Kentucky Sports Radio

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August 27th, 2014

Blue Moon of Kentucky’s Tuesday News and Views

Part of our job at KSR is introducing the BBN to the best of Kentucky culture.  When hoping to find a song to trump “Teach me bout Kentucky” and “Big Blue Fan in the Morning” (Sorry Kentucky Joe), I found out that my young mind had much more to learn about the Blue Moon of Kentucky.

I first discovered the local music scene when I met a long-lost cousin at a family reunion that was a actually a pretty big deal.  Justin Paul Lewis has toured around the region and recently recorded an album with Lexington cellist Ben Sollee.  After watching one show, I was hooked.  Last month at Waterfront Wednesday in Louisville, Sollee invited Lewis and Louisville band Houndmouth to the stage to perform “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

Kentucky people making Kentucky music is a sight that will make you proud, but the song’s past has a prouder history.  Originally written by Bill Monroe in 1946 with the Bluegrass Boys (who would later branch off to be the Soggy Mountain Boys, inspiration to O Brother Where Art Thou‘s Soggy Bottom Boys), “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was side B of Elvis Presley’s first recorded single.  The song also touched pop culture in the 80s, with John Candy and Steve Martin singing a rendition in the iconic Planes, Trains and Automobiles.   It is the official bluegrass song of Kentucky.

Kentucky’s Blue Moon has shined in American pop culture throughout the decades and Kentuckians will ensure that it will keep on shinin’ til the rooster crows.

Kentuckians Ben Sollee, Justin Paul Lewis and Houndmouth perofrm "Blue Moon of Kentucky" to a crowded Waterfront Park. (Kory Johnson Photography)

Kentuckians Ben Sollee, Justin Paul Lewis and Houndmouth perofrm “Blue Moon of Kentucky” to a crowded Waterfront Park. (Photo by Kory Johnson Photography)

The football team is feeling good

There’s a lot more jokes being cracked after practice this year.  It helps when your team is starting to figure things out.  The offense had a great 2-minute drill to get the game week momentum going.  Wide receivers aren’t dropping passes like it’s hot, thanks to a tennis ball machine that pumps em out almost too fast.  Most importantly, the excitement of the preseason has tempered into game week preparations.

Neal Brown sounded comfortable with his young offense, a completely different story than last season, “I think we’re in a good place.  (It’s a) Simple game plan.  Go out and try to play fast, execute.  I’m excited to see how some of these guys — especially the guys that are going to make their first showing in Commonwealth — how they’re going to perform.”

Be thankful Bud is in Blue

In an interview with Larry Vaught, Bud revealed that he was VERY close to transferring after Joker Phillips asked Bud to switch from tight end to defense.  A highly touted defensive prospect, Bud turned down big name SEC schools so he could play offense at Kentucky.  When they asked him to switch, he called his mother and told her her was transferring.  Luckily the staff was willing to negotiate with Bud, “‘Can I get No. 2?’  So they gave me No. 2 and I was okay with it.  But it was getting the number that kept me here.”

Wildcats vs. Bearcats Coming Soon? 

We had heard earlier in the summer of rumblings with a game against Cincinnati.  It appears to be more than just rumblings with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tom Groeschen reporting that the two sides are officially meeting to discuss a home-and-home series.

Kentucky has already made Ohio a home for recruiting, why not call it home for one win?

If you haven’t had enough chances, you can help pick Commonwealth Stadium music

I think the people at UK heard our complaints about the music.  First you got the chance to pick when “My Ole Kentucky Home” was played, then it was the song before kickoff, now it’s the music during the game.  With options in rock, hip-hop, country and pop, there’s a choice for everyone.  Click here to cast your vote.

Anthony Davis leads Team USA in another blowout victory

The last of the World Cup warmups was a breeze for the Red, White, and Blue, cruising to a 101-71 win.  DeMarcus Cousins had a ferocious dunk, finishing with 6 points and 4 rebounds.  

Anthony Davis once again played the role of Captain America, scoring a team-high 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.  The Brow just makes basketball look easy. 

