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October 31st, 2014

Kenny Payne says UK has no choice but to platoon on Sunday


Kenny Payne has no idea who will start in Kentucky’s first exhibition game this coming Sunday — he said that’s for Calipari to figure out — but he knows they will platoon. It’s the only option right now until a smaller group emerges from the rest.

“We don’t have a choice,” Coach Payne told reporters, when asked if UK will platoon. “We’ve got 12 really good players. We got to find time for all of them, and they all deserve to play.”

He believes the entire team is still on board with platooning, for now, and he doesn’t expect it to change because they all have one goal in mind.

“I think everybody’s bought in. I think it was vital what we did in the Bahamas. It showed that it could work. And these guys are really at core about winning. And that’s important. So right now, everybody’s bought in. We don’t expect to have them not to buy in. We just gotta make it work, and it will. It will.”

Your AP No. 1 Wildcats will finally see another team on American soil on Sunday at 7:00 pm. Good luck to Pikeville in Rupp Arena.


Raises are coming for Stoops’ assistants too


You know what they say: It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none; therefore Mark Stoops and the athletic department are working on extensions for his assistants, too.

Stoops did not give a timetable on when he and his assistants will be throwing new racks in the club together, but he did confirm new deals are in negotiations. “Yes, they will be made,” he said.

How nice is it to see UK dumping money into the football program? If I had more time I would put Mitch Barnhart’s face over Kenny Powers:

The new football practice facility will break ground in January

Exterior Perspective - Practice Fields

No one loves construction more than the University of Kentucky and it plans to add more work to the campus at the first of the year. News broke today (tucked beneath all of the Mark Stoops talk) that UK will break ground on the new $45-million football practice facility in January. Mitch Barnhart said, “We’re good to go on the practice facility. We’ve got enough funds to move on, and I think we’re breaking ground sometime in January. So we’re moving on with that. We’ve got lots of plans for that. Got it pretty dialed down.”

Barnhart expects the entire project to be completed in time for full use in the spring of 2016.

Mark Stoops is now the sixth highest paid coach in the SEC


According to these numbers from Saturday Down South back in August, Mark Stoops jumped up from dead last to sixth in the conference pay scale with his new deal. Only Nick Saban, Kevin Sumlin, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier and Gus Malzahn are paid more, and all five of those guys are former SEC Coaches of the Year.

Stoops now makes an average of $3.225 million per season, just ahead of Bret Bielema and Mark Richt for the sixth biggest paycheck.


Saturday Down South

Meanwhile, Dan Mullen, head coach of the nation’s No. 1 team, takes over Stoops’ spot at the very bottom. (I hear Florida pays well, Dan.)

Mark Stoops’ New Contract Extension: What You Need To Know

Mark Zerof | US Presswire

Mark Zerof | US Presswire

Mark Stoops is set to be the head football coach at the University of Kentucky through the 2019 season after signing his second extension in six months earlier today. Mitch Barnhart said the new deal isn’t to reward Stoops for his five wins this season, but because the way things are headed under Stoops’ direction. “This is about the general trajectory and direction of our program,” said Barnhart. “That is what this is about.”

Stoops, who insists he has no interest in leaving Lexington any time soon, told reporters it was a short conversation before signing the new deal and he didn’t think twice about it. He feels the commitment from the university and its athletic department and he is equally committed in return. “We’re committed to each other.”

As for the actual deal, you can find every thing you need to know, short and simple, listed below:

— The deal has no buyout. Barnhart said he doesn’t believe in buyouts. He wants coaches who want to be at Kentucky.

— The compensation for his final season in the contract went from $2.65 million in 2018 to $4.25 million in 2019. The new guaranteed numbers look like this: $3.25 million, 2015; $3.5 million, 2016; $3.75 million, 2017; $4.0 million, 2018; $4.25 million, 2019.

— Stoops will earn a $250,000 bonus for every win past his sixth each season. So when he wins 10 games in 2015, Mrs. Stoops is getting a brand new car!

