LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – This is The End on the local college football scene, at least the regular-season edition part of it for Kentucky, Indiana and Western Kentucky.
First impressions are essential. But these three programs need a Norman Rockwell farewell snapshot. This goodbye impression is the one you'll either share with recruits – or hide from recruits. Your call.
But here are Ten Reasons that Kentucky, Indiana and Western Kentucky all need to end their disappointing runs with victories.
1. The history on the Kentucky side of the Tennessee rivalry is one of looking for somebody able to turn this rivalry into a K-ompetetion. The last eight Kentucky head football coaches, starting with John Ray and ending with Joker Phillips, all failed to win their first meeting against Tennessee. That's not a rivalry. That's a request to shine the Volunteers' cleats.
Scroll the microfilm back to the days when Louisville had PM and AM newspapers. You'll discover that in 1962 Charlie Bradshaw introduced himself to the rivalry by beating the Vols, 12-10. Another round of applause for Charlie. That was a 2-5-2 Kentucky team that squeezed the Orange.
2. Blame it on Bear Bryant. He played eight games against the Vols at UK. He won one. He tied two. Bear's UK teams were shut out four times. For the record, this was Bear Bryant's performance against Tennessee: 1-5-2. No wonder he left down. I'm surprised he didn't leave sooner.
And you wonder why beating the Vols was elusive for Bill Curry.
3. Kevin Wilson arrived in Bloomington in possession of the Old Oaken Bucket. Bill Lynch kept it in town for him before he was dismissed. Danny Hope took it back to West Lafayette – not that the Old Oaken Bucket is enough to save a job in Purdue.
People haven't seen it as often in Bloomington. It causes a bigger stir. Wilson needs to win it -- and then carry it around campus like the Stanley Cup.
4. The Hoosiers are favored by 20. According to Phil Steele.com, Indiana has not been favored by 20 in a Big Ten league game in at least two decades. I'm not making it up.
5. WKU needs to win to improve its record to 8-4 and take a firmer step toward securing a bowl game. The Toppers live in a world where they wait for better bowl bids to trickle down to them because other leagues cannot fill their quotas. Better to have eight wins on the resume. Just in case.
6. Petrino needs to win eight because everybody expected him to win eight. The celebration at WKU when Petrino was hired was the celebration you expected for a guy who was going to win eight, nine, 10, 11 or 12 games. Now Petrino can only get to eight – and a bowl. Better get on it.
7. Kentucky has never gone 0-8 in league play in back-to-back seasons. It hasn't happened to any SEC program since Vandy followed one clunker with another 11 seasons ago. That's not a nugget you want negative recruiters to get hold of. And Kentucky's only win against an FBS program came against winless Miami (Ohio).
8. Kevin Wilson won once during his first season at IU. He won four games last season. A victory against Purdue would push the Hoosiers to five wins. It's not the six-victory season everybody was projecting. But it's better than running in place. But not much.
9. Some guys just aren't eight-win coaches. Bobby Petrino is one of those guys. If he can't get to 8-4, there's no reason to add the results to his resume. Pretend that it didn't happen. Only once in his career has Petrino failed to win eight -- unless you count Atlanta.
10. This is farewell. From now until national signing day, we're only going to be talking hoops here, with the exception of Louisville's trip to Cincinnati Thursday as well as the Cards' bowl game. This is your last shot at a headline. Give us something to talk about.