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Football Season Coverage

Today on KSR: Sellout day for UK

Today on KSR: Sellout day for UK

Good morning, folks! I hope you all had a great Tuesday and your Hump Day is off to a grand start. It’s still finals week at Kentucky and most places across the country, so there’s not much going on with the football or basketball teams, but that won’t stop us from crunching out content here at KSR.

Let’s hop to it.

Tickets! Tickets!:

If you want to sit in the Kentucky section in Orlando you better hurry and get your tickets through UK Athletics. As of Tuesday Kentucky was down to just 300 tickets and will likely sellout its 9,000 ticket allotment today. So, you know, hurry.

I know many folks don’t buy through UK Athletics, and that’s fine and dandy because I’m thinking the Big Blue Nation is going to show up in a big way down in Orlando. Heck, the majority of people will end up not buying through UK so it’s likely UK gets over 20,000 people at the game (which is just 20 days away!).

If you want to try and gobble up some of the remaining 300 tickets, click the link below:

UK’s Citrus Bowl Ticket Allotment is almost Sold Out

Some good recruiting news:

Maybe. Just maybe.

The four-star safety is ranked the 23rd best safety in the class of 2019 and holds offers from nearly all the top programs in the country but seems to be down to UK and South Carolina.

Jammie Robinson is from Leesburg, Ga, and will officially visit Lexington this weekend for the mega-UK football weekend. I can’t confirm he’s actually wearing UK gloves, but I have no reason to doubt Chad. Chad is a good fella.

Speaking of new additions:

No, I don’t know who the transfer is that Matt Jones has been talking about for weeks, but he did give us an update on his radio show on Tuesday. Matt said it could be announced anytime but his guess is next week and he even mentioned that there may be a SECOND TRANSFER! He’s not as certain about the second transfer, but said if both happen and end up at UK it will be a “huge coup.”

No one at KSR besides Matt knows the mystery transfers, but a former UK target is on the market.

Former Kentucky Commit is on the Transfer Market

Trouble at Nova:

Coming off a national championship and two in the last three seasons, Jay Wright is far from the hot seat. He would have to have five straight bad seasons before Nova fans would even be remotely disappointed.

But, this may be one. Villanova fell to Penn last night 78-73. The Wildcats are now 8-3 on the season, which isn’t bad, but with loses to Furman, Penn and a home blowout to Michigan and Kansas looming on Saturday things could be better.

And after the loss freshman Jahvon Quinerly (who played just one minute in the loss) went to Instagram to express his frustration. Obviously the post was deleted (duh), but this will almost certainly be a distraction for Villanova. I’d expect an apology from Quinerly today.

Quinerly initially committed to Arizona but flipped to Villanova after things went down at Arizona with the FBI investigation. Things aren’t great for UK basketball, but at least the locker room is intact.

Will Josh Allen win another award:

I don’t think there’s any for him to win today, but knowing how many he’s racked up over the last few weeks I wouldn’t be surprised if someone made up a new award just to give it to Allen. It’s trophy SZN.

Tuesday he was announced to the ESPN All-American team. Here’s a running list of his rewards/accomplishments:

  • Lott IMPACT Trophy (National Defensive Player of the Year)
  • Chuck Bednarik Award (National Defensive Player of the Year)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (National Defensive Player of the Year)
  • SEC Defensive Player of the Year (AP, Coaches)
  • First Team All-SEC (AP, Coaches, ESPN)
  • First Team All-American (Sports Illustrated, The Athletic, Pro Football Focus, AP, FWAA, CBS, The Sporting News, ESPN)
  • Finalist for the Walter Camp National Player of the Year, the Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker), and Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end of the year).
  • T.J.’s Favorite Defensive Player 2018 (T.J.)

UK vs. UofL comparison:

Seton Hall has played against Louisville and Kentucky. Despite trailing most of the game, the Cards came out on top against Seton Hall, and despite the Pirates trailing most of the game against UK Seton Hall pulled out a win against the Cats. Sports, man.

Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard talked about the differences. Basically, UK is stronger and more physical and the Cards are better shooters. That’s a fair assessment.

Whatever. The Seton Hall game still steams me.

Seton Hall coach on the difference between UK and UofL

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?:

This website suggests that Kentuckians enjoy Elf the most during the holiday season. I like Elf. Not my favorite Christmas movie but it’s definitely in the top five. Maybe in the top three. An instant classic.

