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UK has a 1950 national championship trophy on display in its new football facility after Sagarin’s system named the Wildcats the best team of 1950 in his computer rankings in 1990.

If that’s the case, says Parilli, then give Bear Bryant seven national championships instead of only the six from Alabama.

Bryant and Parilli had a unique relationship during their days together at UK. Bryant didn’t have to worry about a Lane Kiffin like Nick Saban did because Parilli was the Bear’s on the field offensive coordinator.

“I called all the plays,” he said. “I used to play a game with him every day for three years on calling plays. We went over down and distance situations. We met every day during the school year.”

Parilli said Bear had him thinking like he wanted.

“I was brainwashed before I went in a game, every down and distance, I knew what to call,” he said.

In the Sugar Bowl win over Oklahoma, the Wildcats led 13 0 at halftime. “Bear Bryant came to me sand said ‘Don’t throw the ball. We’ll take care of them on defense.”’

The high powered Sooners scored only once in the second half and Kentucky held on for what still rates as the program’s biggest victory.

Parilli said the Kentucky defense “was the best I ever saw in college football.”

The Wildcats collected five shutouts and on punt opponents averaged less than a yard per return.

“Dom Fucci was our punter and he kicked a high ball with good hang time. Our average was three quarters of a yard (on returns),” he said. “Nobody every talks about that.”

Parilli threw between 25 to 30 passes a game in an era when most teams were running. “I can’t remember getting sacked in college,” he said.

Parilli said he only remembered being yelled at on the sideline by Bear one time.

Kentucky was the SEC champion having won five of six games. Tennessee was 4 1 including that day in Knoxville when it defeated UK in eight degree weather with four inches of snow on the ground.

“A terrible day to play,” Parilli said. “They had a good team but we were the better team. Just not in those conditions.”

The Wildcats had five shutouts and allowed only a touchdown in five other games.

Kentucky has played in three major bowls once each in the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls and Parilli started at quarterback in each game.

Parilli left UK having finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1950, then third in 1951.

He went on to play 15 years of professional football, before becoming a coach. Parilli moved to Denver in the 1970s when he was hired as a Broncos assistant.

In 1950, Parilli threw 23 touchdown passes and the following year, when Kentucky beat TCU in the Cotton Bowl, Parilli threw 19 TDs.

From the time Parilli left UK until Tim Couch threw for 37 touchdowns in Hal Mumme’s Air Raid in 1997, no Kentucky QB ever threw for more than 11 TDs (Rick Norton in 1965 and Bill Ransdell in 1984) in a season.

Parilli doesn’t worry about all that but he says Bryant’s national champioship total should be updated.
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