Two of the all-time winningest programs in the history of college basketball will meet for →
Archives by date
You are browsing the site archives by date.
While the rest of us waited for updates from the Big Blue Madness Campout on Thursday, Davis Love III adopted a squirrel. Love is currently playing in the President’s Cup, and during the rain delay, made friends with a baby squirrel who fell out of a tree. Love fell in…well, love, and carried the squirrel with him the rest of the day, even taking him into the team room when the weather got particularly nasty.
Because girls love anything that’s cute and small, even if it’s a varmint, Lindsey Vonn (Olympic skier turned Tiger Woods’ girlfriend) swooned all over the tiny animal, even getting up the nerve to put it on her boyfriend’s shoulder. Tiger had the reaction all of us do when our significant other distracts us while we’re watching the game, and it is priceless:
That’s adorable and all, but call me when he gets a pet possum. Then I’ll really be impressed.
News and Views?
Tent City Reaches Capacity
The Big Blue Madness Campout has turned into a different animal under John Calipari. What was once the surefire way to get the best seats to Midnight Madness has morphed into a circus with a whopping 755 tents. “Tent City” reached capacity on Thursday afternoon, prompting UK to release a statement telling fans that any new tents/campers would not receive a control card on Friday afternoon to exchange for a ticket Saturday morning. That means the allotted number of tickets for BBM campers had been reached. On Thursday. The sheer absurdity of this never gets old.
Although UK threw cold water on the James Young/Stone Cold Willow pick-up game, there was still plenty of fun to be had Thursday night. The players passed out pizza to the fans and one extremely creepy person wearing an oversized baby mask:
The look on Willie’s face says it all. That is downright terrifying.
After pizza time, the players entertained the campers with some dunks. Our eyewitnesses on the ground say Marcus Lee was particularly impressive, showing off his freak athleticism and ridiculous hops. We’ll post any videos that go up as soon as they go online.
The players were reportedly stunned by the record crowd at campout, the freshmen in particular. Think about how surreal the whole spectacle must be for them…thousands of people camped out outside your dorm for free tickets to a practice. If that isn’t a crash course in the Big Blue Nation, then I’m not sure what is. Since Tuesday morning, a pathway formed between the Joe Craft Center and Wildcat Lodge, with fans waiting on either side to get autographs from the players as they went back and forth between the facilities. When they went out to deliver the pizza Thursday night, almost all of the players recorded the fans’ reactions with their phones and posted the videos on Instagram (you can see James Young’s above). Willie Cauley-Stein, who’s already been through this before, summed it all up with this tweet: “Omg I love this place!!! #BBM #campout #BestFansInAmerica.” After this week, how can anyone argue otherwise?
Hey, how’s the campout for Hoosier Hysteria going?
Thought so. Popcorn boxes celebrating the record attendance are coming your way soon, Bloomington!
Meanwhile, in the Joe Craft Center…
While the campers were camping during the day Thursday, the players were playing inside the Joe Craft Center. From the sound of it, the practices have been a bit of a culture shock for the freshmen, who weren’t accustomed to Cal’s style of non-stop action. Dakari Johnson said there’s no need for Kentucky to do any extra conditioning because they run so much during practice, while Julius Randle said the new guys are trying to learn how to “think slow while playing fast,” a staple of Cal’s style of up-tempo play. Wise veteran Jarrod Polson said that the other upperclassman have been trying to prepare the freshmen for two-a-days, which start this weekend, telling them that if you don’t get the treatment from the trainers afterwards, “you’re gonna die.” Suddenly the cold tub doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Stoops makes a classy gesture
Earlier, Drew told you about Cameron Smith, a 13-year-old boy from Campbellsville who passed away suddenly in his mother’s home last Friday from unknown causes. Smith played football for Campbellsville Middle School and in a touching gesture, Mark Stoops sent Smith’s family a jersey with his name on the back to show his support. Here’s a picture of Smith’s team with the jersey:
Cal’s speech to campers
KSR will be LIVE from the Big Blue Madness Campout in the morning to tell tales from the scene and hang out with campers. Matt and Ryan will be set up on the outdoor basketball courts, so come say hello and enjoy the free entertainment. See you then.
By Drew Franklin on ©10:00 pm
KentuckySportsRadio.com asked each member of the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team the same ten questions about a variety of personal topics, ranging from celebrity crushes to favorite food. We will unveil their responses, one question at a time, over the next two weeks in this ten-part “Pop Quiz” series.
