Let's take a little Southeastern Conference football quiz:
Question One: Name the only SEC teams that have played in four straight bowl games?
Answers: The usual suspects — Florida, Georgia, Louisiana State and Alabama.
Oh, and (insert drum roll) Kentucky.
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Question Two: Name the only SEC teams that have had four straight winning seasons?
Answers: Florida, Georgia, LSU and (what are the odds?) Kentucky.
(Bama lost its bowl and finished 6-7 in 2006).
As we inch closer to Joker Phillips' debut season as UK head football coach, it seems an appropriate time to assess the standing of the Kentucky program and the path it has to take if it is to continue its upward momentum.
After decades of being clearly stuck on the SEC's bottom rung, Kentucky in the final four seasons of the Rich Brooks regime has made a serious bid to climb into the conference's middle tier.
UK is 30-22 overall since 2006. That ranks eighth of the 12 SEC schools.
Kentucky is ahead of South Carolina (28-23 since '06) and is one game behind Arkansas and Tennessee (both 31-21) over the past four seasons.
In conference games only, Kentucky is 12-20 since 2006. That stands ninth, one game behind South Carolina (13-19).
You don't need an MIT Ph.D to look at the next batch of numbers and identify what is holding back Wildcats football.
Since 2006, Kentucky is 18-2 against non-conference foes.
UK is 7-5 against teams from the SEC West. It has had a winning record against West teams three times in the last four years. In this time span, the Cats have beaten every team in the West except Alabama.
However, over the same four-year period, Kentucky is 5-15 against the SEC East.
It has three wins over Vanderbilt, two over Georgia and is zero-for the rest of the East.
If Phillips is going to continue Kentucky football's upward climb, this is what has to change.
The single most frustrating factor of the Blue uptick these past four seasons has been the Cats inability to beat South Carolina and Tennessee (Kentucky hasn't beaten Florida, either, but that's pretty understandable).
If Kentucky had just gone 2-2 against UT and the coach formerly known as Steve Superior since 2006, think of the difference it would have made in the perception of UK football.
There is a school of thought among some of The Long-Suffering UK Football Fans that Kentucky's recent stretch of (relative) pigskin success is primarily a function of soft non-conference scheduling and the dawn of the 12-game schedule.
There's no question both factors have helped the Cats pad the bottom line.
But Kentucky has gotten incrementally better inside the SEC, too.
Its winning percentage (37.5) in league games only over the last four seasons is better than during the Hal Mumme uptick (31.3 from 1997-2000).
It's also higher than during the four best years of Jerry Claiborne's coaching tenure (33.0 from 1983-86).
As Phillips envisions taking another step forward (we did mention Kentucky needs to start beating South Carolina and Tennessee, right?), he also has to keep an eye on UK's rear-view mirror.
Three straight victories over rival Louisville have been crucial to Kentucky's recent improvement.
The Cardinals figure to be considerably stronger in coming years under new head coach Charlie Strong, the former Florida defensive coordinator, than they were in the ill-fated Steve Krag thorpe era.
As UK's permanent opponent from the SEC West, Mississippi State is a team Kentucky needs to have the upper hand against.
The Cats are only 2-2 against the Bulldogs in the last four years (both losses being damaging defeats in Commonwealth Stadium).
Former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen got very good reviews last season in his first year as State head coach and seems a good bet to build a stronger program in Starkville than we've seen since Jackie Sherrill took the Dogs to six bowls between 1991 and 2000.
When you are Kentucky football, the dreaded "slipping back" is always a real and present danger.
Still, the numbers show that over the past four seasons, Kentucky is closer to exiting the bottom and moving into the middle tier of SEC football than it has been for decades.
Keeping that process going is job one for Joker.