Cal tells Seth Greenburg that fate kept him at Kentucky

In a series of interviews during the Fantasy Camp, Calipari was once again asked about the Cavaliers’ job.  His response this time was better than any before:

“Fate intervened for me,” Calipari said. “Whatever happened after the season with any teams, at the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be. And you know a big part of it is we had four guys stay, and they didn’t have the chance to say ‘well if you leave, we’ll leave.’ No, you already made a decision to stay. So that weighed on me more than anything else.”

From the BBN, thank you “fate.”


Fearsome Foes: UT-Martin’s Tony Bell

Image Via bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com

You can’t get a clean look at him but that guy knocking the ball out of the hands of Boise State’s quarterback is none other than Tony Bell. The UT-Martin Skyhawks player that our own Mark Stoops compared to Bud Dupree. Here’s what Stoops had to say yesterday about the linebacker that will be coming to Lexington this Saturday:

“They have a great defensive player, No. 40, the linebacker, an exceptional player. He’s a really good football player,” Stoops said of Bell. “He can play anywhere in the country. Really like the way he plays [...] he’s a great pass‑rusher as well. Like Bud in that area. Bud is an outside backer, obviously much bigger. But he’s like Bud in that he’s comfortable on his feet, got great instincts, he’s an extremely good pass‑rusher. He’s a mismatch for some people on the edge.”

With Darrin Miller now out the O-Line is going to have their hands full finding a way to keep Bell contained. Redshirt freshman Kyle Meadows will surely be tested early and often against a player that has skills beyond your average FCS competitor. Last season UT-Martin’s talented linebacker forced and recovered three fumbles, recorded 10.5 sacks, and tallied 80 total tackles en route to being named an all-American by the Associated Press, College Sports Madness, Beyond Sports Network and Phil Steele himself.

Against Boise State last season Bell racked up 5 tackles for loss and forced the fumble that is pictured above. Against Memphis he was a tackling machine. One of the major goals of this game is allowing Patrick Towles to get into rhythm  with his receivers and build confidence for the rest of the year. He can’t do that if Bell is able to pester him and his newly sped-up release.

For 2014, Tony Bell has been named to the Buck Buchanan watch list which is awarded to the best defensive player in FCS. If he can have a big game against the Wildcats then he could launch himself to an early favorite for the award. Our young O-line needs to make sure that doesn’t happen. If Swindle and Meadows can’t keep Towles upright this Saturday then we could have some big problems when we get into SEC play.

Do you think the Cats will have any problems with UT-Martins star?

 


Week One’s Burning Question: Will the Cats Drop 50?

The long wait for football season is almost here (finally!).  After stockpiling prospects and hitting the weight room, the BBN is anxious to see the improvements firsthand.  But how much improvement can you see when playing against an FCS opponent?  The Cats are going to win Saturday.  I don’t care how many returning offensive linemen they have (4) or how few sacks they gave up last year (best in their conference), the front seven will overpower UT-Martin and the secondary’s superior athleticism will make their job an easy one.

The only thing I care about how many points the Cats put on the board.  With a new quarterback and tons of young talent at wide receiver, the biggest question marks for this team are on offense.  Last year Boise State dropped 63 on the Skyhawks; Murray State wasn’t far off with 45 points scored.

If the Cats can’t break 50 I’ll be disappointed, but if they do this is what you’ll see (or at least what I hope you’ll see):

1.  Towles gets the tempo going.  Just like every other UK football fan, I’m ready to see Neal Brown’s Air Raid.  Last year Brown was forced to play with the hand he was dealt.  This year he has a quarterback that can make the tough throws and enough depth at receiver to keep legs fresh.  With all of the tools in place, it’s Towles time to get the team moving.  The first play of the drive is most critical, but once Towles finds some rhythm I expect to watch the Cats move down the field for at least three effortless, and very fast scoring drives.  The uptempo drives can happen in as quick as two minutes.  I’ve seen Towles get into the zone during uptempo drills in practice, now it’s time to do it in front of a crowd.

