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Football Season Coverage
Kentucky won the bye week with a climb up to No. 26 in the rankings and a much-needed break from football to get healthy for the second half of the season. Now it’s on to the final stretch of six games and things are looking much better than anyone could’ve ever imagined. This is arguably the easiest schedule the Wildcats will ever play, but they have to capitalize on the opportunity for an unprecedented season for the program.
Here’s how I rank what’s ahead, beginning with the hardest game of the entire season…
Athens, Ga. | Saturday, November 18
This is the only game on the schedule that Kentucky fans will watch with little optimism. Can Kentucky steal a win down in Athens? Sure, #WhyNot. But Georgia is the third-ranked team in college football right now and Sanford Stadium is one of the toughest road environments in the game, especially if there are SEC East implications on the line.
The five other remaining games are very winnable, and we should go into each one with high expectations.
2. Mississippi State
Starkville, Ms. | Saturday, October 21
Coming in at No. 2 on this list is the Cats’ next game: at Mississippi State. It will be the first road contest in over a month and the Bulldogs opened up as a 10-point favorite in the game.
You’ll have to go back to 2008 to find a Kentucky win in Starkville as the Bulldogs have taken the last three at home; and they had won seven straight in the series, until losing in Lexington on a last-second field goal one year ago.
Lexington, Ky. | Saturday, November 25
Louisville is Kentucky’s third-toughest game on the schedule, although it doesn’t seem too tough after watching the Cards’ last two games. Louisville’s entire season hasn’t been all that impressive, but Lamar Jackson is still Lamar Jackson and he’ll be out for revenge after choking away last year’s meeting in Louisville.
If the game were played tomorrow, I think Kentucky would be favored.
4. Ole Miss
Lexington, Ky. | Saturday, November 4
Ole Miss is fourth, but it’s really Shea Patterson at fourth. The Rebels’ quarterback torched Vanderbilt for 351 yards and four scores over the weekend, extending his lead on the league’s other QBs with 2,143 yards on the year.
Ole Miss has been a tough team to read, but Patterson makes them a real threat.
Nashville, Tn. | Saturday, November 11
It wasn’t all that long ago when Vanderbilt looked like a decent football team. The Commodores knocked off a top-20 team and had one of the best defenses in the country through three games, all wins; then Alabama beat the brakes off of them in Nashville and things haven’t been the same since.
Nashville has been a tough place for Kentucky in recent years, though — the Cats have dropped three straight in that empty stadium Vanderbilt calls home, and Vandy has won four of the last six overall.
This one will be easier to gauge once we see how each team looks when it’s time to play it next month.
Lexington, Ky. | Saturday, October 28
Tennessee is trash. If not for Alabama on the Vols’ schedule this coming weekend, I think Butch Jones would’ve been fired Sunday afternoon. UT will instead keep him around long enough to let him get murdered one more time, in Tuscaloosa, and then consider firing him the week of the Kentucky game.
I’m not sure he’ll make it to Lexington for Halloween weekend. If he does, the Wildcats have the opportunity to close the book on the Butch Jones era of Tennessee football. The end is near, one way or another, because the Vols are not good at football.
By Nick Roush on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 2:30pm
After a Bye Week, Mark Stoops didn’t have as much to talk about in his weekly press conference. Instead of 30 minutes, Stoops spent only about 15 minutes at the podium. It wasn’t filled with Earth-shattering news, but there’s still a few nuggets of information worth noting.
Nick Fitzgerald is One Physical QB
“He’s dual-threat as we talk about all the time. Also, I think he’s just so physical. He’s a big, strong guy. He can throw the ball and certainly can physically handle designed quarterback runs. I just think he’s a tough runner and puts a lot of pressure on ya.”
Scrambling quarterbacks put a lot of pressure on the secondary. When quarterbacks excel at designed runs, Stoops said it makes it even more difficult for the defense.
“It always puts stress on the back end because you have to play with numbers. Especially quarterback run-game and designed quarterback run-game. Not only just pulling the ball down and scrambling, but designed quarterback run game puts a little pressure on the entire defense.”
Gran vs. Grantham Pt. 2
Mark Stoops had nothing but nice things to say about Mississippi State defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the man who controlled UofL’s defense last year.
“They’re disruptive. Todd does a great job. They’re multiple. They’ve always been athletic; just big and long and got good-looking players. They’re very disruptive, and again, I think Todd Grantham does a great job keeping you off balance.”
Those comments make sense. I’d be complimentary of a guy who let your offense score 41 points and rack up 581 yards last year. I’ll let Stephen Johnson say what Mark Stoops couldn’t:
Easy Fixes in the Secondary aren’t That Easy
Mark Stoops said last week that a lot of the mistakes in the secondary were easy fixes. To clarify, they’re easy because they’re simple breakdowns. That’s easier said than done.