— He will earn $200,000 if UK wins the SEC Championship or plays in a BCS bowl. I will be getting a brand new car if either of those happen, on my own dime.

— He will earn another $200,000 if UK wins the National Championship. We will burn several cars, new and old, if that happens.

— Coach Cal thinks Mark Stoops is the perfect fit:


Mark Stoops: “I plan on being here for a long time.”


His name is being tossed around as a candidate for other jobs at season’s end, but Mark Stoops didn’t think twice before signing his new contract extension with the University of Kentucky. He met with the media before boarding the plane to Missouri this afternoon and spoke very highly of his relationship with Mitch Barnhart, the university, and his football program.

“We’re committed to each other,” said Stoops, several times. “I have the same commitment back to these kids and the program. It’s a great relationship and I plan on being here for a long time.”

He said the Stoops family was built on loyalty and he feels the loyalty here at Kentucky.

“I’m here, I’m happy to be the head coach and I’m looking forward to many more years,” he added. “I’m not interested in going anywhere.”

Now let’s go out there and clinch this bowl game.

Mark Stoops Press Conference LIVE

Mark Stoops gets another extension, less than six months after signing an extension

Mark Zerof | US Presswire

Mark Zerof | US Presswire

Get that money, Coach Stoops!

Not even six months after signing a contract extension, Mark Stoops has agreed to another contract extension that will keep him at Kentucky through 2019. Mitch Barnhart had this to say:

Mark is guiding our program in the direction we all want it to go and we are proud to reward that. I was confident Mark was right for this job when I hired him, but he has exceeded my expectations. From leading a group of young men to recruiting to fundraising, Mark has embraced and excelled in all facets of this job. I am excited about the progress our team has shown on the field, but this is as much about the next five years as it is the last 1.5. As I’ve said before, I believe we can compete at the highest level in the toughest conference. Coach Stoops is the coach to take us there.

He’s just getting started, bro.

Update: We will have a live press conference with Mark Stoops streaming on KSR at 2:00 pm. Cats.

If this isn’t the best UK video ever, it’s close

Thirty minutes is a long time to sit down and watch a YouTube video, but this one may be worth a half-hour of your life. It features, well, everything. It features literally everything from Calipari’s run at Kentucky, including shots from the haters and his best moments.

Watch it if you have time. If you don’t have time, save it for later, but watch it.

The AP Preseason Top 25 is out and CATS

The Associated Press released its Preseason Top 25 for the upcoming college basketball season and the No. 1 squad is none other than your University of Kentucky Wildcats, for the second year in a row. UK received 52 first place votes to earn the top spot over Arizona, Wisconsin, Duke and Kansas, in that order.

Arizona, you mad?


Missouri will wear this look when they lose to Kentucky tomorrow

Senior defensive lineman Matt Hoch explains why he likes the new Tiger look from Nike in the video below. “Those who win in November will be remembered,” he says. Prepare to be forgotten, sir.

Purdue is trying a unique new recruiting tactic

The ol’ empty envelope trick, Purdue’s new way of telling recruits they’re good enough for a 49-cent stamp but not quite worthy of a piece of paper with words on it. Who are we to say it won’t work?

Grab on to something, anything, because it’s time for KSR! (Friday Show Thread)

Louisville fans, we know you listen every morning, so tune on in today to hear a fun show that will certainly lift your spirits after last night’s collapse. Matt and Ryan will be teasing you about the loss while looking ahead to Kentucky’s win at Missouri tomorrow. They’ll preview the game and take calls from Big Blue Nation as we head into the weekend.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

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What better way to start a day than laughing at Louisville

It was going so well for the home team in Papa John’s Stadium last night, and then reality sank in, producing some of the best fan shots you’ll ever see. Let’s enjoy some of those as we start our Friday on the right foot, the foot that will forever laugh at Louisville’s misery.


And the star of the night: Mr. Two Cut-Offs in 40 degree weather…


BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Will Towles be Best QB in SEC in 2015?

