We’re exactly 71 hours away from Kentucky football’s first game of the 2015 season and →
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 3:04pm
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There’s not a ton of new recruiting news in either sport, but let’s hit what we can from this week…
Sacha Killeya-Jones bumped to five stars.
Rivals.com updated its 2016 class rankings yesterday and Sacha Killeya-Jones saw a huge bump up the list. The UK commit is now ranked No. 26 — up 25 spots from 51 — and earned his fifth star.
Can we just sign the whole Big Blue Madness guest list and win it all in 2016-17?
Check out the current list of visitors:
Give me that starting Fab 5 next year all damn day.
The Herald-Leader has a good read on Drake Jackson and Woodford’s O-line.
Take a second to learn more about UK’s next center and his teammates at Woodford County. Jackson confesses his love for Mexican food in the article, so he’s my new favorite player.
Watch UK commit Gunnar Hoak fire the pigskin in his first game as a senior.
Hoak threw for 201 yards and three touchdown on only 13 pass attempts in the win.
You look like you’re hurting today. You sleeping okay? You should check out that Sleep Outfitters deal for a new mattress.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 2:12pm
The biggest name in basketball history almost accepted an invite to participate in the UK-UNC alumni game. Michael Jordan was invited to coach the Tar Heel team but had to decline the invitation due to other obligations.
“I tried to get Michael to come back and coach the team but he’s going to be out of the country or something,” Calipari told us yesterday.
The game is already loaded with stars and now has ESPN on board to televise it to the entire country, but M.J. would’ve taken things to an even higher level. I can’t really imagine what it would be like to have the GOAT coaching against all of our favorite players in Rupp Arena.
Out of the country? I say he is scared.
You scared, Mike? I think you’re scared. Aren’t you the one who said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Sounds to me like you’re not trying. Get in there, Your Airness.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 1:43pm
It looks like it will be a completely packed house for the grand opening of the New CWS this Saturday night. According to a tweet from the starting quarterback, Big Blue Nation answered the call and bought up all the tickets to see the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.
— Patrick Towles (@patty_ice14) September 3, 2015
It looks like there are still a few available on Ticketmaster.com. The UK Ticket Office announced a complete sellout for students tickets, which might’ve confused my news source, Patrick Towles’ Twitter.
Buy up the few that are left!
By Freddie Maggard on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 1:00pm
Saturday will unveil Commonwealth Stadium upgrades. On the new artificial playing surface, several Wildcats will be making their initial run in game action. From a player’s perspective, there is very little more exciting than their initial game week experience. Throughout the hours leading up to kickoff, newcomers will be facing the uptick of seriousness as the high stakes game of college football translates from a dream to reality.
Below is a by position breakdown of Wildcats that will play in their first college football snap against Louisiana-Lafayette. (True freshmen/first-year guys in bold)
Coordinator- Coach Shannon Dawson
TE- CJ Conrad and Darryl Long
RT- George Asafo-Adjei
LG- Bunchy Stallings
RG- Jarrett LaRubbio
WR- Thaddeus Snodgrass
QB- Drew Barker
FB- Will Tom Collins and Tanner Fink
RB/KR- Sihiem King
DE- Courtney Miggins and Alvonte Bell
DT- Adrian Middleton
DE/OLB- Denzil Ware and Kengera Daniel
Sam LB- Josh Allen
Mike LB- Nico Firios
Will LB- Eli Brown
CB- Chris Westry and Derrick Baity
Safety- Mike Edwards and Darius West
By my count, that’s 22 Wildcats. Three position groups are completely comprised with newcomers: tight end, fullback and defensive end/outside linebacker.
Nerves and excitement will be plentiful. Prior to my first offensive series, a sledgehammer couldn’t have pried out my mouthpiece. It’s scary and an experience of sensory overload. Again, it’s ok to be nervous. Means that you care. This group won’t be scared. Mark Stoops addressed this at his Monday press conference and said he would “rather say whoa! than getty-up!”