But my goodness some of these states are ridiculous. Alaska, what the hell is The Apartment? New Mexico with The Nightmare Before Christmas? Creepy but I respect it. Is Batman Returns even a Christmas movie?


Bleacher Report predicts Penn State covers (-6) against UK

We’re exactly three weeks away from the Kentucky vs. Penn State VRBO Citrus Bowl, and over the next 21 days we’ll see loads of predictions.

Bleacher Report doesn’t predict great things for the Cats. Not only does writer Joe Tansey pick UK to lose, he expects Penn State to cover the six-point spread.

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There’s no explanation on why Tansey picked Penn State to cover -6 against the Cats, and when I reached out on Twitter Tansey didn’t respond.

Penn State (9-3) was 7-5 against the spread this season and the Cats were 5-7.

You can read all of Bleacher Report’s predictions against the spread HERE. Tansey didn’t predict the UofL bowl game because Louisville finished the season 2-10 (1-11 against the spread) and wasn’t eligible to play in a bowl game because 2-10 is a horrible, horrible record.

Kentucky football facilities ranked No. 15 in the nation

The Kentucky football program spent $45 million on a brand new training facility and $120 million on upgrades to Kroger Field back in 2016, and today, they’re receiving national praise for it.

The fine folks over at 247 Sports ranked all of the top 25 football facilities in the nation, and Kentucky came in ranked No. 15 overall.

“See what funneling more money into football brings to the Bluegrass?” they said. “Kentucky might be considered a basketball school, but the Wildcats’ $45 million upgrade to its football training facility in 2016 totaled 100,000 square feet and proves the administration believes in Mark Stoops and his steps toward the future. It paid off in 2018 as the Wildcats won nine games and earned a New Year’s Day bowl berth. Every player’s locker is ventilated with a cell phone charger, lock box and cup holders. For a cool price tag of $120 million, renovated Commonwealth Stadium saw its first fans in 2o17 and initial reviews have been extremely positive.”

We’ve shared the virtual tour of the Joe Craft Football Training Facility several times since it officially opened, but if you missed it, take a look here:

Kentucky is ranked ahead of schools such as USC, Florida State, and Washington, among others.

Here’s the entire list:

  1. Clemson
  2. Oregon
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Alabama
  5. Tennessee
  6. Ohio State
  7. South Carolina
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Texas
  10. LSU
  11. Georgia
  12. Michigan
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Auburn
  15. Kentucky
  16. USC
  17. North Carolina
  18. Florida State
  19. Washington
  20. Northwestern

The 247 article put it best: good things happen when you pump time, money, and resources into something. That something just so happened to be the Kentucky football program, which just had their best regular season in over 40 years and are set to participate in a New Year’s Day bowl here in a couple weeks.

Check out the entire article here.

D.J. Eliot to reportedly join Les Miles’ Coaching Staff

One former Kentucky defensive coordinator is expected to join forces with the Mad Hatter.

FootballScoop reports D.J. Eliot will join Les Miles’ Kansas staff as the Jayhawks’ defensive coordinator.  Eliot spent the previous two years calling Colorado’s defense after a four-year stint as Mark Stoops’ defensive coordinator at Kentucky.

“Wow,” was my first thought upon hearing the news.  My second thought was, “How is the world is that going to work?”  Miles is a notoriously brash, albeit charismatic defensive-minded head coach, while Eliot plays his cards close to the vest, on and off the field.  To say there will be a clash of personalities in Kansas is an understatement.

I don’t know how it’s going to work out in Lawrence.  I guess it’s just a football thing.  I probably wouldn’t understand.

Eliot isn’t the only former Stoops coordinator making news around the coaching carousel.  The Scoop reports Neal Brown is a “strong candidate” to fill the vacancy left by Bill Snyder at Kansas State.

Josh Allen wins Lott IMPACT Trophy for National Defensive Player of the Year

Josh Allen wins Lott IMPACT Trophy for National Defensive Player of the Year

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen has won the Lott IMPACT Trophy for National Defensive Player of the Year.

The four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy were Allen, Ben Burr-Kirven of Washington, Ben Humphreys of Duke, and Christian Wilkins of Clemson.