IF YOU COULD GO ON ONE DATE WITH ANY CELEBRITY, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Willie Cauley-Stein: Beyonce
E.J. Floreal: Beyonce
Aaron Harrison: Paula Patton
Andrew Harrison: Beyonce
Dominique Hawkins: Beyonce
Jon Hood: Kate Mara
Dakari Johnson: Meagan Good
Tod Lanter: Mila Kunis
Marcus Lee: Ariana Grande
Brian Long: Kate Upton
Sam Malone: Gisele Bundchen
Jarrod Polson: His girlfriend (Sorry, ladies)
Alex Poythress: Beyonce
Julius Randle: Christina Milian
Derek Willis: Jennifer Aniston
James Young: Kendall Jenner
Sorry, Sam. I had to do it…
With Big Blue Madness just 15 days away, the excitement surrounding Lexington is exponentially increasing. Thanks to our very own Ryan Lemond, who sat down with Calipari and some other Lexington media members last month to discuss the upcoming season, the excitement now seems unbearable. Drew Franklin revealed some exciting transcript from the 55 minutes of “Calspeak” and will bring us more as Big Blue Madness approaches.
Calipari learned last season that having not enough depth on the bench would turn out to be detrimental; an issue that he surely resolved this year. Unlike Rick Pitino, Calipari takes responsibilities for his own mistakes, instead of switching blame from himself to his players. Cal openly admits that he put some players in bad positions due to lack of depth.
“There were guys that needed to be out of the game and they knew it, like Alex at times. . . There were times Archie needed to just sit for a while. ‘Kid, I’m not mad at ya, just sit out.’ Well we couldn’t do it. I did it and I looked and thought, ‘Oh my gosh go back in.’ And you can’t do it that way. I know there’s a number that’s too many but you can’t do what we did a year ago and that was my fault. It’s what I did, it was my choice. We look back and say we put the kids in a bad position on a lot of fronts.”
Last year’s hiccup was hard to watch. Luckily, Calipari is not the type to make the same mistake twice. He’s reloaded this year capturing 5 of the top 10 players in the nation, arguably one of the best recruiting classes in college basketball history. Mrs. Tyler Thompson brought us earlier this week that even (egoless?) Rick Pitino admitted this during an appearance on “CBS This Morning.” It appears Rick is finally accepting the role of “little brother.” Congrats.
In 2012, Cal recruited what turned out to be talented one-and-done’s with Anthony Davis, MKG and Marquis Teague, who meshed well with returning players Darius Miller, Terrance Jones and Doron Lamb. As they went on to capture the University of Kentucky’s 8th National Title, it seems as if the 2013-14 team is following in the same footsteps. The freshmen talent Cal has ushered in this year appears to be collaborating well with returning talent Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein.
A one-on-one interview between KSR’s Ryan Lemond and Alex Poythress makes it apparent that Julius Randle is bringing out the best in Poythress. Perhaps Randle is the missing piece to Poythress’ puzzle. Alex admits that “He’s bringing the competitive spirit out of me.” Something that was without a doubt absent through some of last season. In some games, Alex deserved to be benched, but Cal didn’t have the ability to do that in certain situations; in other games, the numbers Alex produced is the Alex we wished we saw every game. Alex now knows that he has to step up and give it his all, all the time. It is clear to everyone this year that playing time must be earned since Cal has furnished the bench with colossal talent. But with Alex going up against a “6’9 freight train” in practice every day, his game certainly should improve.
Knowing that he and Willie Cauley-Stein are now considered the “veterans on the team,” he’s aware that this is his time to step up and be a leader.
Alex on what is expected out of him and Willie Cauley-Stein this year returning:
“We just got to step up and be the leader, you know. Last year we didn’t have a little veteran leadership you know, but this year we shouldn’t worry about that. We’re going to try to step up and just be the voice that we need. . . We got five leaders on the court at the same time, we’ll be straight out there.”
Luckily for Alex, Calipari has noticed a visible change in his play since squaring off with Randle in practice.
“He’s made strides and I’m happy. This summer, going against Julius every day, you know, that’s a handful. That’s going against like a 6’9” Michael Kidd-Gilchrist every day, where he’s not slowing down and he’s trying to dunk every ball on you.”