For those listed above, an unspoken concern is that first time players will need to monitored during warmups. Rookies can expend excessive energy before the football is kicked off. These are exciting times. Saturday will be fun. Young players make mistakes. However, this group will make those expected errors at 100 mph.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 12:20pm
While you were listening to Mitch Barnhart and purchasing UK Alumni Game tickets this morning, Mike DeCourcy released the fourth piece of his five-part series on John Calipari.
This one is called: John Calipari: The Citizen.
Maybe my favorite of the first four parts, “The Citizen” focuses on Calipari the man, and his charity and goodwill around Kentucky and beyond.
One local business owner said, “There’s never been a coach in the history of Kentucky that’s leveraged that position for the greater good of more people than John Calipari.”
And that’s pretty accurate.
Read more on Citizen Cal in DeCourcy’s latest release here.
Check out the others below:
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 11:34am
The new UK logo isn’t going anywhere, Big Blue Nation. So get used to it.
Though many fans are very against it, the new look is permanent and it is too late to do anything about it. Mitch Barnhart confirmed to KSR today that UK is moving forward and focusing on bigger and better things than the shape of the K.
Barnhart told us this morning, “My take on it is: that’s where we are, so we can stop talking about it. Because that’s where we’re going to be.”
Here, read his entire explanation:
“We’ve invested in it. We worked closely with our university folks and the Nike folks, and it’s part of trying to have the K be a little more prominent and be out front a little bit more. From a graphics perspective, there are some things we are trying to do as we move our program forward. If that’s our conversation spot in all that we do, then we’ve got other issues. We’ve got to get past that and start talking about the things that are the most important in our program.
The logo’s important, but we want to make sure that we understand that, you know, we’ve made the decision to move on and we’ve invested a lot of energy and a lot of folks put a lot of time in it.”
Barnhart likened the new logo to music, saying opinions vary across the board. “You may like country, I may like Christian,” he explained. “People look at things differently through a different lens.”
Well, in the last hour I’ve listened to Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Rick Ross, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift — and I still don’t like the logo. But I, like everyone else, will get over it. Let’s just win football games.
You can listen to Mitch Barnhart’s interview with KSR around the halfway mark of Hour 1 below:
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 10:49am
During his interview with Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning, Mitch Barnhart announced that only a couple hundred spots remain for Saturday’s game in the New CWS. He said he was told a little earlier today that there were about 200-300 available, and that number has likely gone down since then.
So if you’re still considering going to the game, you may want to get on it before it sells out.
Buy your tickets here and use promo code ALLIN for the discounted price in the upper level.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 10:30am
John Calipari announced that he opened up more seats for fans to purchase for the UK Alumni game. There are now 1,000 more lower bowl tickets for sale, plus courtside seating for those who would like to be Spiked out.
Go to Ticketmaster.com to get yours because they will go fast. That game is going to be awesome.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 10:13am
Jonathan Abrams over at Bill Simmons’ old place has a fantastic piece of writing about Kentucky’s latest draft class and what the 2014-15 basketball season in Lexington meant to them. Called “These Are the Things That Change Boys to Men,” Abrams has quotes from the new NBA Cats, including this heartbreaker we can all relate to:
“Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat well, couldn’t drink well,” Towns said of how he felt in the days after their loss to Wisconsin. “I’m never going to let go of that,” added Dakari Johnson.
The article goes on to talk about how each player handled their role in Kentucky’s platoon system, and how it made them become a better player. We also hear from the guys about their new NBA homes and what they expect at the next level.