The award, named after USC All-American and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Ronnie Lott, recognizes the best defensive player in the nation who best exemplifies the IMPACT acronym: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Past winners of the award, which was announced during the 15th Annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Award Show this evening in Newport Beach, California, include Luke Keuchly, JJ Watt, and Jabrill Peppers.

With the award, the University of Kentucky will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund, while Washington, Duke, and Clemson will receive $5,000 for finishing as runner-ups.

Also winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award, Allen is now considered the consensus National Defensive Player of the Year.

The Kentucky linebacker was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous AP All-SEC first-team selection.

Here is the list of Allen’s career statistics:

  • 28.5 career sacks (Kentucky record)
  • 14 sacks this season (Kentucky record)
  • 11 career forced fumbles (Ties Danny Trevathan for UK record)
  • Leads the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss (18.5) and forced fumbles (5)
  • Team-high 84 tackles

And his list of accolades:

  • Lott IMPACT Trophy (National Defensive Player of the Year)
  • Chuck Bednarik Award (National Defensive Player of the Year)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (National Defensive Player of the Year)
  • SEC Defensive Player of the Year (AP, Coaches)
  • First Team All-SEC (AP, Coaches)
  • First Team All-American (Sports Illustrated, The Athletic, Pro Football Focus)
  • Finalist for the Walter Camp National Player of the Year, the Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker), and Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end of the year).

Kentucky commit JJ Weaver visits Louisville

Kentucky commit JJ Weaver visits Louisville

Despite committing to Kentucky just nine days ago, four-star defensive end commitment JJ Weaver took a visit to Louisville this afternoon.

The Moore High School product posted the following picture on his Instagram story:

He followed it up by saying “it’s a business decision,” only adding to the suspense:

According to Rivals’ Dave Lackford, however, Weaver is “100% committed to Kentucky” and only visited as a favor to Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra.


Sources tell KSR that Kentucky isn’t concerned with the visit and still feel “very good” about Weaver signing with the Cats.

If he’s making a “business decision,” he might want to look at what Mark Stoops has done with former two-star recruit Josh Allen. As a top-ten draft pick, the senior pass-rusher is going to be a very, very rich man this spring.

SEC Bowl Season Preview

(Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)

With the regular season now over, it is finally time for Bowl Season! Eleven out of 14 teams from the SEC will be participating in bowls as the conference looks to prove its dominance once again. Below are short previews for all 11 matchups. Current odds will also be given for each game.

Vanderbilt (-3.5) vs. Baylor

Why the Commodores Will Win: Vanderbilt ended the season on a very strong note as they won three of their last four games and demolished Tennessee in their last game. They managed to play all of Kentucky, Florida, and Notre Dame within 10 points and I think that means at least something.

Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn is good enough to give any average team like Baylor fits. Expect Vandy to go to the ground early often. They will try and keep the ball away from the offense of the bears.

Plus, star wide receiver Jalen Hurd has been ruled out for this game and that’s a huge blow for Baylor. He is one of the best skill players on the entire team.

Why the Commodores Will Lose: Baylor has a nice advantage here considering that this is the Texas Bowl and Vanderbilt’s fans don’t travel all that great. This is basically a road game for the Commodores.

Plus, Derek Mason still has not won a bowl game during his tenure and there isn’t any one player on this team that is incredibly special. Despite being a tough team, Mason’s squad still is not all that talented. This a matchup between two teams without a single “great” win on the season. Anyone can win this one.

Prediction: Despite a favorable location for Baylor, I think that Vanderbilt should be favored by more. They simply have a better team and Baylor has lost two of their last three games. I’m taking the Commodores here.

Auburn (-4.5) vs. Purdue

Why the Tigers Will Win: Auburn has had some bad luck this season. They played an incredibly tough schedule, and to their credit they still managed to defeat Washington and Texas A&M despite losing five games.

Jarret Stidham had a bad year, but he still has a lot of talent. Also, Auburn by far has the better defense when compared with the Boilermakers. They have top level NFL talent in the trenches and it will show.

Why the Tigers Will Lose: Under Gus Malzahn Auburn is 1-4 in bowl games which is not great folks. After seeing how Auburn played in their bowl game last year against UCF, I don’t have much faith in this squad. Purdue has a much, much better head coach in Jeff Brohm who happens to be a wizard in preparing for bowl games. I’ve had the opportunity to cover during him during his time at WKU and I can guarantee that the Boilermakers will be ready to play.