“They’re going to put you in a bind. They’re going to put you in stressful situations. You have to be able to win. It’s just fundamentally the breakdowns, that’s what I mean by an easy fix. [It’s] Maybe easy in theory and hard in application at times. That’s a cornerback’s life.
Not that Drake, Drake Jackson.
“He’s brought some consistency,” Stoops said. “He gives us depth. He gives us another number and fundamentally he’s doing a very good job.”
Most importantly, he’s built on what he learned in practice and applied it during games. Some players don’t always respond well under the bright lights, but Jackson has.
“We see them at practice all the time and how a guy responds in a game-like situation is always a little bit different. There’s no replacing game reps. The more reps he gets, the more comfortable he gets, I think the better he’s gonna get.”
A One Week Season
Mark Stoops has never been one to look ahead, even though the Cats currently sit second in the SEC East standings.
“Our players know enough by now that it’s a one-week season. Let’s just take care of business and do the best we can this week. You can’t look ahead. You look ahead and you’re going to get knocked down real quick.”
And That’s the Bottom Line
“The bottom line is we’ve won five games, which is very good. We are doing very good in turnover margin and I think the team has found ways to win when maybe the other side is not playing its best. Finding ways to win and putting yourself in position to win football games is the bottom line. I think this team has done that very well.”
By Nick Roush on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 2:00pm
The Kentucky football team got a much-needed break after five weeks of grueling football.
“We needed some rest.” Mark Stoops said at today’s press conference that a few significant contributors probably would not have been able to play on Saturday.
“We were banged up,” he said. “There was a couple starters who probably wouldn’t have been able to play last week. Overall we were wore down and beat up a little bit.”
Today Stoops did not elaborate on specific players who were injured, but said last week that Courtney Love, Chris Westry and Naquez Pringle were unable to practice. The extra week also gave Jordan Jones more time to heal. The All-SEC linebacker returned to the practice field last week in a non-contact red jersey and was listed on this week’s depth chart as an “or” alongside Eli Brown.
Stoops also had some good news to share about Luke Wright. He did not get into specifics but did say the quarterback has continually improved since his spell on the sideline against Missouri.
“All the reports that are coming back have been positive. Things look good and are looking better. Everything’s been steady since that episode he had on the sideline, so hopefully he’ll continue to recover well. They’re checking to see whether he can travel with us this week.”
Get ready for another night game at Kroger Field. The SEC just announced Kentucky will play Tennessee at 7:30 p.m. ET October 28 on the SEC Network.
Under the lights on Halloween weekend sounds like the perfect way to send Butch Jones out. Here are the rest of the SEC game times for October 28:
After a relaxing bye week, Mark Stoops is ready to address his favorite media friends at Kroger Field. Tune in to hear his thoughts on the upcoming game vs. Mississippi State via the live stream below, courtesy of our friends at KyWildcatsTV:
In Kentucky’s Week Eight Depth Chat Jordan Jones makes his triumphant return. He’s tagged with the “OR” label alongside Eli Brown.
Check out the rest of this week’s Depth Chart prior to UK’s road game at Miss. State.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 16th, 2017 @ 9:00am
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Mark Stoops will preview Mississippi State
The bye week is over, which means Mark Stoops will meet up with his favorite media members at Kroger Field to preview Saturday’s game vs. Mississippi State. Tune in to the site around lunch for a live stream and complete recap, courtesy of Nick Roush.
If you missed it, the Bulldogs opened up as a 10-point favorite. Here’s what they done thus far this season:
We’ll also find out the Tennessee game time
The Volunteers continue to implode, which could make next weekend’s game in Kroger Field especially sweet. Tennessee hasn’t scored a touchdown in ten quarters and are by all accounts a terrible football team; however, I’ve seen enough games vs. the Volunteers in my lifetime to be cocky. I just hope they hang onto Butch long enough so a loss to Kentucky will be the final nail in the coffin.
Speaking of coffins…
Rick Pitino’s fate is about to be decided
As we speak, UofL’s athletics association board is meeting to discuss Rick Pitino’s contract, or, more specifically, terminating it. It still seems surreal that Pitino’s out at Louisville, and today, he’ll have the chance to defend himself, whether it be in person or by video call. Knowing Rick, his lawyers will continue to drag this out to get every cent they can, but today is officially the end of the Pitino era at Louisville, a damning end to the final chapter of a legendary coaching career.
Speaking of Rick…
Did you see that Karen Sypher will be on KSR tomorrow?
She’s the big surprise guest. Tomorrow’s interview is her first since being released from federal prison and she reached out to KSR ahead of other outlets. Yet another must-listen show.