Check ‘er out.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 9:50am
We’re getting closer and closer to Saturday and Kentucky Sports Radio has only two morning shows left before we’re there. Today, Matt and Ryan will bring on Mitch Barnhart to talk more about the game, the stadium and what to expect when we get there.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
KSR Affiliate List
WCBL (1290am): Benton
WBGN (1340am): Bowling Green
WTCO (1450am): Campbellsville
WAIN (1270am): Columbia
WCYN (102.3fm) Cynthiana
WHIR (1230am): Danville
WTHX (101.5fm) Elizabethtown
WCLU (1490am): Glasgow
WGOH (1370am): Grayson
WTUK (105.1fm): Harlan
WHOP (95.3fm): Hopkinsville
WJKY (1060am): Jamestown
WLAP (630am): Lexington
WFTG (1400am): London
WKJK (1080am): Louisville
WFMW (730am): Madisonville
WWXL (1450am): Manchester
WFTM (1240am): Maysville
WKYM (101.7fm): Monticello
WMSK (1550am): Morganfield
WPAD (1560am): Paducah
WKYH (600am): Paintsville
WLSI (900am) Pikeville
WPRT (960am): Prestonsburg
WSFC (1240am): Somerset
WTCW (920am): Whitesburg
WHAY (98.3fm): Whitley City
WBTH (1400am): Williamson
PRTC TV Channels 209 & 409: Jackson & Owlsey Counties (Replayed at 1 and 6)
On Delay (ALL TIMES LISTED EASTERN)…
WVHI (1330am): Evansville, IN, 5-7pm
WMTL (870am): Leitchfield, 11am-1pm
WLBQ (1570am): Morgantown, 3-5pm
WRIL (106.3fm): Middlesboro, Thur 8-10pm
WWTF (1580am): Lexington, 4-6pm
By Drew Franklin on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 9:00am
I attended Louisville City FC’s final home game of the regular season last night, and though it’s hard to cheer for anything Louisville, I had a blast watching the United Soccer League action. The fan base is absolutely nuts — shout-out to the Coopers — and the product on the field was better than I expected. Really a great time all the way around; from the opening march around the stadium to the goal in the final minute right in front of me:
I did have to put up with a little taunting from UofL fans, but there were plenty of Wildcats in the crowd, too. The neutral purple color helps keep both sides of that rivalry together.
Lou City will likely host a playoff game in a couple of weeks and I will 100 percent be there for that. I encourage anyone else in the area to check it out as well — soccer fan or not. It’s a really good time with really good nachos in a rabid atmosphere. Can’t wait to get back there with my new t-shirt and scarf.
College football returns tonight!
Kentucky’s second opponent, South Carolina, will lead off the college football season in a rivalry game with North Carolina at 6:00 pm. Then over on the SEC Network ’round 8:00, Vanderbilt hosts Western Kentucky in a game that favors the Hilltoppers by 2.5 points. Plus the debut of Harbaugh at Michigan, and No. 2 TCU in action, and lots more!
FOOTBALL IS HERE EVERYBODY
We will learn Ryan Flannigan’s status today.
The training staff will evaluate Flannigan’s shoulder at 1 pm today and then a decision will be made regarding his playing status for Saturday. Kentucky desperately needs him to be available in the already thin and inexperienced group of linebackers. However, if he needs more time to heal, this is the game to sit out. Shoulder injuries are horrible and will likely get worse throughout the season, especially for a position that relies on that shoulder so much.
The Sporting News will release the final two pieces of its five-part series on John Calipari.
Mike DeCourcy over at The Sporting News spent two months on his five-part series on John Calipari. The first three parts were released over the past two days, and this morning we will get the fourth, followed by the fifth and final one this afternoon.
Here’s what you’ve missed if you need to catch up:
I’m not sure I’ve spent two weeks on anything, let alone two months. Good for him.
Buy tickets to Saturday’s game dammit.
Go here and use the promo code ALLIN to receive a discount on individual tickets for Saturday’s game. There aren’t many left so hurry up if it’s something you know you want to do. Looks like we’re getting pretty close to a sellout. Anything short of a sellout would’ve been absolutely pitiful.
John Wall has a birthday party coming up.
Here’s his cake:
Wall’s birthday isn’t till Sunday so that may get a little stale before he blows out the candles.