2.  Manageable 3rd downs.  Last year Kentucky was pretty bad on 3rd down.  31% doesn’t reflect the loss of hope from fans on every 3rd down play of 5 yards or more.  For Brown, the 3rd down problem was more of a 1st down problem, setting the team up for failure because of poor execution or stupid penalties.  With a plethora of running backs and the addition of speedy open-field playmakers at wide receiver, there shouldn’t be many negative plays early in possessions.  3rd downs will not be so heartwrenching this Saturday.

3.  Winning the turnover battle.  It’s hard to score 50 points if you’re turning the ball over.  The best thing Pat Towles can do to secure his job is to play turnover free.  Last year Kentucky had an even turnover margin, but Stoops’ defenses operate in the positive.  After only 3 interceptions last year, I expect big plays from the secondary to give the offense some easy scoring opportunities.  I can take away my focus on the offense for some defensive takeaways.

4.  Execution.  It’s a simple instruction that every coach preaches, but culminating everything learned in the offseason onto the field is much easier said than done.  The new guys bring a playmaking punch that will get fans off their feet, but Neal Brown is more concerned about the routine plays.  “A simple gameplan, we’re going to go out and try to play fast, execute,” Brown said today.  Too many times last year was momentum stalled because of a dropped pass or a pre-snap gaffe that resulted in a busted play.  Mistakes will happen, but for the Cats to make a lasting impression there needs to be consistent good football plays by all 11 on the field.

After watching four practices, there is no denying how much more talent is on the roster than year’s prior.  You couldn’t watch a practice without seeing glimpses of awesomeness –Pat Towles rifling one home on a play-action pass, Blake Bone skying over a defender for a deep catch, Boom Williams toeing the sideline for an extra 10 yards.  Neal Brown’s ultimate challenge is turning those glimpses into long-lasting images.

I want to see 50 points this Saturday, but regardless of the scoreboard the BBN will have a much clearer picture of what to expect from the offense in 2014.

 


UK Fans of the Day Want Some Evening Notes

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We are in New York City playing around with the tennis folks while back in Kentucky it seems as if virtually nothing is going on. That is good, as this week before the first football game tends to be the calm before the storm. Calipari and his team are taking a breather after the last few whirlwind weeks and even recruiting is on a bit of a lull. So for now, we go with the little news that has taken place:

— As I said the other night, I really think UK’s stance with Jaylen Brown has improved and they will have a very good shot in the long haul. Along with Brown, I expect you will see an increased pursuit of a couple of big men in the next two weeks, Caleb Swanigan and Skal Labissiare. Kentucky has wanted both guys for a long time, but the Cats believe these guys had a great summer and you may see a bit of a full court press on both players. Skal is the more polished and Kentucky is likely one of the top two with Memphis for his services. We all know it is hard to get a kid from there to pass up the Tigers, but Calipari has a lot to sell and I could see this heating up quickly for a player that some REALLY love. Swanigan was the best of the 2015 bigs this summer at the Peach Jam, if you talk about performance in that weekend only. He wasn’t that good before and he hasn’t been that good since, but a great weekend in the biggest event of the year turns heads. Kentucky liked him a lot (and fell for him while watching another big target Chieck Diallo) and would love to get in on his selection. Michigan State, Indiana and other schools have been involved for a while so we will likely find out in the next couple of weeks if Kentucky is making the necessary moves to get to the forefront of his recruitment.

— Hated to hear about the injury to Devante Parker. He is a kid who probably should have gone to the Draft and his decision to return was always dangerous. He will miss 6-8 weeks, causing some problems for the Cards early, but likely giving them a big weapon by the UK game. I always want the Cards to struggle, but I never root for injuries, so the Parker news was disappointing.

