Our weekly college football shame index.
The Weekend in Shame
Vanderbilt 40, Kentucky 0: The requirements for keeping your job at Kentucky cannot be much more difficult than the directions on a frozen-dinner package, but they probably include "don't get shut out at home for the first time in almost 20 years," and that alone may explain why Joker Phillips now joins the list of Coaches Who Don't Have A Job Even Though Frank Spaziani Still Does. Vanderbilt rolled up nearly 300 yards before halftime on the way to hitting 40 points in a conference game for the first time since 2005. It helped that the Commodores, who had only converted 11 third-down chances on the road this year, left Lexington with that total doubled after going 11 for 17.
Phillips is survived by an offense that ranks 121st in yards per passing attempt and points per game, a defense ranked 110th in touchdowns allowed and 123rd in opponent completion percentage, and three different players on the roster named Cody. He'll have one last shot to avoid Kentucky's first winless conference season since 2000 when the Wildcats head to Knoxville in two weeks to take on Derek Dooley's volunteers, which is the football equivalent of a corpse kickboxing a slightly fresher corpse.
But let's remember the good times under Joker—the 2010 win over a hyperirritated Steve Spurrier, last year's victory over Tennesseewith a wide receiver at quarterback, and, of course, the time Morgan Newton sacked himself.
Indiana 24, Iowa 21: Because football is so fundamentally a team endeavor in a way that, say, baseball or hunting other people for sport are not, the blame for a failed season has to be spread evenly. It took failure by 11 starters and multiple subs on defense for Indiana's Cameron Coffman to become the first quarterback to throw for 300 yards against the Hawkeyes since the 2010 Insight Bowl. You can't just point to one running back's performance to explain why Iowa joins UMass as the only teams the Hoosiers have held under 100 yards rushing this year.
But if you really wanted to, you could compare 2012 James Vandenberg to 2011 James Vandenberg. (Note: Please consult with your doctor to confirm that 2012 James Vandenberg is not for you.) Last year, Iowa's quarterback threw for 250 yards in five games and had multiple passing touchdowns in nine. He hasn't accomplished either feat through nine games this year. There are 14 players in the Big Ten with more touchdowns thrown than Vandenberg, including three who play for Minnesota. This is not, however, due to a lack of opportunity—Vandenberg is third in the conference in passing attempts. The problem lies elsewhere. One out of every 16 passes James Vandenberg threw in 2011 resulted in a touchdown. In 2012, it's down to one out of every 75.
The Hawkeyes now have to win two out of their last three to avoid finishing the regular season below .500 for the first time since 2000. You know what to do, Greg Davis: Let James Vandenberg throw 300 passes a game and bask in the warm lava of your erupting pointscano.
UAB 27, Southern Miss 19: Southern Mississippi has lost to some good teams this year—Nebraska, Western Kentucky, Louisville, Boise State. Then the Golden Eagles got doubled up by Marshall. They followed that with a 37-point loss to Rice. And this week, as if to prove that sometimes things really do have to get worse before they get better, UAB outscored Southern Miss 27-3 in the second half to overcome a two-score halftime deficit.
That's the same UAB team that had beaten only Southeastern Louisiana this year. The same UAB team that hadn't held an FBS opponent under 300 yards of offense in 25 straight games before Southern Miss put up only 295. The same UAB that had seen only two players run for 200 yards in a game in the last seven years until Darrin Reaves became the third. (It is also the same UAB team with a mere 14 wins over the last four seasons—four of which wins have come against the Golden Eagles.)
USM has three games left but has already tied the 1976 team for most losses in a season. The remaining opponents are 4-5 SMU, 2-7 UTEP, and 1-8 Memphis. They have to win one of these, right? You can't lose to Memphis and Rice and still get to field a team, can you?
Elsewhere in Shame
Hats off to Connecticut, which took advantage of a South Florida defense averaging over four touchdowns allowed in its last five games by putting up a whopping six points. That makes four games in a row in which the Huskies haven't been able to score more than 14, the longest streak since the team made the move to Division I-A. It's not too late to go back, UConn. It's never too late to go back.
Sure, 393 passing yards was a lot for Tennessee to allow Troy QB Corey Robinson. But look on the bright side—it's only the fourth-highest single-game total for Robinson, which means he doesn't join Connor Shaw, Jeff Driskel, AJ McCarron, and Tyler Russell in the American Association Of Quarterbacks Who Threw For More Yards Against The 2012 Volunteers Than Anyone Else They'd Ever Faced (AAOQWTFMYAT2012VTAETEF).
Virginia Tech had its third game this year with a turnover margin of minus three or worse after tallying only two such games in the seasons spanning 2007-2011. In a related story, Logan Thomas is tall and muscular and a terrible quarterback, which gives him two things in common with actor John Larroquette, who has an absolute cannon for a right arm.
For the first time in 34 games, Arizona failed to throw for 200 yards as UCLA found the key to shutting down the Wildcat offensive attack: hastily applied blackface.
The Week Ahead in Shame
Wake Forest-North Carolina State promises to be an ACC slugfest so engaging you'll barely notice you've changed the channel to an airing of National Treasure in Spanish.
Georgia travels to Auburn needing a win to secure a berth in the SEC championship game, because the toughest thing about Georgia's schedule this year is reading it in six-point typeface. Anyone expecting a competitive game may be better served by watching a baby try to eat yogurt using only its hands.
Utah has a late kickoff against Washington with major Maaco Bowl implications, which are not, in fact, one of the symptoms of gout.
Celebrity Hot Tub is a college football fan who lost the ability to truly love thanks to three years of Florida head coach Ron Zook. He writes for Every Day Should Be Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @celebrityhottub.