Marques Bolden arrived in Lexington last night.
He dropped a pin on Twitter to let us know he made it to Kentucky.
— ✊ (@MarquesB__) September 2, 2015
Today he’ll get the whole VIP experience of the official visit to the University of Kentucky.
Listen to the KSR UK Football podcast.
In case you missed it yesterday, you can get the second podcast from the KSR football crew here.
By Bryan the Intern on ©September 03rd, 2015 @ 8:00am
I have no idea how to predict this UK football season. I could see reasonable scenarios where UK wins 4 games and where UK wins 8 games. But I have this gut feeling we are going to have 1 or 2 monumental moments in UK football. The talent is there are ready to go. Mark Stoops is in Year 3, which is often the year coaches have their breakouts. We have a 2nd year QB that showed flashes of brilliance last year. And the schedule sets up pretty nicely for some chances at big moments. It got me thinking about my lifetime, which started in 1985. What have been the high points and low points for UK football in my life? Below I put my winners plus a few extra that I considered.
I want to know in your lifetime what the highest point of UK football was and the lowest point. See if they match up to my list:
Winner: Kentucky 43, LSU 37 (3ot, 2007)
-It is quite possible that Kentucky will never beat a #1 team again in your or mine’s lifetime. And not only did UK beat them but did so in quite dramatic fashion. And what’s makes this the high point? Because that LSU team would go on to win the national title. It wasn’t the most surprising win in UK history. It’s wasn’t the most dominating. But I think in my lifetime, it is clearly the best team that UK has beaten.
Also In The Running
Kentucky 68, Louisville 34 (1998)
-The most fun I’ve ever had watching a game. Tim Couch at his absolute best. Hal Mumme-ball at it’s absolute best. And all against the main rival on their home field at the opening of their stadium. I strongly considered this to win for me but just misses out.
Penn State 26, Kentucky 14 (Outback Bowl, 1998)
-I know I will get blowback for putting a loss on this list but to consider UK in a New Year’s Day Bowl just 4 years removed from 1-10 was a monumental moment in program history. Then the Cats played a highly competitive game against a national power like Penn State. We thought this would turn into bigger and better things for UK but they have never gotten back to such a game.
Kentucky 35, Florida State 28 (Music City Bowl, 2007)
-That was not the best Seminole team in the world. But just the symbolism of UK beating a program like Florida State was historic. FSU had been in the national title game just 6 years earlier. It also wrapped up the careers of Andre Woodson, Keenan Burton, and Jacob Tamme.
Kentucky 10, Tennessee 7 (2011)
-That was the end of a bad season for UK. But to end that streak against the Vols in the way UK did, with a wide receiver playing QB, makes this a high point in my lifetime. Matt Roark will always have a legendary status with many UK fans. And it actually kept fans off Joker Phillips back for a short time.
Winner: Florida 73, Kentucky 7 (1994)
-Here’s what crazy, Bill Curry was in Year 5 of his tenure at UK, had been to just 1 bowl game and ended up going 1-10 that season. AND HE WASN’T FIRED. This had to be the worst a UK team has ever looked on a football field in my lifetime. And embarrassment on all levels.
Also In The Running
Kentucky 3, Indiana 0 (1996)
-Can a win actually be a low point? Well, for those who attended this game I think they would argue yes. This was the era of Bill Curry in a nutshell.
Ohio 28, Kentucky 16 (2004)
-The low point of the Rich Brooks era. Probation is largely to blame for this loss, but even still, UK should never lose by double digits to a MAC team at Commonwealth. I think many began to question Brooks following this loss. Good think Mitch didn’t listen.
Western Kentucky 35, Kentucky 26 (2013)
-Mark Stoops will always be credited with this loss but the reality is this was the program that Joker built. Getting absolutely dominated by a non-BCS in-state team on opening weekend. Having attended that game, was probably the worst talent that UK has ever put on a field.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 02nd, 2015 @ 11:00pm
We’re exactly 71 hours away from Kentucky football’s first game of the 2015 season and its first in the New Commonwealth Stadium. The talking season has lasted entirely too long and it’s almost time to shut up and play –or in our case, watch– football.