With his improvement, and hopefully consistency, perhaps Alex can work his way right on to Cal’s list of “bulldogs” on the team, which as of right now, consist of Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle. Not many people can be confident going up against the #3 player in the nation, but for Alex, this seems to be exactly what he has needed; someone to bring out the competitive/aggressive side that we all know he possesses.
Stone Cold Willow may not be playing James Young tonight, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had at the Big Blue Madness Campout. The players just passed out pizza to fans, and Drew Franklin was on the scene to capture the pie pandemonium.
While the campers were hanging out outside Memorial Coliseum, the team was inside going through one its last practices of the week before two-a-days begin this weekend. Eric Lindsey interviewed Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, and Jarrod Polson afterwards to get their take on how things are going. Here are a few quotes:
How things are going in practice: “We’re getting better and you can see a progression in every practice that we’re getting better at what he’s been telling us to do.”
What they’re working on in practice: “Throwing lobs and stuff, just regular passes or dish offs or bounces passes. Him telling us to try new things, things we’re not comfortable doing, but things we’re going to have to do in the game because of how teams are going to guard us. He’s throwing a lot of different stuff at us. We’re playing fast, we’re trying to learn how to think slow while playing fast.”
On mentally and physically preparing for practice: “It’s really hard, especially when you gotta to wake up in the morning, lift weights, go to classes and tutoring and get your mind mentally prepared to come out and practice. You’ve just gotta push through and just know that he’s doing this for the best of it so that at the end of the day, we can win the National Championship.”
On playing against Marcus Lee in practice: “It’s helping me a lot because he’s a runner and a leaper so I have to kind of keep up with him, so that’s helping my conditioning too, just trying to keep up with him.
On competition in practice: “We’re by far the deepest team I’ve been on in my four years. We literally have two guys at every position that are going at it, sometimes three, so you can’t really take a break in practice. If you take one break, you’re gonna get exposed and the other man is coming for your spot and you’re coming for their spot. So, it’s definitely a good thing for us and we’re all competing as hard as we can and I think that’s the key to success.”
Mark Stoops had one stop to make before the team takes off for South Carolina: the Big Blue Madness Campout. Stoops walked around Tent City this afternoon to greet fans, take pictures, and assure them “We’re getting there.”
Speaking of, the Stone Cold Willow/James Young showdown that was scheduled for tonight has apparently been canceled. No one wants a repeat of last year’s scare with Nerlens Noel. But have no fear, campers. The players will still come out and make an appearance this evening.
The throes of the Big Blue Madness campout are upon us, and tonight looks to be one of the best in recent memory. With record numbers, a historic recruiting class, and great (if rainy) fall weather, all the ingredients for a fun night are already in the pot.
But this demonstration of devotion from the fans wouldn’t be possible without the accommodation of the University. And who knows the burden of that more than Associate AD of Operations, Kevin Saal? Roger Kuznia of Sporting News wanted to find out exactly what goes into it.
Turns out it consists of a long day, a few porta-potties, and a wireless microphone.
My wife would tell you it’s not borderline. It is crazy.
And not just crazy, but potentially hazardous, too. With hundreds of people hanging out in one spot, there are a lot of things that need to be done to ensure safety, and comfort, for the hardest of the hardcore. That involves coordinating 125 employees, from the bookstore to the fire marshal, to keep everything in check.
But, of course, it’s worth it.
It’s a special tradition for the university, the Commonwealth, Big Blue Nation, the fans, our basketball program, and the bottom line is that it’s a fun, free event, and the athletic department does a great job in the production of that event. The primary objective is to keep the process fair but most importantly to keep it safe.
Some people might prefer a non-conference game because it “matters,” but the biggest part of college basketball is having something for fans to enjoy, and this year is clearly proof that fans enjoy Big Blue Madness, and the Big Blue Madness campout. So while it’s clearly a lot of work for Saal, this weekend is proof enough that it’s clearly something that we appreciate.
Kudos to Sporting News for getting a hold of the guy behind the Madness.
We all know and love one of the newest editions that Mark Stoops has brought to the Big Blue Nation, quarterback hunter extraordinaire, Za’Darius Smith. Smith was one of Stoops’ earliest and biggest recruits in his first class and the big man has become a legend around these parts ever since. Za’Darius has some big expectations this year will all eyes trained on his number 94 lined up next to Bud Dupree as he has become a fan favorite for the Cats even after just 4 games. Lets face it, he was a favorite before he even played a down at Kentucky, hes just that kind of guy and has been fully embraced by the fans. But do you really know Za’Darius? Here are ten things you probably don’t know about him.