Kentucky Volleyball took down #1 Florida
For the first time in program history, the Kentucky volleyball team took down the number one team in the country, the undefeated Florida Gators. Watch the final moments below, along with the post-match celebrations:
Yeah, that was fun. Let’s relive that historic win at Florida. pic.twitter.com/QplfAko7oS
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) October 16, 2017
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) October 15, 2017
It was a good weekend for basketball recruiting
Zion Williamson and Bol Bol wrapped up their official visits to Kentucky yesterday, and from everything we’re hearing, they went very well. The Cats were already considered the leader for Zion, but the visit moved them back into the driver’s seat with Bol as well. After watching the group of recruits wait by the blue carpet for almost an hour on Friday night, I can tell you that, unlike some of the guys, Zion and Bol ate up the attention from fans and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves (as did 2019 star James Wiseman and 2021 PG Zion Harmon). Hopefully Immanuel Quickley’s tweet from yesterday is further confirmation of all those good vibes:
— Immanuel Quickley (@IQ_GodSon) October 14, 2017
Check out Matt’s post from last night for more good recruiting news, including the latest on Keldon Johnson, who could be the sleeper in the 2018 class:
Shoutout to my big brother
My brother Travis made the family proud yesterday by finishing the Ironman Louisville. In just over 11 hours, he swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran 26.2. Meanwhile, I drove home from Danville, had a piece of pizza and a beer, watched football, and napped. Clearly, he is the badass in the family. Way to go, big bro.
Radio in an hour…
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 15th, 2017 @ 10:45pm
KSR’s own Freddie Maggard was surprised tonight with the “Doug Flynn First” Community Service Award, a trophy given to the Kentuckian who gives back to the state of Kentucky with time, talent, or resources.
Jacob Tamme, Doug Flynn, Mitch Barnhart, and Matthew Mitchell are just a few of the past recipients of the award.
Here was the announcement, followed by Freddie’s reaction to receiving the honor:
— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) October 15, 2017
If you know Freddie, you know the state of Kentucky is engrained in his DNA, and there is not another person in the state that deserves this award more than him. In his free time, Freddie gives back to his hometown of Harlan, KY and the surrounding communities his time, support, and money to help in any way he can.
When he’s not giving back to his hometown and those in need in Eastern Kentucky, he’s helping out those in the Lexington community. Whether it be a close friend or family member, someone in the Big Blue Nation, or a complete stranger, Freddie would give the shirt off his back and every dime in his pocket if it meant someone got what they needed to not only survive, but thrive. He has taken the term “selflessness” to a whole new level.
Freddie has taken me under his wing and has given me opportunity after opportunity to put me in position to succeed, and that is something I am infinitely grateful for. And I am just one of the countless people he has impacted. He’s a role model to everyone that has had the privilege of meeting him, and I am lucky to be one of those individuals.
“You’ve done good, I’m proud of ya, and I love ya”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 15th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
When Bobby Petrino was hired at Louisville for the second time, most UofL fans realized it was a slimy move for a guy that backstabbed the program on the first go around, but realized wins were almost certain to follow.
Following the Steve Kragthorpe era, it seemed as though the program was willing to sacrifice their morals for the sake of success. Little did we know that would apply in more ways than one.
Dan Wolken of USA Today broke down the state of the UofL athletic program in his weekly “Misery Index,” and it was brutal.
Is this a great time to be a Louisville fan or what? The athletics director who built your program from the ground up and shoehorned it into the ACC has been ushered out after yet another scandal. Your legendary basketball coach has gone away in disgrace, leaving behind an uncertain future and potentially crippling fallout from the FBI investigation into college basketball. And that’s less than a year after the 2013 national championship banner was ordered to be taken down by the NCAA for yet another embarrassing episode involving stripper parties and escorts for recruits.
The Louisville brand has been exposed as morally bankrupt on every level. Even its signature accomplishment as the “most profitable basketball program in the country” has been defrocked to some degree, as reporting from the Courier-Journal exposed that the financial picture wasn’t nearly as rosy as the school made it out to be.
You know things are bad in Louisville when Bobby Petrino is the honorable, steady hand in your athletic department.
The new low for Louisville came Saturday in a 45-42 loss to Boston College. And though while the Vegas odds may have indicated this was a huge upset, it wasn’t much of a surprise. The trend lines have been very clear for Louisville dating back to the end of last season when people started figuring out that its offensive line was bad.
Including those games, Louisville has lost six of its last nine against FBS opponents and may legitimately be in danger of missing a bowl game. With road games at Florida State and Wake Forest coming up, there won’t be a huge margin for error on the back half of the schedule.
But Louisville wasn’t the only school of interest on his Misery Index. The Fighting Butch Jones’ of Tennessee also made the list.
