker Mayfield
2. Sam Darnold
Honestly, I don’t think there’s even anyone else on the list at this point.
11. Here are the Outkick SEC power rankings 1-14
All season long, the SEC power rankings are sponsored by Krystal. Krystal burgers are only 79 cents each all day, every day. And all wings – BBQ, Buffalo, Boneless or traditional – are only 49 cents each on Saturdays and Sundays during football season.
Krystal is hooking up the Outkick family again this season – text OUTKICK to ‘37793’ right now for some free Krystals and a soda. Enjoy!
Think about this, we’ve only played four weeks so far and only two SEC teams remain undefeated. That’s the fewest number of undefeated teams remaining in any of the five major conferences.
1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Auburn
4. Florida
5. Kentucky
6. Mississippi State
7. LSU
8. Vandy
9. Texas A&M
10. South Carolina
11. Tennessee
12. Ole Miss
13. Arkansas
14. Missouri

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.