Greetings, friends, and welcome to National Championship Monday. Tonight at 8 p.m., Alabama will take on Clemson in its quest for its second straight national championship, 17th overall. Theirs has been called the best defense in the history of college football, but how will it stand up to Deshaun Watson and a Clemson team that hung 31 on Ohio State? I’m guessing pretty well. The more interesting question is how Alabama’s offense will fare after Nick Sabana unceremoniously kicked Lane Kiffin out the door a few weeks early. Jalen Hurts admitted to not even knowing who new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was at the midpoint of the season; will the Alabama offense be comfortable enough with Sarkisian to roll over Clemson? (Puns!) We’ll find out tonight.
If you want to savor every last second of coverage, turn on ESPN. In addition to an entire’s day worth of build up, tonight they’ll have a “Coaches Film Room” in which various college coaches break down the game live on ESPN News; a “Homers Telecast” on ESPN2; and “ESPN Voices” on ESPNU featuring Bill Walton and Keyshawn Johnson, which you know will be entertaining. Paul Finebaum and crew will also do their own version of a film room on SEC Network; if all that’s too much and you just want to listen to the sounds of the game, no commentary, you can do that too on ESPN Classic and ESPN3.
Meanwhile, here’s what we’ll be doing around here.
1. John Calipari and select players will preview the Vanderbilt game
For some reason, the weekly SEC Coaches Teleconference is taking a week off, so John Calipari and select players will address the media this afternoon. Check the site around 2:30 p.m. for a live stream and afterwards for a full recap.
2. ICYMI, Calipari was in Pittsburgh yesterday because “YOLO”
That’s a lot of acronyms for one sentence, but instead of sitting on his butt or doing chores on a Sunday like the rest of us, Calipari embraced the “You Only Live Once” mantra and went to see the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wildcard game. If the fact that he feels comfortable enough to leave town for a few hours in the middle of the season to watch football isn’t indication enough to you he likes his team, this tweet should be:
Team lifts at noon and then walkthrough and dinner tonight. I'm going to Mass, then to watch my Steelers! I'll meet the team tonight. YOLO!
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 8, 2017
Of course, the Calipari girls were mortified:
Calipari took the team out to dinner upon his return, presumably at Malone’s, Texas Roadhouse, or Red Lobster. (Remember Red Lobster?)
3. Tickets still available for tomorrow night’s game
Either Vandy fans are really dreading tomorrow’s game or the fact that it’s on a Tuesday is preventing a lot of UK fans from making the trip, because there are still seats available through Ticketmaster. They’re all in the end zones, of course, but there are still lowers up for grabs. Watching the BBN infiltrate that weird ass gym is one of my favorite things ever, so if you make the trek, I’ll see you there. For those asking, I haven’t heard of an official UK Alumni Association pregame gathering, but the new meet up spot now that Corner Pub is closed is Double Dogs in Hillsboro Village.
4. What will the line be?
Kentucky has won its three SEC games by an average of 30.3 points — well over the spread in each — but will Vegas factor in the impact that weird ass gym could have on a young squad? Vandy’s 8-7 so far this season, 2-1 in SEC play, coming off a narrow 3-point loss at Alabama.
I still think Kentucky opens up as a heavy favorite.
5. One last look at Arkansas before we move on
Between skirmishes and De’Aaron Fox turning into a superhero, Saturday night’s second half was arguably the most entertaining of the season. If you’re like me and not quite ready to move on yet, here’s one last look at the big win courtesy of our friends at KyWildcatsTV:
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) January 8, 2017
6. Where will Kentucky end up in the polls?
The Cats are still #1 in the KenPom ratings, but where will the AP voters and coaches rank them? They’re currently sixth in both polls. Baylor’s expected to rise to #1 after Villanova lost to Butler. Will Kentucky crack the top five after two huge wins? (I think so.)
7. When will Hamidou Diallo arrive on campus?
Class starts Wednesday, so that’s the million dollar question. If you’ve been off the grid since Friday, the nation’s number one shooting guard picked Kentucky over Arizona and UConn Saturday evening, making for quite a nice lead-in to the Arkansas game. He’ll join the team this week, and, presumably sit out this semester to practice with the team and develop for the 2017/2018 season; however, Diallo did an interview after his commitment in which he suggested that wasn’t set in stone. Regardless, get ready to hear, “Why don’t they play Diallo” in every radio show from now until April.
8. Hey, we got a football commitment last night
Late last night, 2018 defensive back Javaris Rolle committed to Kentucky. He’s the cousin of Pro-Bowl safety Antrel Rolle, one of Stoops’ former players from his time at Miami (2001-2003). The younger Rolle has a great frame, great instincts, and speed, so cheers to getting him on board early:
— Javaris Rolle (@JavarisRollee) January 9, 2017
9. Did you see Randall Cobb’s hat trick yesterday??
Cobb missed the last two games with injury but returned in resounding fashion yesterday, catching three touchdowns in Green Bay’s win over the Giants. To put Cobb’s big day in perspective, he had five catches (for 116 yards) and three of those were touchdowns. The most impressive was this Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgeres at the end of the first half:
— All Sport News (@All_SportNews) January 8, 2017
The Packers play the Cowboys Sunday afternoon and THEY GONNA WIN. Right, Randall??
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 9, 2017
10. Daily reminder to vote for your favorite NBA Cats to become All-Stars
This year, fan voting accounts for 50% of the NBA All-Star results, and the first returns were, well, not as good as they could be. Vote for John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl Towns, and all of your favorite NBA Cats to become All-Stars via the following methods:
- Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
- Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
- Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
- Do the same thing on Facebook
- You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.
Radio in an hour as we get ready for Vandy…