Vol fans have mentally moved on from Butch Jones, and it’s likely a good percentage of them were probably rooting for South Carolina on Saturday to go ahead and finish him off. As of Sunday afternoon, that hadn’t happened officially (and may not for several more weeks), but the point of no return seems to have been breached. We have to allow for the likelihood, however, that a coaching search might be even more frustrating for Tennessee fans than the product on the field the last couple years.
Is there a better time than right now than to thank Mitch Barnhart, Mark Stoops, and John Calipari?
More than anything, thank God for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Read the entire USA Today article here.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 15th, 2017 @ 9:30pm
Last year, former Tennessee star running back Jalen Hurd decided to transfer from the school due to his lack of chemistry in the system his and inability to work with the coaching staff. He headed to Baylor to continue his football career, and the Tennessee football program has crumbled into oblivion since.
The fanbase has given up on the season, the coaching staff is hanging on by a thread, and there doesn’t seem to be an immediate resolution to get things fixed.
And this isn’t going to help their problems by any means.
Hurd’s father took to Facebook to give the Volunteer fanbase an insight into the team’s offense and his thoughts on head coach Butch Jones.
It wasn’t a good look…
I really want Butch Jones to still be there by the time the Volunteers come to Lexington, but I find that highly unlikely at this point. Things are an absolute disaster.
Vegas has spoken and they don’t seem to have as much confidence in the Cats. Kentucky will open as a 10 point underdog in their trip to Starkville on Saturday. Speaking as someone who does not know a lot about everything that goes into creating a spread, I do expect for that number to go more towards the Cats favor.
Something to keep in mind is that Mississippi State, unlike Kentucky, has yet to play in a close game. In fact, their closest game of the season was yesterday in their 35-10 win over BYU.
Overall, what does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. I like this team and like their chances in Starkville. Go Cats. Beat Mississippi State.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©October 15th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
Kentucky received votes in the AP Top 25 college football ranking for Week 8.
Thanks to the people over at Reddit, we were able to see who voted for Kentucky.
The people who voted for Kentucky are:
- Lauren Chute, SEC Country – 25th
- Michael Lev, Arizona Daily Star – 24th
- Soren Petro, Sports Radio 810 WHB – 21st
John Clay from the Lexington Herald-Leader did not vote for Kentucky.
Kentucky came in at No. 26 in the Coaches Poll and a win at Mississippi State will guarantee a spot in the Top 25 in both polls.
Spencer Hall, or as everyone knows him as, the guy from Everyday Should Be Saturday was tweeting fire this morning.
lol they probably should be undefeated, this year rules
— BUM CHILLIPS (@edsbs) October 15, 2017
This year does rule.
these are good points, also I'd like to point out:
Kentucky is 5-1 in football https://t.co/LoFQjbeX8w
— BUM CHILLIPS (@edsbs) October 15, 2017
Hall, or EDSBS, was defending Kentucky from people saying Kentucky hasn’t played anyone good and has one-score margin wins against bad teams.
you: the planet is dying, the economy is teetering towards oligarchy, and Kentucky barely beat Eastern Michigan
me: Kentucky is 5-1
— BUM CHILLIPS (@edsbs) October 15, 2017
Oh god, that Kentucky/Louisville game is going to be a tire fire
— BUM CHILLIPS (@edsbs) October 15, 2017
I don’t know what a tire fire is, so to find out I googled it. According to Urban Dictionary a tire fire is “a complete waste of time and money in a graduate school program.”
I don’t really know how that applies to that game, but go Kentucky graduate program.
Also, if you want something entertaining to do, read the replies on his tweets.
Nothing anyone can say can change that fact we are 5-1 and haters gonna hate.
Kentucky was this close to having a number next to their name…
The newest Coaches Poll has been released, and the Wildcats came in at No. 26 in the nation.
They received 64 votes, ahead of schools like South Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech, and… Mississippi State.
After Florida went down last night, the Wildcats found themselves alone at second place in the SEC East behind Georgia.
Win on the road next weekend, and Kentucky will find themselves ranked across all polls.
Let’s get it done.
Six former Kentucky Wildcats will take the field today with Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard having to wait until tomorrow night as they host the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football.
One of the best games of the day features our very own, Randall Cobb, as his Packers try to run away with the NFC North as they travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings.
|Za'Darius Smith||Baltimore Ravens @ Minnesota Vikings||1:00/CBS|
|Avery Williamson||Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns||1:00/CBS|
|Wesley Woodyard||Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns||1:00/CBS|
|Corey Peters||Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams||1:00/FOX|
|Larry Warford||New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers||1:00/FOX|
|Randall Cobb||New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers||1:00/FOX|
|Danny Trevathan||Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears||1:00/CBS|
|Bud Dupree||Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers||4:25/CBS|