But, unfortunately, we still have a few more days before the ball is kicked off and the helmets collide under the lights Saturday evening. So as we suffer a little longer through the wait, bear with me as we talk a little more about what’s ahead.
Below you’ll find my predictions, next to an empty box for you to check off as they happen on Saturday.
Patrick Towles will throw for 350 yards.
Towles will have a field day throwing against the Ragin’ Cajun defense that ranked 105th in passing yards allowed last season at over 260 per game. The secondary is a year older now so it should be improved, but with the recent news that starting corner Simeon Thomas will miss the game, it will still have its hands full containing a loaded UK receiving corps and a more accurate and confident Towles.
CJ Conrad will catch a touchdown pass.
It will be his first of many this season.
Sihiem King will return a kick for a touchdown.
A Wildcat hasn’t returned a kickoff for a score since 2009, when Derrick Locke took one 100 yards to the house against Louisville. That’s six years without a kick return TD, the longest drought in the Southeastern Conference. It’s been five years since UK returned a punt for a score, also the longest drought in the SEC.
King will show off his explosiveness in his college debut with a touchdown on a kickoff, thus ending the long streak and getting that monkey off Kentucky’s back early in the season.
Boom Williams will do Boom Williams things.
I don’t know what he will do, but there will be a play or two or three when Boom has the ball in his hands and something special happens — one of those moments where you turn to your neighbor and you each give that wide-eyed look of disbelief, acknowledging Boom is the real deal. You know the look I’m talking about. You’ll do it a couple times Saturday, followed by a high-five if you’re the high-fiving type.
Kentucky’s linebackers will struggle containing Elijah McGuire outside.
McGuire is a threat in the rushing and passing game, so Kentucky’s inexperienced linebackers and ends may get torched a couple times. Josh Forrest is the one reliable piece in the middle; everyone else will need to step up and play well to contain Louisiana-Lafayette’s star back.
The new roundabouts on Alumni Drive will be dangerous after the game.
People leaving the stadium after a long day of tailgating, mixed with a new roundabout in place of a four-way stop? That’s a dangerous combination. Be careful out there, Cats fans.
Some fans will bitch about the stadium.
Look, it’s not going to be completely ready. We’ve know that for some time now. Hopefully, the majority of fans will go into the game with an understanding there is still a little work to be done, and they’ll appreciate what they see and enjoy the game being played on the gorgeous new field in front of them.
However, not everyone is a team player, so we’ll undoubtedly here whining from some people. Don’t be one of those people. Suck it up and tough it out as best as you can. You will survive. I promise.
Kentucky Joe will annoy the hell out of everyone he encounters.
Went ahead and checked that one off for ya. It’s like the free space in Bingo.
Joe will be all over the place, singing and talking to anyone in sight.
Matthew Mitchell and the Go Big Blue Band will sing Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
Coach Mitchell is breaking out the Kelly Clarkson when he performs on stage prior to the game, no doubt. The only mystery is which Kelly Clarkson song he will sing, and how many? I’m setting “Since You’ve Been Gone” as the favorite, followed by “Stronger,””Behind These Hazel Eyes,” and “Already Gone.”
(Yes, I had to Google ‘Kelly Clarkson songs.’)
Ryan Lemond will say something dumb on KSR.
It’s been too long since we’ve let Ryan run wild around Commonwealth Stadium with a microphone on the KSR pregame show. He’s due a good, idiotic comment at some point on the two-hour broadcast. If not a comment, he’ll pop a player or coach in the mouth with the mic while trying to get comments during the Cat Walk.
It will be a sellout.
And if it’s not a sellout, UK will call it a sellout. Either way, sellout. Let’s go ahead and check that one, too.