Prediction: With Jeff Brohm announcing his return, I think Purdue will have a huge boost coming into this game. I feel much more confident in picking the Boilermakers here. They have the best offensive player on the field in Rondale Moore. He will be the difference maker.

No. 10 Florida (+7.5) vs. No. 7 Michigan

Why the Gators Will Win: Michigan is coming off one of the worst performances by any team so far this season. They were embarrassed in a way against Ohio State that some teams have an incredibly hard time coming back from. At times this year the Gators looked like a special team and they are very battle tested.

Why the Gators Will Lose: Michigan is straight up the better team. There is a real talented gap between these two teams. There is a reason why Florida is one of only two teams SEC not favored in their bowl game. Michigan just went through an entire schedule playing teams who play very similar to how the Gators play. This is just a bad matchup.

Prediction: I’m all over the Wolverines to win this game. There is a reason why a top-ten ranked SEC team is a touchdown underdog in a bowl game. Michigan has more talent across the board, and most importantly they have the better quarterback on their side in Shea Patterson. I don’t see the Gators winning this game.

South Carolina (-4) vs. Virginia                                                                                                                       

Why the Gamecocks Will Win: Much like with Michigan, I think that the Gamecocks have the better quarterback in this matchup, which is huge in bowl games. Plus, Virginia has lost three of their last four games which includes a loss to a very bad Georgia Tech team.

All of South Carolina’s losses this year have come against ranked foes in the SEC and ACC. They played a brutal schedule and still found a way to 7-5.

Why the Gamecocks Will Lose: Their best offensive skill player Deebo Samuel is sitting out this game to prepare for the NFL Draft. That is a very significant loss as Jake Bentley loves throwing to Samuel. Despite losing to several good teams, the only decent team they have beaten this year was Missouri by just two points.

Prediction: If Samuel was playing, I would be picking South Carolina here without question, but his absence will make things interesting. I’m still taking the Gamecocks here mostly because the ACC was terrible this year and Virginia is lucky to be here.

No. 23 Missouri (-7.5) vs. Oklahoma State

Why the Tigers Will Win: Missouri is on an absolute tear right now as they have won four straight games since losing to Kentucky by just one point. Quarterback Drew Lock turned his season around since then and he looks like a possible first round pick now. Plus, this is a bit of a mismatch considering that the Tigers have eight wins and the Cowboys were barely bowl eligible with six wins.

Why the Tigers Will Lose: Their defense is very suspect in my opinion. Despite some decent showings this year, Missouri is still ranked 51st overall in team defense. There will be a ton of offense and points in this game considering how good both teams are on that side of the bowl. In a shootout between less-than stellar defenses, anything can happen.

Prediction: While Missouri isn’t great on defense neither is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are in a rebuilding year and this was a very strange bowl pairing. The Tigers are clearly the better team here and I think it would be a big upset if they lost. I’m going with Missouri here in a blowout win.

No. 19 Texas A&M (-4.5) vs. NC State

Why the Aggies Will Win: This is a matchup between the team that finished second in the SEC West and the team that finished third in the ACC Atlantic. That speaks for itself. Despite being 9-3, the only decent teams that NC State has beaten this year were 7-5 Boston College and Virginia.

Why the Aggies Will Lose: Despite the improved play of quarterback Kellen Mond this year, the better quarterback in this game is for sure NC State’s Ryan Finley who will be an early round draft pick. Plus, if the Aggies lose that would make them 8-5 on the year and Texas A&M lovessssss to finish 8-5 on the season.

Prediction: I’m on the Aggies here. Not only do they have the advantage a playing a decent ACC team, NC State’s best offensive skill player (heard this before?) Kelvin Harmon will be sitting out the bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft. Plus, do not forget that Jimbo Fisher has plenty of experience coaching against NC State. He will pull out a close, competitive win here.

No. 18 Mississippi State (-6.5) vs. Iowa

Why the Bulldogs Will Win: Admittedly, this is a boring matchup. These are two 8-4 teams who lost every one of their games in conference play. Both also play physical football anchored by a tough running game. With so many similarities it’s great for the Bulldogs that they have better talent from top to bottom. They have much better wins on the season than Iowa does

Why the Bulldogs Will Lose: Nick Fitzgerald is a tough quarterback and a great runner of the football. However, he just flat out stinks throwing the football and Iowa has the better quarterback in Nathan Stanley. Iowa could easily win this game if they can control the Bulldogs’ run game and force mistakes out of Fitzgerald.

