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Red Lightning’s Wednesday News and Views

Florida State won the BCS National Championship, yeah, yeah, yeah. Jameis Winston, sure, whatever. Heisman and national champion? Cool story bro. But Red Lightning? Red Lightning’s my guy. Red Lightning is the real story. He’s the real winner.

If you don’t already know Red Lightning, you probably saw him in the title game last night without realizing you saw him.

He was the guy running behind Jameis Winston:

He was the guy helping Jameis Winston up:

He was the guy who was really frustrated early in the game:

He’s Frankie Grizzle-Malgrat and he is Florida State football’s equipment manager during the week and ballboy on gamedays. He’s also the guy who owned Twitter and the internet during one of the best games in BCS history.

So move over, Katherine Webb. It’s the chubby redhead’s spotlight now.

Let’s do this News and Views thing real quick then go back to wishing we were Red Lightning.


The Cats return to Rupp Arena tomorrow night.

With only two games over the last 19 days to three games in the next seven, Kentucky basketball is back and ready to open conference play. Calipari warned us on Tuesday the Cats may be a little rusty after the long break, but he’s excited to see the steps they made during that time, beginning with Wednesday night’s game against Mississippi State.

Andrew and Aaron Harrison said the team really came together by spending every waking moment with each other over the break, and that helped them improve offensively and defensively. Aaron said the cohesion helped the most on the defensive end because that’s where they really need to talk to each other and play as a team.

Andrew sees a stronger bond with his teammates off the court. “We all liked each other before, but now I think we’re all closer. We all talk and laugh like we didn’t do before. I think that’s very helpful,” he said.

Calipari has seen it with all of his teams and this group is no different. They all know each other better coming out of Camp Cal and only time will tell if that makes a difference on the basketball court.

Kentucky is a 21.5 point favorite over Mississippi State.

These teams tend to play each other close; the underdog covered the spread in seven of the last nine meetings.

Take that however you would like to take that. Gamble responsibly.

Calipari is still preaching, “Think pass with the ball, think shoot without it.”

Soon we will add this to the Calipari drinking game/BINGO board. He reminded us of his new message during Tuesday’s pre-Mississippi State media opportunity, elaborating on the new mentality he is trying to instill in his players. He compared it to a wide receiver running routes without the ball, “running blind,” which is what he tells his players to do.

“Don’t jog like; well I don’t think I’m getting this one,” he tells them. “And the big guy, run blind, fly and maybe you get the ball, maybe you don’t. That’s what we’re trying, those are just ways of getting them to think different than they’ve thought.”

Aaron Harrison said it’s helping the players to be better prepared to score. He said he had never heard it before but it makes a lot of sense.

Brother Andrew said, “It’s weird, but we definitely understand where he’s coming from and what he means by it, just being ready and try to move to the open spot when you don’t have the ball.”

Booker, Lyles, Towns and Ulis named McDonald’s All-American nominees.

Kentucky basketball signees Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl Towns and Tyler Ulis have all been nominated for the McDonald’s All-American game in April. The four high school standouts, Kentucky’s entire 2014 recruiting class, are part of a list of almost 1,000 names, both boys and girls, nominated for the game. That list will be narrowed down to 24 players in each game and the rosters will be announced on ESPNU at 6:00 p.m. January 29.

Last year Kentucky had six players in the boys’ game, making up one-fourth of the entire contest. The Wildcats also had two representatives in the girls’ game, and another, Alyssa Rice, is nominated this year.

Drew Barker told KSR he’s not so sure about Matt Elam anymore.

Drew Barker was a guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio Tuesday morning and he admitted to being just as surprised as we were when Elam postponed his announcement at the Army All-American Bowl. Barker said he found out the news like everyone else, via Twitter, and couldn’t talk to Matt until well after the game because they were on opposing teams.

Now, with Elam taking an official visit to Alabama, he isn’t as confident as he was last week that the final pick will be Kentucky:

“I was really confident before this week, but you know, he didn’t decide or whatever, so I guess he really is torn between the two schools and now I know he’s going to take an official to Alabama, so I’m not really sure, honestly,” Barker told KSR. “I think he could go either way. I’m honestly not really sure anymore. I could tell you before this week it was all Kentucky, but I’m not really sure anymore.”

Elam speculation aside, Barker is still very excited about UK’s 2014 class and he believes Stoops and Co. will have a couple wild cards on National Signing Day. He wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple late surprises down the stretch.

Listen to Drew’s interview below:

Bobby Petrino heading back to Louisville?

Please let this happen.