— Speaking of the Cards, I was told by some folks in Kentucky this week that UL is “grooming the UL version of Matt Jones” to take on Kentucky and Calipari. I find this notion laughable, but the name is apparently John Ramsey, a former tv and radio guy in Louisville. I know very little about John except he is remarkably tan and has muscles that are too large for a man his age. I haven’t listened to him yet, but I will almost guarantee failure at this endeavor. Being the “Matt Jones” of UL is a silly enterprise as the fan bases are not the same. Kentucky’s is bigger and more passionate and the statewide area makes creating this tide of momentum much easier. Plus, while it often looks like we don’t know what we are doing (and we sometimes don’t), there is a method to our madness and the idea that you can just recreate it, especially with a 20 year media veteran is silly. Going after Louisville is easy…you have Jurich, Pitino and Petrino giving us endless rounds of material on a daily basis. But trying to replicate what we do, especially with an individual who has neither the intelligence, fan standing or personality to be up to the task, will be a laughable failure and should be fun to watch on our end.

— There is so much to watch for in Kentucky’s first game on Saturday, but one of my main interests is seeing what WR Dorian Baker finally looks like on the field. Jared Lorenzen said on the radio with me today that he thought Baker was “The kind of receiver we have never had at Kentucky.” He is big, fast and has an athleticism that is of the highest elite status. While he won’t be starting, he will surely play and I expect him to make some plays early this season that we simply haven’t seen at Kentucky. He has the biggest chance to be a future WOW player of almost anyone on the team. I can’t wait to see him get started.

— We are in the process of trying to work out a KSR and BBN go to see Damien Harris day in October. On one of either two days (the ESPNU game versus Pulaski County or the Boyle County game at the end of the month), we will do our show live from Berea, have an afternoon in the town and then go to the game as a collective KSR fan base. We want all of you to mark your calendars (when we announce the day) and plan to come to the game. A collective showing will obviously be great and it will be a lot of fun to see the highest ranked recruit in Kentucky since Tim Couch in action.

As you know, Drew and I are up here doing our Tennis thing for Tennis Channel. It has been a lot of fun already, has led to some good stories (hopefully you heard our “bitch ass racket” story from this morning’s radio show) and will be good for KSR as we continue to make connections that help the show. If you get a chance, do us a favor and check out our work below at the “OUTER COURTS” blog. It has some classic KSR writing, you will find it funny even if you don’t care about tennis and you will be supporting the site. Thanks in advance.

MATT AND DREW on the OUTER COURTS

See you folks tomorrow….


Practice Notes from an Upbeat Tuesday Practice

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-  They call him Patty Ice for a reason.  Patrick Towles has been waiting his whole life to be the starting quarterback for the Kentucky Wildcats, but his dreams and the distractions that come with it are being set aside to focus on UT-Martin.  Neal Brown is trying to keep things as routine and normal as possible, but that is how Pat has always prepared, “It’s just about getting your mind right.  (Before the game) some people will listen to really hardcore music.  I’m just kind of relaxed, even-keeled.  The more you get jacked up before the game, for me at least, the harder it is to think clearly.”

He was thinking very clearly today.  During an intense two-minute drill, the coaches put the offense in a game situation where they needed a touchdown to win.  For the first time all camp, the offense did exactly what the coaches needed to see by punching the ball into the end zone before time expired.  A great sign to see four days before kickoff.

-  No Darrian Miller?  No Problem.  Left tackle Darrian Miller has been an anchor on the offensive line for the past two years, but he’ll have to wait til Week 2 to see the field.  The line shouldn’t skip a beat with Jordan Swindle moving to the left side to make room for Kyle Meadows.  Swindle has been the #2 left tackle for awhile, so he’s very comfortable, and Patrick Towles said, “I fully trust Kyle Meadows.”  Meadows will see his first time on the field after redshirting last season to bulk up, and boy did he bulk up.  Meadows said today that he came to UK weighing 250, but now he’s close to 305 pounds.  50 pounds….that’s a lot.

-  The tennis ball machine is Stoops’ worst enemy.  What if I told you…a machine was sent to the UK practice facility destined to dismantle the Air Raid by taking out as many receivers as possible.  Stoops is starting to believe that’s the case.