1. In addition to being recruited by Kentucky, Smith also held offers from Florida St., Miami, Auburn, Missouri, Ohio State, Texas, and Texas A&M. People say the best way to judge a commit is by who else was recruiting him. YEAH. I think we got a good one BBN.
2. His name Za’Darius was in fact originally intended to be that of a Greek god, but the Greeks considered the name to be simply too fearsome for just a mere god. They decided to let Za’Darius’ mother use it instead.
3. Smith was ranked as the number one strong side defensive end coming out of junior college. His previous school East Mississippi CC went bankrupt after attempting to build a statue in honor of Za’Darius and subsequently spending all their funds on enough bronze to sculpt the arms of Za’Darius.
4. Despite being a highly ranked recruit when he committed to the Cats, Smith didn’t even play football until his senior year of high school. Za’Darius grew up playing basketball in Greenville Alabama and continued to play basketball through high school.
5. His signature dreadlocks were actually passed down to him by former Kentucky defensive great Danny Trevathan. Trevathan felt it was only right to pass the dreads down, as is custom among elite defensive players. (Khalid Henderson was the recipient of Winston Guy’s dreads in case you were wondering)
6. At a staggering 6’6 and 250 pounds, Za’Darius is actually a descendant of the He-Man bloodline. (He is also 1/16th barbarian)
7. Two members of Za’Darius’ family played college football as well as played in the NFL. His brother Bob played center for the Auburn Tigers and later the Denver Broncos, and his cousin Davern played at Troy and went on to play for the New York Giants. His niece is also currently plays basketball for Florida St. As you can tell Smith comes from a very athletic family.
8. Za’Darius REALLY likes to ride his bike.
9. Za’Darius has filled in as a stunt double for rapper 2 Chainz in his last two videos. There has been a dispute however over who had the “really tall cool guy with dreadlocks” look first.
10. Za’Darius is currently majoring in community and leadership development and when asked who he would Skype if he could choose anyone he wanted, he responded “God”. I wasn’t aware you could Skype yourself, but who am I to question Big Z.
Well so much for that whole “backup quarterback gives us a chance” thing. Last week Kentucky made Florida rookie QB Tyler Murphy look like a Heisman candidate as he completed pass after pass, after pass after pass. He didn’t post gaudy numbers, but he managed the game far better than most people anticipated.
This week the Cats could face another backup quarterback after South Carolina senior Connor Shaw suffered a shoulder injury last weekend at Central Florida. Junior Dylan Thompson looked poised to step in and play, but head coach Steve Spurrier announced Wednesday that Shaw would start. The initial diagnosis is a sprained shoulder and he was expected to miss two to three weeks. Now with the possibility that his return just seven days later is being rushed, we still could see a backup somewhere along the way.
Either way, you cannot expect the Gamecocks offense to skip a beat as worst case scenario is Thompson starts. And he has more than enough strength and mental toughness to power past the Cats, especially with as good a running game as the Cocks have to compliment him.
This weekend will be the first game Kentucky has played where the opponent boasts a well-balanced and lethal offensive attack from the air and the ground. Western Kentucky is balanced but not nearly as effective, Miami is Miami, and Louisville prefers the pass, while Florida prefers the run. South Carolina does it all. And that is going to be a huge test for the Kentucky defense that let off the gas a little after a promising showing in week three against the Cardinals. It’s not going to get any easier after this with Alabama on the horizon either, so they might as well figure it out now.
In the passing game after Shaw’s injury early last week, Thompson stepped in and threw for 261 yards on 15 completions with one interception. He also ran for a touchdown. Before going down Shaw was putting up good numbers, averaging 220 yards through the air in the team’s first three games, and had already collected six passing TD’s. Part of his arsenal is the ability to scramble, rushing for an average of 67 yards per game, and that is just enough of a wrinkle to keep defenses honest. Shaw isn’t nearly as dynamic a quarterback as a Teddy Bridgewater is, a quarterback Kentucky has already seen this season, but he could be considered a poor man’s Bridgewater.
Exit Marcus Lattimore, insert Mike Davis. While Davis might not have the same level of explosiveness as his predecessor he makes up for it in power between the tackles and breakaway speed. Davis is a true sophomore who saw plenty of time behind Lattimore last season, and that experience paid off as he catapulted up the depth chart in the spring and now owns the starting tailback spot. He currently sports 508 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns on 71 carries, good for a dominating 7.1 yards per carry. Connor Shaw is second on the team in rushing with 232 yards, so with his injury likely still lingering expect Davis to really rack up the touches.