Kentucky will cover the spread.
The Cats are currently a 17-point favorite, and if I were a gambling man, I’d take that bet. The Cajuns’ four consecutive nine-win seasons don’t scare me one bit. Sure, they’re a good Sun Belt team, but I think Kentucky is much improved from a year ago and ready to hit someone in the mouth. ULL is that someone.
By Courtney Hessler on ©September 02nd, 2015 @ 10:30pm
You know you’re thinking of a Wendy’s ® Spicy Chicken Sandwich. The spicy goodness of the all white meat chicken lightly breaded with a unique blend of eight peppers and spices, topped with crisp lettuce, delicious fresh tomato and creamy mayonnaise, all on a soft toasted bun. The only way to get it out of your head is to get it in your hands.
You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:
#10 Kief Whitley
— Kief Whitley (@MPDoyle27) September 2, 2015
Don’t test him. You know he will.
#9 Matthew Mahone
— Matthew Mahone (@mmahone75) September 2, 2015
#8 EJ Floreal
Question is who's gonna dance ?👀 https://t.co/pJAls8BD7m
— EJ Floreal (@Eddie_Bounce24) September 2, 2015
#7 Marina Squerciati
— Marina Squerciati (@marinasqu) September 2, 2015
Can we please make this girl the Y, Mitch?
What did the De'Aaron Fox say? #bbn
— BradDoubleU (@TheNameIsBrad) September 2, 2015
YOU JUST RUINED THIS GUY FOR ME, BRAD. THANKS.
#5 Alan Shepherd
— Alan Shepherd (@ashep2) September 2, 2015
That’s it. I am starting a crowd fund.
#4 Todd Probus
This group of Big Blue Madness visitors is like when the Avengers first assembled. #BBN
— Todd Probus (@tprobus) September 2, 2015
Kentucky is better than the Avengers. Bold statement. I know.
#3 DJ BüRadli
— DJ BüRadli (@PaulM618) September 2, 2015
Safety is sexy.Kentucky knows that.
#2 Josh McCoy
@KySportsRadio Just turned on ksr and the first thing I hear is "they leak like Breast implants" gonna be a good show.
— Josh McCoy (@joshmccoy92) September 2, 2015
You can tell how mature I am by how high this is.
#1 Bryan the Intern
— Bryan the Intern (@BryantheIntern) September 2, 2015
Oh snap. KSR fight……
By Nick Roush on ©September 02nd, 2015 @ 10:00pm
The Cats aren’t opening with a bunny. The Ragin’ Cajuns have won four straight New Orleans Bowls, posting nine-win seasons each year. But this team is much different than the ones in the past.
Head coach Mark Hudsbeth almost left for greener pastures because there were so many uncertainties. We aren’t the only ones saying it. The New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, broke down all of their question marks.
The biggest one is at quarterback. Dynamic quarterback Terrance Broadway has moved on after winning the MVP of last year’s New Orleans Bowl. Hudsbeth has three options: redshirt freshman Jordan Davis, junior Jalen Nixon, and junior Brooks Haack, the favorite that received some playing time last year as the #2. We won’t know who will take the first snaps until Saturday.
It’s certainly not the only question mark for the Cajuns. Several key defensive players from last year’s squad have used up their eligibility along with a couple of veteran offensive linemen.
On top of that, Hudsbeth has a essentially a brand new defensive coaching staff, with co-defensive coordinators Melvin Smith and Charlie Harbison at the helm. Their defense struggled last year, ranked 85th in total defense while allowing nearly 425 yards of offense a game.
The Cats should make mince-meat out of the unproven and questionable defense. The UK passing defense has a lot to prove, but won’t be challenged through the air.
The only area for UK will have to worry about is stopping running back Elijah McGuire. I believe it will be UK’s strength on the defense. If they stuff the run, I’ll be much more optimistic about the Cats’ chances of pulling of an upset at South Carolina.