Jeff Badet took a tennis ball to the eye earlier in camp, forcing him out for the first two games.  He had a helmet on but that wasn’t enough to stop this mad machine, who tried to prey on TV Williams earlier this week.  Visors should finally put the demon to rest, but Stoops believes the demon is responsible for cutting back on dropped passes, “They’re working hard at it. We get those Jug machines out here with the tennis balls.  Hit some guys in the eye, they start working on it.”

-  Towles is happy to have Javess Blue back.  The Cats have had to do much of their offseason work without Senior and returning receiving leader, Javess Blue.  Because he’s missed a lot of conditioning he’ll only see 30-35 snaps instead of about 50, but his speed can’t keep him off the field.  Speed on the outside is a tool that Towles loves to utilize, but he isn’t ready to pick a favorite target, “The one who catches the most balls.  We’ll see on Saturday”


UK Volleyball opens its season Friday

Volleyball Spring game

The Annual Bluegrass Battle begins Friday at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington at 4 p.m featuring four squads from across the country: Butler, Virginia Tech, Wichita State and Kentucky.

The Bluegrass Battle will feature six matches Friday and Saturday, with Kentucky playing in three. The Wildcats will face Wichita State at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Butler at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Wildcats will close out the tournament against Virginia Tech at 8 p.m.

The roster is heavy with upperclassmen this year. Kentucky returns three seniors (Lauren O’Conner, Jackie Napper and Alyssa Gergins) and four juniors (Shelby Workman, Kayla Tronick, Sara Schwarzwalder and Morgan Bergren). The rest of the roster is rounded out by two sophomores and a whooping five freshmen.

It might be the beginning of the NCAA season for the Cats, but it isn’t the first time the girls have seen action. Over the summer the team became the first SEC volleyball team to play in China while they faced off against Chinese teams. Last week, Kentucky Wildcats TV released a 20 minute video, UK Volleyball Goes to China, on the Cats trip which was full of volleyball, culture shock and excitement from the Volleyball team.

The Cats open the season in the top-25 for the third consecutive year, at No. 19. Something that will be different for Kentucky Volleyball this season will be the number of people who see the team play. A total of 27 matches will be televised for the team this year including every home contest and all SEC road matches.


Stoops says the offense will move faster than at any point last season

Happy Stoops is happy

Happy Stoops is happy

Mark Stoops wasn’t scheduled to talk to the media today, but must have been in a really good mood, because he came over and said a few things anyways. Stoops said that the team had a great practice today and he anticipates the offense will move faster on Saturday than it did all last season. “I think we’ll be much faster week one this year than we were at any point last year,” Stoops said. Neal Brown agreed, and said keeping things simple is key.

Nick will be by a bit later with a full recap.


Know Your Wildcat: Josh Forrest

#45 Josh Forrest

Vitals

– Height: 6’3”

– Weight: 236 lbs.

– Class: Junior

– Experience: 2L

– Position: Linebacker

– Hometown: Paducah, KY

– High School: Tilghman

Class of 2011 Ranking 

Rivals.com: 

247Sports.com: 

– ESPN Recruiting: 

How He Got Here

Forrest was a recruit under Joker Phillips and came to Kentucky as a wide receiver/defensive back. Forrest’s high school coach, Randy Wyatt, played football for Kentucky in the 90s. The Paducah Tilghman star was named to the Lexington Herald-Leader’s all-state team after his Senior season.

Previous Seasons, 2011-13

Forrest redshirtted his freshman year, when Phillips’ staff realized his skill set was better utilized as a linebacker instead of a wide receiver. Primarily a special teams player until last season, he played in all 12 games as a reserve linebacker. He completed the season with 16 tackles and an interception against Florida, an interception that broke a streak of 34958734598374598 games without one. Forrest had a season best three tackles against South Carolina, Alabama and Vanderbilt. His quickness helped him block a field goal against Louisville and a punt against Alabama State. The blocked punt was a game changer, setting up a scoring drive against Alabama State.