Out wide catching passes are Bruce Ellington (the tiny little guard on the basketball team), Nick Jones, and Damiere Byrd; nobody who really makes your knees tremble, but there is plenty of play-making ability and overall speed out there to carve up a secondary that isn’t prepared. If there is one thing to really give you confidence it’s the height advantage: Byrd is 5-9, Ellington is 5-9, and Jones is 5-7. Every opposing Kentucky pass defender is taller, so that should eliminate a lot of corner fades and toss-up plays that might come from sideline. If the secondary is going to get beat, it’ll be deep and long, and getting burned there really hasn’t been a huge issue for the Cats thus far. Anticipate an interception or two from the corners and safeties.
Kentucky’s offense has really bottomed out and is as stagnant as we’ve seen all year. Granted the team was facing an elite Florida defense last week, but the unit has got to start moving the chains, plain and simple. Part of the reason the defense has been slipping has to do with the offense’s inability to stay on the field. Last week the team was 1-for-8 on 3rd down and averaged 3.7 yards per play. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown has to figure out a way to get the team in more 3rd-and-managable situations, and decide on which quarterback he likes more, because we all can see the two-QB system isn’t paying off. Judging from practice notes, it seems Stoops and Brown are starting to favor one over the other – though they won’t say who just yet. Whether it’s Whitlow or Smith, we need to see one or the other lead a number of series’ to get comfortable and go from there.
Consider the Wildcats preseason defensive projections and you likely recall the prognostication was dreadful. If you asked most people, you probably would have heard without hesitation the offense would be far and away the better unit. But with Kentucky currently owning the 52nd-ranked defense versus the 62nd-ranked offense, things are a little different than what we expected. Being No. 52 isn’t something to write home about, but it’s a far cry from where we were this time last year. The defense will have a tall order trying to slow down both the Gamecocks passing and running games, but they’ll have a much easier time if the offense can figure out a way to put up some points and conduct a sustained drive.
With the announcement that Connor Shaw would start against Kentucky, the final breath of air on any kind of upset bid was knocked out of the gut of the Wildcats. Not that too many people were calling it in this one anyway, but if there were any glimmer of hope because of Shaw’s absence, it is now vanished. Steve Spurrier doesn’t like losing to Kentucky, and there is a good chance he’s still bitter about the loss in 2010. Suffice it to say Kentucky will have better odds to win ballgames than this weekend.
Tent City is in action like never before, already a sign of the wild basketball season that is soon to come. If the fanbase is as rabid for the camp out as they are for the actual Big Blue Madness, the recruits visiting should be blown away by the power of the Kentucky fan base on October 18th. The big question now becomes what recruits will see the possibly the greatest recruiting tool of college basketball. Though there could be changes in the limited amount of time left until the date, here are the names we know have said they would attend.
- Stanley Johnson: The Big Kahuna of the list. Stanley Johnson, the best small forward of the class, will be in attendance, and Calipari will have to make a huge push with him as he has to lure him away from Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats. Johnson is rumored to have Arizona as his favorites for a variety of reasons, but some speculate his family and inner circle are pushing Arizona extremely hard, thus the favoritism for them. Stanley Johnson has been priority number 1 for John Calipari for quite awhile, and I would need a whole other article to explain how highly I think of his game.
- Tyler Ulis: Even though he is committed, Ulis has said he will be in attendance for Big Blue Madness on an unofficial visit. Ulis will be playing the role of recruiter this time around on campus as he will look to help Calipari with the rest of the 2014 class. Hopefully, the recruits play some pick up basketball and see how much fun it is to play with Ulis as their point guard.
- Kelly Oubre: Next to Stanley Johnson, Oubre will probably be the next recruit in attendance that Calipari will have to work his magic in order to win the recruiting battle. Kansas is Kentucky’s top competitor for the services of Oubre. Though Oubre plays small forward (he can play shooting guard just as well), he or Stanley Johnson have no qualms about playing alongside each other in college. Oubre and Johnson have ridiculously high motors, something you love to see from wing players. If you add two wing players that play “hard nosed” basketball on the same team, watch out.
