The KSR State Tour starts today as we begin our trek in Glasgow, Kentucky, doing the show at the Glasgow Country Club. If you are a Kentucky fan (and one would assume you are), then you probably best know Glasgow as the home of Kentucky’s mustache coiffed former point guard Brandon Stockton. But unbeknownst to many of you, Glasgow, Kentucky is full of interesting tidbits and notable features. For instance, did you know that the city’s official website posts a daily picture of one of its citizens, often doing things like the group above (in this case enjoying Shark Week). The pictures are worth looking through as you get a notion of what life is like in a small town and what pictures people are surprisingly willing to allow to go public. You probably also didn’t know that Glasgow has many famous former residents, ranging from a majority of the Kentucky Headhunters to Diane Sawyer to Luska Twyman, the first black mayor in the state of Kentucky. Glasgow has a population of just over 14,000 and in 2007 won the award for “Best Place to Live” from Progressive Farmer magazine, a publication that is delivered weekly to the KSR offices. Deriving from its namesake, Glasgow is also home to the Glasgow Highland Games, a yearly celebration in which people dress up like this guy:
All in all, Glasgow is a great place to live, with a fine golf course that I have been known to score well on and a great Assistant County Attorney named Gabe Pendleton. If you have never visited there, that is ok. There is still time. But until you get around to moseying own down to Barren County, you can spend your time listening to the show tomorrow morning. Ryan Lemond may even wear a kilt.
With little in the way of news, here are eight thoughts on the stories in the KSR world this fine Monday:
UL 13 point favorite over UK: It had been assumed all summer that Louisville would be a big favorite over the Cats, but today’s 13 point spread released by Vegas suggests that Kentucky is getting little respect or belief going into September 2’s game. The spread is probably close to correct, but I think it downplays just how many potential variables exist going into this game. I am trying not to be a homer, but I do think Kentucky has a puncher’s chance in Papa John’s. I do not believe Louisville is nearly as good as many of their ridiculous fans seem to suggest, as losses to Florida International, Marshall and a beatdown in the Bowl game by NC State suggest. Plus, Kentucky will be healthy, has lots of hungry young skill position players and is stewing in a summer of disrespect. Louisville is, and should be, the favorite. But the idea that Kentucky has no chance is faulty and I continue to have a sneaky suspicion that something crazy could happen on that opening game.
Football Positivity: If you missed the radio show the last two days (shame on you), you missed the sweet 80 year old Joanne, who called and was adamant that I had not shown nearly enough positivity about UK football and that needed to change. So I opened up the phones to positive calls and found that yes, there is a segment of UK fans who feel optimistically about this year’s team. As we go into the season, I think concerns about the status of the program should fade. We are what we are at this point and nothing will change between now and kickoff. So why not have good vibes and get rid of the constant air of negativity that seems to surround any discussion about the UK football team? Joanne helped me start it on radio, and I hope the fans can try to move in that direction as well…even if fewer of them do attend the games.
Calipari Brilliant Again: I can’t say enough how smart I think Calipari’s “suggestion” about the rotating five game schedule was today. It likely has zero chance of happening, but the 4 teams that Calipari mentioned joining Kentucky are ALL teams that UK played last year. And they are ALL teams that then left the UK game to play much easier schedules the rest of the year. Calipari’s point is subtle, yet brilliant. Schools expect Kentucky to schedule them so they get the benefit (the publicity of playing Kentucky), but then refuse to play equal games to Kentucky in the rest of their nonconference. Calipari has made that point and when the coaches are asked their response to his suggestion, their inability to agree to a tough schedule will showcase.
Billboard Falls Down: The UL billboard making fun of Lexington was damaged in a storm. Some UL fans still believe that a UK fan had something to do with it. While their conspiracy theories may never be debunked, I do find it hilarious just how important this silly billboard has become to a small group of UL fans online. It is almost as if putting that meaningless symbol up off to the side of an exit in Frankfort somehow exhibits moral or fan superiority. I honestly don’t get it, but it does fit a continued pattern for our friends in Red. They cannot win on the court…so all that is left is to distract. It looks like after today’s news, Mother Nature is as tired of it as we are.
Louisville Mayor Supports NBA Team: I could go on about this for days, but suffice to say that I was very pleased to hear that Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher is going all out to try and get an NBA team to the city. He noted that UL has priority over the Yum Center “for now”, a comment that suggests it could change if necessary. Of all the things that Pitino/Jurich have done in the city, none have made me more frustrated than their decision to use their roles as community leaders to try and shun what would be an absolute godsend for the state of Kentucky. An NBA team would have an economic and social impact on this state that could, depending on the team, truly be remarkable. To fight that, solely to hold some mythic spot as the most important sports figures in the city, is irresponsible and worthy of much more criticism than it ever receives.
Christian Laettner: Is it ok that I have grown to like him a bit? I mean I will never forgive him for hitting that shot in 1992 and generally being a jerk in those days. But after doing the Legends/Villains game last year, the radio interview with me and now the picture with Anthony Davis, he genuinely seems like a good sport and a likable guy. Is it ok that he is winning me over? And the same thing for Bruce Pearl…he will be on ESPN next year and I bet he is REALLY good at it. It pains me to think that Laettner/Pearl may end up being two guys I genuinely root for…what world is this?
The Drake Ring: The story of Calipari giving Drake a NCAA Championship ring has made its way all around the internet and even onto Around the Horn on ESPN. Most people think it is either (a) silly or are (b) outraged that it implies UK must be cheating. Even some UK fans are upset and take the “Who is Drake and why does he deserve one of these?” Settle down. The whole point of what Calipari does is to make UK THE cool program in all of college basketball. And in three short years, we have gone from the least cool place on Earth, where our coach put players in bathroom stalls, to a place that gives top rappers/singers Championship rings. Who cares if Drake “earned” it or is “part of the program?” He didn’t and he isn’t. But guess what did happen…Calipari and UK basketball were talked about everywhere and connected to one of the most important music artists in all the land. Cal gets it, even if you don’t.
We get started tomorrow in Glasgow, Wednesday in Morgantown and Thursday in Bowling Green. I can’t wait to travel the state and more importantly, eat at its random small town restaurants…