Petrino interviewed for the Louisville vacancy on Tuesday and several reports are saying the job is his. The Louisville Athletic Board will hold a meeting Thursday morning and the new coach will likely be named soon after. If it is Petrino, you will be able to hear the laughter coming from the KSR headquarters from anywhere in the state. We are really excited about the potential.

Also, further proof the job is Petrino’s: Rick Pitino said he highly doubts it will happen, meaning he fully expects it to happen.

The NCAA is trying to determine the best fan base with an online poll.

Of course, Kentucky is already No. 1 with very little promotion but it’s very early in the competition. Go ahead and pile on more votes in the “6th Fan” contest at The winning school will receive $100,000 and all entries will be entered into a grand prize drawing for an all expense paid trip to the 2015 Final Four. An iPad air will be given away in each round, too. Happy voting!

Go Cats, everybody.

What A Difference A Year Makes

What price would you pay to win? That was the question I asked in 2012 as Kentucky struggled on the field and many fans began to clamor for UK to take a look at out of work Bobby Petrino. Is it worth it to sacrifice the spirit of amateurism and college athletics to adapt a win at all costs mentality? Last year UK had the chance to take that route and passed opting instead to make what looks like a solid hire in coach Stoops. This season the Cards did the opposite as they crawled back to their ex today for an interview and early reports indicate they may be about to hire Petrino once again. For Cardinals they will do anything possible to win at least that’s what hiring Petrino meant a year ago:

Eric Crawford:

Ah, yes. All he brings to the table. Petrino brings as much football coaching talent to the table as anyone hired this offseason. He also brings enough baggage to send you scrambling for a second table.

Stewart talked about wanting to make a hire that would move the program forward, that would take it places it has never been, that would put it on a national stage it has never known. He accomplished that Monday. Within two hours of Petrino’s press conference ending, WKU had been ripped by USA Today and Sports Illustrated online.

The litany of criticism is long.  It’s too soon. Does integrity stand for nothing? In college football, winning trumps everything else. And one final concern — it’s a big risk to take with your program.

[WKU writes itself into Petrino reality show]

Larry Vaught:

Will Kentucky make a move on Petrino? Probably not. I just don’t see Barnhart doing that.
Should Kentucky make a move on Petrino? Maybe. It depends on how much the UK administration wants to win more than anything else.

So what will happen? My guess is nothing with Petrino, as Barnhart looks for other coaches he thinks can win and have the “integrity” Barnhart values. But if the Kentucky administration doesn’t want to make a stronger overall commitment to football, will it really matter whether the coach is Petrino, a rising star like Sonny Dykes, a moderately successful coach like Duke’s David Cutcliffe or perhaps a rising college or NFL coordinator?

But remember, this is not a guaranteed home run for Kentucky. Money alone won’t buy a big-name coach who values winning unless other changes are made to the Kentucky football culture, and that could be more difficult to do than having UK even take a run at Petrino.

[Bobby Petrino: Good or Bad Hire for Kentucky?]

Mark Story:

In hiring Petrino, Western showed it is has embraced the same win-at-all costs mentality that, historically, has made UK one of the most penalized schools in NCAA history.

With Petrino, WKU joins Kentucky and Louisville in having as the most visible faces of their school nationally famous coaches known almost as much for the scandals of their past, either professional or personal, as their coaching excellence.

Welcome to the big time, WKU.

This is life with Bobby P.

[Petrino Can Make Life Tougher on Barnhart With Win In Debut]


Finally we have this gem from one of Louisville’s own. It will be interesting to see how his tune will change with a Petrino hire:

Bill Lamb and his point of view:

“Despite his undeniable success, Petrino’s annual mating dances with other college and pro teams were getting to be more than tiresome, creating an atmosphere of distrust and insecurity in the Cardinal football program. A school like Louisville deserves to have a man in charge with both eyes on the ultimate prize. Not just one, while the other is constantly wandering in search of a sweeter deal.”

Apparently, nothing much has changed with Petrino, considering his NFL fiasco and his recent shenanigans at the University of Arkansas. I have no sympathy for Arkansas since they knew what they were getting when they hired him. But now, the atmosphere of “distrust and insecurity” surrounding Petrino’s public life has invaded his personal life as well, and it’s hard to imagine anyone giving him another chance in either arena anytime soon.

[Bobby Petrino’s Familiar Story]


What will you say if Petrino is named head coach of the Cards later this week?


KSR Conversations: Mississippi State Edition

Get to know the 2013-14 Mississippi State Bulldogs before tomorrow night’s game through this imaginary conversation… 

Who coaches Mississippi State? I honestly don’t know.