Something You Didn’t Know About Him

Other than being a professional football player, his dream job would be an airline pilot.

Something We Made Up About Him

The night before every game, Josh goes into the woods to mediate. Forrest sits on the ground Indian-style, eyes closed, and hands in prayer position at the heart. Forrest says he feels a real connection with nature and it improves his game mentality.

Unfair NFL Comparison

Danny Trevathan, Denver Broncos

Outlook for 2014

As a former receiver, Forrest hopes his speed, athleticism, and length (he’s got arms like Tayshaun) will make him more of an threat on the defensive side of the ball. Still in the process of developing as a linebacker, Josh has proved to DJ Eliot that he has what it takes to replace Avery Williamson as the starting middle linebacker.

 


Reese Phillips’ great grandmother is the most precious thing you’ll see today

Reese Phillips’ great grandmother turns 91 today, and in her honor, he posted this adorable picture on Instagram. Hopefully Mrs. Phillips can get up to a few games this season to see her great grandson play. She’s game day ready with that #12 jersey.


Stop what you’re doing and watch this ridiculous dunk by DeMarcus Cousins

Team USA is currently killing Slovenia in their final tune up before the FIBA World Cup begins on Saturday, and DeMarcus Cousins laid down this ridiculous dunk with the help of Kings teammate Rudy Gay.

Anthony Davis is also having a good game, with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 4 steals. He did that all in about 18 minutes. Good grief.

Here are two of those points:

The game’s still going on ESPN2 if you’re interested.


Willie Cauley-Stein on first College Basketball Preview Magazine Cover

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Bud Dupree almost left Kentucky when he was moved to defense

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Life has a funny way of working out. Today, Larry Vaught has an interesting story about Bud Dupree in which UK’s star defensive end says that he almost transferred from UK when Joker Phillips asked him to move from tight end to defense. “I went home and I called my mother and told her I was going to transfer,” Dupree told Vaught.

Ultimately Dupree says he chose to stay, in part because he wanted to switch jersey numbers. “I stayed and said, ‘Can I get No. 2?’ So they gave me No. 2 and I was okay with it. But it was getting the number that kept me here.”

What’s so important about the number two? In the UK Media Guide, Dupree says he picked it because “I’m trying to be number one but I’m working like I am number two.” Well, it’s working. Dupree was given preseason All-SEC Second Team honors, and yesterday, Mark Stoops said he would be shocked if Dupree wasn’t a first-round draft pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

[VaughtsViews.com]


Funkhouser’s Emmy Awards Roundup

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(Ed. Note: The Emmys were last night, and the Funkhouser crew was unhand to soak it all in. Below are, in their opinions, the most impressionable moments and issues of the night.)

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Brennan English on Twitter Rage:

My favorite part of the Emmys: Twitter rage.

The reaction of Twitter to any major pop culture phenomena is always good for some menial entertainment , particularly whilst watching the unwatchable—awards ceremonies. Last night was no exception, and my hand-selected cross-section of the Internet did not disappoint in agreeing with me on the worst Emmy winners and snubs. Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory bring in jillions of dollars, viewers and Emmys, but the Internet thinks these programs are long past their due date; why can’t the rest of the world see things our way? Well, because for Emmy voters, what’s old is oftentimes just good enough, with the exception of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She clearly isn’t old as she cannot age. So Orange is the New Black, Amy Poehler, even Tatiana Maslany — you may get your turn one of these days; it took The Sopranos five seasons to win the big one. Regardless, Billy Eichner and the critics of Twitter and Tumblr will be here to implode on your behalf.

Mrs. Tyler Thompson on Ricky Gervais:

I’ve been a fan of Ricky Gervais since he starred in the British version of The Office, and his sarcastic twist on the Brits’ self-deprecating humor was really on display last night when he lost the Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series to Jim Parsons…again. Gervais tweeted a selfie of his loser face afterwards and later while presenting the award for Best Writing for a Variety Special–”the big one,” he quipped–he gave his acceptance speech anyways. “Ha, ha, I won. I knew I would because I’m the best actor. Better than those other actors — Parsons, Cheadle, H. Macy, Joey from Friends and Louis from Louie, spelled slightly differently.” Gervais also hammed it up when Jimmy Kimmel teased that instead of a movie star face, Gervais had a “television face.” Well, actually, “a Netflix face.” That last one was really hit home since Gervais appeared in a Netflix commercial that aired during the Emmys, spoofing Kevin Spacey in House of Cards and an inmate in Orange is the New Black.

