Hi. Here we are again. Just me and you and a mess of UK stuff to talk about. I know, you’ve had a long weekend. Trust me, so have I. This hurts me more than it hurts you and I’m willing to put on a happy face and go through the motions if you’re willing to fake a smile and applaud when it’s over. Deal? Ok good. Before we get going with some random happenings of the past two days, let’s first take a quick pause and bid a happy birthday to UK’s all-time leading scorer, Dan Issel. Issel, who starred in a much simpler time when people left Tolly Ho with indigestion and not stab wounds, gets started on his 63rd year on the planet today. After his record-setting career with the Cats, Issel and his massive man hands put together a Hall of Fame professional career with the Kentucky Colonels and the Denver Nuggets, which was all the more impressive considering he also played the part of David St. Hubbins in Spinal Tap. And, though he’s fallen on some tough financial times in recent years, it doesn’t make him any less special. At least that’s what this unemployed guy is telling himself over and over and over.
Now onto some quick UK notes…
– Why not start out with a little Enes Kanter and Pete Thamel? What? Sick of it? Sorry. The New York Times issued a correction for Thamel’s October 13th article on Sunday, just 11 days after it was first published. Of course, it’s just an acknowledgement that a quote was about Enes’ brother and doesn’t mention that it was essentially the catalyst for Thamel calling another UK player dumb for no reason, but it’s a correction nonetheless. Here it is:
– Heading into the Georgia game, there was some talk of Kentucky possibly contending for an SEC East title and with the disappointingly flat performance against the Dawgs in the first half, the conversation now drastically changes. Instead of a feeling of cautious optimism, the seemingly ever-present feeling of desperation has returned and it now appears that UK must win three out of their last four games in order to go feel confident about going bowling. Because of the wackiness in the SEC this season, there is a serious possibility that a six-win team will not get a bowl bid and the only way to ensure that does not become the case for the Cats is to win 75% of the remaining games. Obviously, that is not out of the question with Charleston Southern and the two teams they share the SEC East cellar with (Vandy and Tennessee) remaining. But, if we’ve learned anything from Kentucky football, it’s that these things go week to week.
– And, of course, this week the Cats have a Mississippi State team that is deceptively good. In the second season under former Tebow enabler Dan Mullen, the Bulldogs have again looked improved and have taken a 6-2 record (featuring wins over Georgia and Florida) to a top-25 ranking. If you just look at a stat sheet, MSU doesn’t appear to have enough offensive firepower to have put together a top-25 ranking, despite the nation’s 15th-best rushing attack. That’s because, for the most part, they don’t. What the Bulldogs have done, though, is created a nasty, physical defense that is 14th in the nation in points allowed and held Auburn, Georgia and Florida to a combined four touchdowns. It seems a bit simplistic to say that Kentucky can’t afford offensive mistakes and turnovers when that’s essentially the recipe for success in every SEC game, but it holds more true with Mississippi State than it has with any other opponent this season. A tough defense and a strong running game? I think I’ve heard that before…
– For the second game in a row, Randall Cobb had some grievances to air after the game. Instead of targeting UK fans, Cobb took a shot at Georgia and the previous SEC opponents for taking cheap shots at him. Joker Phillips did not necessarily agree with his star player, but did say that he thought that the helmet-to-helmet shot that Cobb took in the South Carolina game should have drawn a penalty. Cobb left the game against Georgia with a hip injury and later returned, but Phillips said he’s still a bit bruised and banged up, much like everyone on the team. Cheap shots or not, you can bet that Mississippi State is going to go banging after #18 very hard on Saturday, just as everyone else has.
– The Cats did get some good news on Sunday as wideout LaRod King said his knee is sprained. King, who earned an infinite amount of man points for hauling in a touchdown catch between two defenders after hurting the knee, appeared to have suffered a much more serious injury on the play. His status is still unknown for Saturday and will be evaluated throughout the week, but it’s clear that if the Cats are going to make a push for a bowl game in the season’s final four games, they will need King to be heavily involved. You could argue (and probably be correct) that no player has shown more improvement from last season or provided as much spark to UK’s offense when they’ve found themselves with their back against the wall. He’s been a very bright spot this year and let’s hope he gets the opportunity to continue to improve on a season where he is tied with Randall Cobb for the fourth-most TD receptions in the SEC.
– Speaking of man points, Danny Trevathan played with bruised ribs against Georgia and still topped the team with 8 tackles. With Matt Pilgrim’s current status in the air, it might be time to transfer his nickname over to Trevathan. He has played beast-like all season long.
– In basketball news, former U of L commit and once rumored to be a potential UK guy Michael Chandler committed to Xavier. Chandler visited campus for Musketeer Madness and apparently fell in love with the “Xavier Football: Undefeated since 1973” mural in the cafeteria.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you all the exciting news that each Monday brings. And we know how much excitment that is. Stick around. We’ll see you in a few…