- Trey Lyles: The long, twisted recruiting battle of Trey Lyles is finally winding down, and Big Blue Madness looks to be the last event in this process before a decision. Lyles was committed to Indiana, then rumored to be leaning Kentucky, then rumored to be leaning to Louisville, now he’s back to Kentucky. It has been enough to make someone’s head hurt, but it appears Kentucky is in outstanding position to gain a commitment from the power forward. It would not be overly shocking if Lyles made an announcement very soon after visiting for Big Blue Madness. He may beat Devin Booker as the next recruit to commit to Kentucky.
- James Blackmon Jr.: The son of the former Kentucky player James Blackmon recently cut his list down to 5 schools (Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Michigan St, and Kansas). Blackmon is in an interesting position since Kentucky is rumored to be the favorite, but most indications point to Kentucky gaining Booker as a shooting guard before Blackmon commits. However, Calipari is stressing his desire for depth, and the likely departures of Aaron Harrison and James Young for the NBA would mean a need for more than one shooting guard. If Calipari can convince Blackmon that he will be a regular in the rotation in the backcourt, a commitment should be in the future.
Josh Langford: Langford is a fairly unknown name unless you are one of us weirdos that follow recruiting like an actual sport. He is a five star combo guard from Alabama that ranks as the top combo guard in the class. Langford has just started to see the offers roll in since he is in the fairly distant 2016 recruiting class. However, Kentucky may be getting a huge edge in this battle by having him visit for Big Blue Madness at such an early time. Though his recruiting process is way more wide open that the 2014 guys, he may be more impressionable by the spectacle than them due to this age.
That is the list that is known for right now. If I find any more information on visitors or things change, I will edit this list accordingly.
If not for Randall getting loose in 2010, Steve Spurrier would own a perfect 20-0 record against the Kentucky Wildcats. Instead, the Ol’ Ball Coach is a measly 19-1 against the Cats. No current college football coach has won more games against one team than Spurrier over the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Good for him.
This Saturday, Spurrier will look to stretch that win total to 20 in a game his Gamecocks are heavily favored in. Not to mention, it’s Kentucky’s first true road test of the season and they’re still without a starting quarterback through four games. Oh, and they’re coming off maybe the worst practice of the season. Awesome.
We can keep going…
Spurrier’s offenses have scored 30 or more points in 15 of his 20 games against Kentucky, including 10 games of 40 or more points.
Last season, Spurrier’s Gamecocks trailed Kentucky by 10 at the half but came back to win, 38-17.
In 2011, the last time Kentucky traveled to Columbia, Spurrier’s team won 54-3. Kentucky had 17 yards passing and six turnovers.
Okay, you get the point.
Please, please, please #BeatSpurrier.
13-year-old Cameron Smith of Campbellsville tragically passed away in his mother’s home last Friday, completely unexpected. The cause of the young footballer’s death is still unknown; “he just stopped breathing,” said the Kentucky Middle School Football Association.
The eighth grader at Campbellsville Middle School wore No. 75 for the Eagles football team, and UK head coach Mark Stoops paid tribute to Cameron by sending his family a No. 75 Kentucky football jersey with his last name on the back.
It’s a very nice gesture by Stoops and UK football for a family and community that is dealing with the tragic loss.
Big props to those camping out already for Hoosier Hysteria #dedication
— iubb (@iubbhoosiers) October 3, 2013
Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness campout is at capacity, but there is still a little room for expansion in Bloomington. Check out the crowd for tickets to Indiana’s Hoosier Hysteria:
Whoa, slow down. Let’s not all show up at once.
The record for most tents at a Big Blue Madness campout was set last fall when 595 tents were counted the day before tickets were distributed. This year the number is already at 755 tents and there is no more room to add anymore. That means if you’re not already there, you’re probably going to be turned away if you try to join the party.
From UK spokesman Dewayne Peevy:
“Based upon our latest estimated numbers, any tent or camper not already in line for Big Blue Madness tickets is not likely to receive control cards on Friday at 2 p.m. ET. We will still maintain a limited number of tickets online for those who do not receive control cards on Friday or were not able to camp out.”
“Our goal is to protect the tradition the Big Blue Nation created in camping out for free tickets to our first public practice each season. With that, we have a responsibility to communicate with our fans that are camping out that we are near our capacity of tickets available for distribution.”
Simply put, UK is out of tickets and grass for new campers. Tent City is at capacity.
Two groups of mostly undesirable characters have gotten a lot of attention in recent days. One is the cast of Breaking Bad. The other is Congress.
