The most intriguing part of the modern college sports experience is fan-base psychology.
Dejection and despair pervades the Kingdom of the Blue after Kentucky football's back-to-back losses at Florida and Mississippi.
And I get that — up to a point.
For a fan base that has had its heart broken more often and more achingly than Jennifer Aniston, it's understandable that the emotional default position is one of fragility and impending doom.
Still, as President Obama might say, buck up, folks.
Before the season, almost any reasonable prognosticator had UK 3-2 after its first five games.
Kentucky is currently 3-2.
So fulfilling the role of the traditional print media — finding the positives amid widespread public gloom — here are five reasons to feel good about the rest of the UK football season.
1. Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb. This is the last year you will have to watch one of the great one-two punches in UK history playing together.
Senior Locke, the feisty little back with the sprinter's speed, is second in the SEC in rushing (108.6 yards a game) and first in all-purpose yards (181.4).
An NFL draft-eligible junior, jack-of-all-trades Cobb has already accounted for touchdowns four different ways this season — rushing, throwing, receiving, punt returning. And he even threw a touchdown pass off a fake field goal.
Whatever the ultimate outcome of the Kentucky football season, you're cheating yourself as a fan if you don't make a point of savoring the moments you have left with this dynamic duo.
2. Mike Hartline is having a good year. Poor Hartline. At Ole Miss, he had his first 300-yard passing game and led the Kentucky offense to 35 points in an SEC road game.
Of course, the "Hartline haters" segment of the UK fan base were calling for the quarterback to be benched.
Hartline isn't Tim Couch. He has thrown costly picks in each of the last two games. His passes don't always lead receivers in ways that would make big gains happen.
With all that, the veteran Kentucky quarterback is second in the SEC (244.4) in passing yards a game. He doesn't take sacks (only two in five games). Hartline has made good plays with frequency this season while on the move.
Of course, poor Hartline could cure cancer and some UK fans — who are never going to let changing facts alter their previously formed opinions — would demand his head because he hadn't solved autism.
3. Craig McIntosh. Call it Ortmayer's revenge (in honor of the deposed Rich Brooks-era special teams coach), but UK's kicking game and coverage units have been anything but special so far in 2010.
However, McIntosh boomed field goals from 50 and 42 yards out at Mississippi. Suddenly, the early-season bugaboo that had been place-kicking started looking like a strength thanks to a walk-on from Lexington Christian.
If the Cats can get that facet shored up, isn't there hope they can get the rest of the special teams straightened out, too?
4. Kentucky's red zone defense. It's been perfect so far — opponents have dented the UK 20-yard line 16 times and they have scored 16 times (13 touchdowns and three field goals).
That's not very good.
I will note again that all you had to do is look at the quality of the defensive personnel Kentucky has lost over the past two seasons to know that this year's D was likely to take a step back.
Still, law of averages suggests that Kentucky will get a red-zone stop at some point this season.
Who is to say that won't lead to a season-defining victory?
5. Joker Phillips can still do what he needs to do in his first year as head coach. Coming into 2010, the rational hope for Phillips was to win the first game (over archrival Louisville), win the last game (against an unusually vulnerable Tennessee) and extend Kentucky's bowl streak to five years in a row.
Joker has already beaten U of L and nothing that's happened so far precludes achieving the other two.
At some point, the Cats need to take the proverbial next step up the ladder by winning eight regular-season games.
Yet even if the Ole Miss loss suggests that 2010 is not the year that is apt to happen, there would be nothing wrong with a UK football campaign that featured wins over The Ville, The Rocky Toppers and a trip to a bowl.
Don't you feel better now?