I think it is WAY TOO EARLY to talk about Patrick Towles NFL abilities and if he will or will not ever play in the league.  Let us not forget that midway through the 2007 season Andre Woodson was a 1st round draft pick.  He had the size and accuracy.  He ended up a 6th round pick and never played a snap in the league.  Assuming Towles doesn’t leave after this year, which I think we all can admit in unlikely, he has at minimum a season and half of college football left.  With that said, it is not too early to look ahead to the college year next season and just where Towles might rank among potential SEC QB’s.

Below is how I would breakdown the 2015 SEC quarterback race as it stands now.  With each team listed, I have also any quarterback recruits they already have committed who are ranked a Top 25 QB by

There are 4 teams in the SEC who will be guaranteed to have a starter next year with no career starts.  Those 4 teams are:

Alabama- Jake Coker (Sr.): 0 career starts, Blake Barnett (#1 ranked QB)
Ole Miss- Ryan Buchanan (RS So): 0 career starts
Georgia- Faton Bauta (RS So.): 0 career starts
South Carolina- Connor Mitch (RS So.): 0 career starts, Lorenzo Nunez (#7 ranked QB)

You have to take those 4 teams out of the mix because nobody knows just how good their backup or recruits will be.  There are also 2 teams that will be replacing all-star quarterbacks next year with guys who have started because of injury but have fewer than 2 starts:

Auburn- Jeremy Johnson (Jr.): 2 career starts
Mississippi State- Damien Williams (Jr.): 1 career start, Chason Virgil (#17 ranked QB), Nick Tiano (#23 ranked QB)

OK, that is 6 of the 13 SEC schools that have basically no chance of coming into next season with a quarterback with the credentials Patrick Towles will have.  I also think there are another 4 teams with quaterbacks coming back who have shown nowhere near the potential or talent that Towles has and can’t be disputed:

Florida- Jeff Driskel (Sr.): 22 career starts OR Treon Harris (So.): o career starts, Sheriron Jones (#10 ranked QB)
LSU- Anthony Jennings (Jr.): 8 career starts
- Wade Freebeck (So.): 4 career starts OR Johnny McCrary (RS So.): 2 career starts
Tennessee- Joshua Dobbs: 4 career starts, Quentin Dormady (#14 ranked QB)

That leaves us with 4 options for best SEC quarterback coming into next year.  Here is how I would rank them based on what we have seen so far:

4. Missouri- Maty Mauk (Jr.): 12 career starts, Drew Lock (#6 ranked QB)

-I barely left Mauk on this list because he has been abysmal many times this season, but he showed flashes last year of being a legit QB.  In his 4 SEC starts last year, he threw 10 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions.  This season in his 4 SEC games, he has 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.  It’s all a matter of which Mauk you get, which will likely decide the outcome of this weekend’s game by the way.

3. Texas A&M- Kenny Hill (Jr.): 8 career starts, Kyler Murray (#3 ranked QB)

-Hill might actually drop off this list as Texas A&M has reopened it’s quarterback position.  4 weeks into the season Hill was a top Heisman candidate but the SEC schedule stiffened up and Hill’s game has declined.  Even still, he has four different games with 4 touchdown passes this season and when that offense is clicking, might be the best talent of the bunch.

2. Arkansas- Brandon Allen (Sr.): 20 career starts, Ty Storey (#5 ranked QB)

-Allen will be the only 3-year starter next year, assuming Driskel doesn’t hold on to the job at Florida.  It will be his 3rd year in the Beilema system and this year he has taken a large jump forward.  15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions this year.  Will likely be hindered some by a run-first offense, but I look for him to potentially lead Arkansas to a 7 or 8 win year next season.

1. Kentucky- Patrick Towles (RS Jr.): 9 career starts

-This might seem like a homer pick, but I think Towles has been the most consistent QB of the bunch.  Beyond the LSU game, he has been good or very good in every other game.  He now has a running capibility and has more pure tools than Allen.  Add in the fact that his ceiling seems higher having only started 9 games and I think next year Towles will be the best QB (coming into the season) in the SEC.