Sadly, media coverage isn’t the only thing these two shady bunches have in common. Neither group is doing much of anything right now after the recent government shutdown and the finale of Breaking Bad. Also, it’s highly likely that there are a few dead people among both the Breaking Bad cast (don’t worry, no specific spoilers here) and the sitting members of Congress. Seriously, have you looked at McCain lately?
But in some ways, the similarities don’t even stop there. Some elements and major players in the recent debacle over the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) have started to remind me of the various power struggles and characters in Breaking Bad. So I’ve decided to see just how far I can take the comparison.
Some of this is definitely a stretch, so all the political junkies and/or Heisenberg fanatics who are dying to point out inaccuracies in my little analogy will find plenty to call me out on. Also, yes, I’ve compared the Republicans to the “bad guys” in Breaking Bad, while Walter White’s family and associates are the Democrats. But c’mon, there aren’t really any good guys in Breaking Bad or in the upper reaches of our politics, are there? I don’t think I’m really doing Democrats any favors by comparing them to Walter White, Saul Goodman, and Skinny Pete. Still, feel free to yell at me in the comments below.
So where does it all start? How about with the “products” that drive all the conflict in the first place? The meth in Breaking Bad is like government-sponsored expansion of health insurance (Obamacare and earlier attempts) in our nation’s current political drama. Some might say there’s a strong similarity only because Obamacare will kill you and/or make you addicted to another government entitlement. But that’s a different rant for a different day. For my purposes, expanded health insurance coverage and meth play the same role in our stories by being the products that drive the power struggles between warring factions.
So, if expanded health insurance coverage is like meth, then what political figure is our Walter White? Gotta be Obama, right? Possibly, but I’m actually inclined to put the Big Dog himself, ol’ Slick Willie Jefferson Clinton, in our Walter “Heisenberg” White role, with Hillary Clinton as Skyler White and Barack Obama as our fresh-faced young assistant meth cook, Jesse Pinkman. Walter White and Bill Clinton are both older, more experienced, better at wielding power once they have it, and they cook up a more pure product (the blue meth and the Clintons’ 90s attempts to create universal health insurance coverage), as compared to Jesse, Obama, and the less “pure” products they were able to put on the market once the originals were no longer an option.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and Skyler White are powerful behind the scenes, and their power will probably only increase long after the men have stopped fighting. Joe Biden is our Saul Goodman, primarily good for comic relief and a bad haircut. Jesse’s sidekicks in the meth business, Badger and Skinny Pete, are like Obama’s sidekicks in Congress, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (with Pelosi being Skinny Pete, obviously). And finally on the “Walt side,” Al Gore is Walter, Jr. — both enjoy a good breakfast.
OK, now for the Republicans as the nemeses of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. I can’t go too far with this because I want to avoid Season 5 spoilers and blatant comparisons of Republicans to a gang of white supremacist criminals. However, it’s indisputable that Walt/Jesse’s most pressing enemies in the final season of Breaking Bad are Todd, Jack, and Jack’s crew of ex-cons, just as Republicans have fought against the Obama/Clinton power structure. So let’s just generally say that Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor, and other Congressional Republicans are on the opposite side of Obama/Clintons in the health care showdown, just as the Todd/Jack crew fought Walt and Jesse in the meth showdown, and leave it at that. That said, Michele Bachmann has got to be the tightly wound Lydia character, while some of Walt and Jesse’s previous enemies (Tuco Salamanca, Gus Fring, etc.) are like the former standard-bearers of the Republican party whom the Democrats once battled — George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain, etc.
Oh, and the turtle who carried the dude’s severed head in Breaking Bad? That’s totally Mitch McConnell. Because McConnell’s a turtle (a cheap joke, but the classics never go out of style). And the severed head itself has to be John Boehner — both have been baked in the sun to a golden brown, and somebody, friend or foe, is going to have Boehner’s head one of these days.
I’ll wrap this thing up by acknowledging that I’ve left out at least four major Breaking Bad characters — Hank and Marie Schrader, Hank’s DEA partner Steve Gomez, and utter badass muscleman Mike Ehrmentraut. I couldn’t figure out a way to tie them to our pathetic political environment without giving away the characters’ ultimate loyalties, decisions, and outcomes, and I’ve got several friends who are still making their way through Breaking Bad. Those laggards should be shirking their responsibilities and watching more TV, but good luck telling them that.
Thanks for bearing with me. See you next week!