Prediction: Mississippi State has been all over the place this year. And Iowa is used to playing teams like the Bulldogs. BUT, you aren’t going to believe this, the Hawkeye’s best offensive skill player (Noah Fant) is setting out this bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft. This is a tossup, but I’m going with Mississippi State.

No. 11 LSU (-7.5) vs. No. 8 UCF

Why the Tigers Will Win: This should be obvious to everyone, but LSU just has better talent from top to bottom. UCF has had a great year, but without their program changing quarterback (out for season due to injury) the talent level of the Knights is down. The Tigers should easily be able to win due to this unfortunate circumstance.

Why the Tigers Will Lose: One of their best defensive players in Greedy Williams is sitting this one out because (bet you can’t guess) he will be preparing for the NFL Draft. This could in part equalize the loss of Milton for the Knights. Plus, UCF has more to fight for as they want to prove to the college football world they were shafted when they did not make the playoff. Motivation like this is essential for bowl games.

Prediction: While UCF will be up to the challenge, don’t forget who is coaching LSU. Ed Orgeron always has his players ready to play, and this will be no different. If Milton was playing I would’ve went with the upset, but that isn’t the case so I’m going with the Tigers.

No. 14 Kentucky (+6) vs. No. 12 Penn State

Why the Wildcats Will Win: Josh Allen will be playing, and that is absolutely huge for the Wildcats. UK has been one of the best surprises in college football this year but that’s been for a reason. They are genuinely a good football team that has some impressive victories on the year. Also, they have straight up better top-tier talent than the Nittany Lions do.

Will the Wildcats Will Lose: Penn State has basically played teams like Kentucky all season long in the physical Big Ten so they will be ready for the Wildcats. No offense to Terry Wilson, but the quarterback matchup here between him and Trace McSorley easily goes to Penn State. I’m also confident that coach James Franklin will his team motivated and ready to go.

Prediction: Despite the Wildcats being almost a touchdown underdog, this is another tossup. In my opinion having Allen and Snell available is huge for Kenutucky. However, Mark Stoops has yet to win a bowl game at UK and with a quarterback mismatch like this I have to go with my gut and pick Penn State.

No. 5 Georgia (-11) vs. No. 15 Texas

Why the Bulldogs Will Win: Did you happen to see their performance against Alabama? This Georgia team is absolutely the better team here. This may even be a bigger mismatch than that Florida/Michigan game earlier. Kirby Smart’s team is both better on offense and defense than the Longhorns are.

Why the Bulldogs Will Lose: What will their motivation be heading into the matchup? They could be extremely down on themselves after narrowly missing the playoff. Or they could be motivated to show everyone they deserved to be there. It could either way, but it’s at the very least in doubt right now.

Prediction: Even if they aren’t motivated, I think Georgia will still win this game. This is just a complete mismatch once again in favor of the SEC. There were better teams ahead of Texas that would’ve made for a better game, but this is the one we got. I will be very, very surprised if Georgia losses here. It should be a big win.

No. 1 Alabama (-14) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Why the Crimson Tide Will Win: This is may just be the best college football team of our generation. That should be reason enough. Even after Georgia proved that Alabama can be beaten, they still couldn’t pull off the job. How can anyone expect a team with a defense as bad as Oklahoma’s to win?

Why the Crimson Tide Will Lose: Kyler Murray. That’s how the Crimson Tide could lose. Everyone knows that the best way to defeat Alabama is by having a great, athletic quarterback and that’s exactly what the Sooners have. Plus, Tua Tagovailoa is still banged up. He may be ready to go by then, but I am still worried about that ankle of his.

Prediction: Look, I know that Oklahoma’s defense is not good. However, I saw what they did against Georgia last year. Plus, Murray’s ability to run makes him even more dangerous than Baker was last season. With Tua’s ankle still being uncertain, I’m going with my only huge upset pick of all these bowl games. I think Murray is the perfect player to pull off this upset. I’m sure you all will let me know just how right I am in the comment section. Enjoy!

Prediction for the SEC’s Bowl Record: 7-4.