It’s a shame Ricky didn’t win the Emmy, but he’s a much funnier loser.

S.E. Shepherd on the Cran-Stache

Look, this year’s Emmy’s telecast was pretty terrible. Seth Meyers was completely serviceable as host, but his general non-offensiveness went a long way to remind audiences that these award shows are way more fun when they’re hosted by a loose canon. And many of the winners were retreads from recent editions of the Emmys. But the one thing that elevated the telecast from forgettable to Tweet-worthy was a lone line of upper-lip hair on the face of one of the best TV actors ever – Bryan Cranston. Looking like a waiter at a sleazy French restaurant in the 1940s, Cranston unleashed upon the world his greatest creation to date: The Cran-stache. It was sublime in its simplicity, and I’m thankful I was among the millions that had the pleasure of basking in its glory. LONG LIVE THE CRAN-STACHE!

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C.M. Tomlin on the Step-Aside Host and a Nefarious Conspiracy

For all we make of how difficult and judged being a major awards-show host is, let’s face it: it’s gotta be pretty easy. A good monologue and you can coast through the rest of the night. Seth Meyers did a perfectly fine job leading the Emmy charge last night (“Tonight we are all Crazy Eyes”) but, more interestingly, he pulled a maneuver he’s completely accustomed to from his SNL days: ceding the spotlight to those who may possibly upstage him. He introduced Jimmy Kimmel in the first twenty minutes and Kimmel proceeded to deliver a mini-Emmy monologue and pseudo-roast of Matthew McConaughey (“he traded his TV for a conch shell full of weed!”) that legitimately competed with Meyers’. Later he would team up to let national treasure Billy Eichner drag him around New York City upstaging him at every turn and bring out buddy Andy Samberg to steal a Game of Thrones bit. These moves — to share the spotlight when the night could have been dominated by him — fit Meyers’ general M.O.; as head writer for SNL and the program’s Weekend Update anchor, he knows when to share a joke with a colleague. It worked, but overall left Meyers feeling a little in the wings at the end of the night with his lineup of special guests stealing the show.

Awards-wise the big Networks made damn sure that everyone knows cable isn’t getting too big for its britches by taking home best comedy (Modern Family), Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy (Ty Burrell for Modern Family), Best Actress in a Drama (Julianna Marguilies for The Good Wife) and Best Actor in a Comedy (Jim Parsons for Big Bang Theory). I don’t want to sound too conspiracy-theory-guy, but this was Burrell’s second win, Parsons’ fourth Emmy and Modern Family’s fifth consecutive win. While I do believe that both Burrell and Parsons both play sitcom characters who are among the best in television comedy over the last twenty years, it seems a little excessive. And while Modern Family is a consistently solid show, I’m not sure it deserved a fifth consecutive Emmy (that’s a Best Comedy Emmy EVERY YEAR it’s been on the air) for a season that was arguably its weakest yet. Is this the signal that the major networks still run the show? Surely there were stronger overall comedies in 2013-14 — it all reeks of a “not so fast, cable” move from Emmy voters affiliated with more mainstream television.