Mississippi State’s head basketball coach is Rick Ray. Ray was hired in April of 2012 to replace Rick Stansbury. Stansbury, a Kentucky boy, stepped away after 14 years on the Bulldogs sideline.

They really like coaches named Rick, don’t they?

Now that you mention it, yeah, I guess so. Before Stansbury it was a guy named Richard Williams. He was very successful, Mississippi State’s second all-time leader in wins, but he’s more of a Dick.

Oh, I see. So who are the players to watch this year? Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson are always tough.

Believe it or not, Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson are long gone, finally. This year’s leading scorer is Craig Sword, a sophomore guard they call “Chicken.” He earned All-SEC Freshman honors last season and he’s currently averaging over 14 points per game in 2013-14.

Keep an eye on 6-foot-8 senior Colin Burchert, too. He’s coming off a career-high 22 points in his last game and he has five of Mississippi State’s seven double-doubles this season. He’ll be matched up with Julius Randle.

You said they call him Chicken? Like, “Bock-bock-bock-bucock” Chicken?!

Yes, Chicken. Like, the delicious fried poultry at Indi’s in Lexington or what Indiana fans call John Calipari when he refuses to play in Assembly Hall. It has been Sword’s nickname since he was a baby and his coach said he won’t answer if you call him Craig.

So don’t call him Craig if you see him; call him Chicken.

Noted. Sounds like that Chicken guy might get a lot of buckets. Get it?

I get it. And it’s not funny.

Oh, come on. I hear he’s great on the wing.

Stop. We’re not doing this.

But he gets gobbled up when he goes inside.

That’s enough. Do you want to learn more about Mississippi State or make chicken jokes all night? And so you know, chickens don’t even gobble. That’s a turkey, you imbecile.

Now you’ve got me worked up and my anger is only egging you on. I give up.

Ha. You said egg.


OK I’m done. Tell me about last season. Kentucky beat Mississippi State, right?

Yes, Kentucky defeated a very bad Mississippi State team by 30 points. State brought only eight players to the game: six scholarship guys and two walk-ons. Only two Bulldogs reached double-figures while Kentucky’s entire starting lineup scored 11 or more points.

Ryan Harrow was UK’s leading scorer with 19 points, if that tells you anything.

Wow. Ryan Harrow. There’s a name.

He’s doing great at Georgia State this season. He’s averaging 19 points and almost five assists per game.

Good for him. What’s Mississippi State’s record this year?

The Bulldogs are 10-3, just like Kentucky, but with a much easier non-conference schedule. State lacks a marquee win and its three losses are to Utah State on the road and at home to TCU and UNLV — all three by double-digits. The Bulldogs also needed overtime to beat 3-4 Loyola (IL) of the MVC at home in early December. Loyola had a shot at the buzzer to win it.

Judging by the two schedules, it looks like Kentucky shouldn’t have any problems getting the win.

No, this is a game Kentucky should easily win. The Cats are very hungry after the 11-day break and Mississippi State, though improved from a year ago, just can’t match up with the talent of UK. Not to mention, Rupp Arena is anxious for another game. The crowd will be electric.

The key will be containing Chicken. I hope he gets in fowl trouble.

This conversation is over.

All four of UK’s 2014 signees nominated for the McDonald’s All-American game

2014 UK Recruits

Congrats to Tyler Ulis, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker, and Karl Towns, who were all nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game today. The final roster of 24 boys and 24 girls will be announced during the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Show on ESPNU on January 29 at 6 p.m. ET.

UK’s 2014 signees have been killing it lately. Tyler Ulis is putting up huge numbers each night, Trey Lyles recently scored 45 points and 16 rebounds in one game, Karl Towns flirted with a quadruple double, and Devin Booker passed the 2,000-point mark in his high school career. With the way the 2014 class is progressing, there’s a good chance they’ll all make the final roster cut.

Let’s celebrate with Tyler Ulis’ latest mixtape:

Kentucky is a 21.5 point favorite over Mississippi State tomorrow

Let's stay with the Cutler theme today...

Let’s stay with the Cutler theme today…

Vegas has spoken: the Cats are a 21.5 point favorite in tomorrow night’s game against Mississippi State. The not-as-cute-as-the-Georgia-Bulldogs are 10-3 on the season, with losses to Utah State, TCU, and UNLV, so that seems pretty fair to me.

76ers waive Daniel Orton

76ers waive Daniel Orton

Image via

Bad news for one former Cat this evening: Daniel Orton has been waived by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Orton joined the team during training camp and averaged 3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. He played in 22 games, starting four, and had a season high 10 points and 10 rebounds in the 76ers’ win over Indiana on November 23rd.