Richmond Bramblet on a Generally Succcessful Evening

The Emmys were perhaps one of the most entertaining awards shows in recent memory. Seth Meyers handled the hosting duties with ease, and he and his writers came up with fresh bits. Granted, when I first turned it on he was playing “For A Dollar” with Billy Eichner, which will get me every time. The 8:30-9:00 slot was jam packed with comedy, including a Tim Watley reference, and the next two hours flew by because it all seemed new. Speeches weren’t long and drawn out, except I’m not really sure what Jim Parson’s “you can’t account for taste” speech was about. Seth played to his strengths and used his funny friends to make the night a success. Also, Weird Al makes everything better. Get to typing, George…

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Kalan Kucera on An Alternate Universe McConaughey Win

“All right to the tres power, hombres. Man, y’all are beautiful. All these awards man, I just… it makes a man feel blessed to know that people connect so much with his work. It makes a man feel blessed to know he’s a man. Or at least to think of himself as one. To know that if he’s a man, and not some shapeless entity, floating through the aether of time on some journey, a journey that doesn’t seem to have any purpose or… or meaning, or he doesn’t even know what it is that he is. Maybe he just thinks that Lone Star beer tastes good, but maybe that beer doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s a figment, man, not of his imagination, but maybe of some greater being’s mind. Maybe, he’s not an entity, but a neuron in the neural pathways of God man. But if he’s a man and if Lone Star exists then it’s just fiiiiinne and dandy my friends.

I don’t want to accept this award for me, man. I want to accept this award on behalf of all of the better versions of myself that I haven’t even met. All those versions of me in the infinite copies of the Universe man. The ones like, helping kids and stuff. He’s not an actor, he doesn’t get all of these awards and accolades and the praises of his fellow man for the exceptional work he does. But I see him and I nod, slightly, in his direction with respect and honor, the way all McConaugheys in every plain of reality ought to be treated. That’s because, we’re all McConaugheys in our own way. Maybe not a successful one, but that don’t mean that it ain’t true or that it is. We’re just a bunch of neurons, so how could we even know, you know what I’m sayin’?

Wow, I just blew my mind. Before I go though, I’d like to thank all of the other nominees. Cranston, you are what you are and what you aren’t man, and I respect that. Jon Hamm. Jon Hamm. Kevin Spacey. Dig your name. Jeff Daniels, I can’t wait to meet ya. Woody, oh, woody. Marty. Good ol’ Marty Hart. The adventures we had man. This award is yours man, in the Universe where you’re me and I’m a Mexican ballplayer man. And I can’t wait to see you in that World mi amigo. I just can’t thank all of you and all of me enough for this heartfelt outpouring man. Who knows what words are about to come out of my mouth, but what else can I say but Alright, Alright, Alright?”

Emmys

Aaron Flener on Not Watching At All:

The most interesting part of the Emmy’s, to me, is seeing the people who play the characters I love on their show looking NOTHING like the characters they play on their show. Two examples:

1. Aaron Paul looked entirely too drug free and happy for my liking.

2. Jon Hamm didn’t look like he had a beard on his face, his beard looked like it had eyeballs and nostrils.

I would say more but I only watched the show for around 5 minutes.


Calipari opens up about the empty nest, says he and Ellen will have to get matching sweaters

During his second interview with John Calipari during the Fantasy Camp, ESPN’s Seth Greenberg asked him about the team’s performance in the Bahamas and where they go from here. Cal said he’s taking a few days off (hence the sunbathing we saw yesterday) and that he’s given his team three tasks while he’s gone: 1) take conditioning and training to another level, 2) work on your skills, and 3) play pick-up games.

Cal also talked a little bit about his work with charity and the frantic schedule that comes with being UK’s head coach. As you know, his son Brad is headed up north to prep school, and Cal admitted that he’s having a little trouble adjusting to the empty nest. “For the last two months, I’ve been in a dead sprint, so last night I sit in the chair and I look at my house and it’s empty and I’m thinking this is how it’s going to be and I get emotional. I haven’t had time to think of my son, my last child, leaving the house. My wife did tell me we’re going to be wearing matching sweaters and she’s going on recruiting trips and road games, so I think we’ll get a lot closer now,” Cal quipped.

Is this the next Calipari Christmas card?

cal-matchingsweaters


Win up to $1,000 in Draft Kings’ $10,000 College Football Redshirt League!

draft
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What are you waiting for? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Win big in Draft Kings’ $10,000 College Football Redshirt League