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Season Never Ends’ Monday News and Views


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Thanks and Go Big Blue!

What an absolutely amazing weekend in UK Athletics. Beginning with the show put on in Rupp Arena on Friday night and finishing with a huge 4th down stop in Auburn on Saturday night, it was celebration time in the Bluegrass this weekend. I have tried to think of a weekend with a better basketball/football double and have been unsuccessful. Whether it was the huge crowd at Madness, the excitement of seeing John Wall debut, the amazing performance by Randall Cobb or the big upset finally coming to fruition in Auburn, there were nothing but highlights all weekend long. While the events have been reviewed here and elsewhere, it is time to look forward. Thus, here is where we stand on both the football and basketball fronts going into the next few weeks:


It is strange to think that one win could change everything, but the reality is that one win has changed everything. Whereas last week, one could have been forgiven if they questioned whether a team without its QB and All-American CB could wrap up the necessary wins to get to a Bowl game, now dreams are starting to run of a potential highly rated Bowl game and the chance to move up in conference prestige. Just a few days ago, 6-6 was not a given….now some are expecting 8-4 and holding out dreams of 9-3. My how times have changed.

Looking at the schedule, a solid finish would most certainly bring about 7 wins. Eastern Kentucky is a given. Louisiana-Monroe is better than people think and it is very important for Rich Brooks to get his team on board and focused, so as to ensure that there is no let down. However one has to expect a victory there as well. Then you have Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, two regular UK opponents, both of whom have been known to play the roll of spoiler in the past. Two years ago, Kentucky was a likely candidate for the Peach Bowl, before Mississippi State beat the Cats in a wet, nasty day in Commonwealth. Similarly last season, the Cats put Vandy in a Bowl game for the first time in years by dropping a game to the Commodores at home. The Dores are down and Miss State is up, but the result against both needs to be the same…wins over teams they should beat.

That would give the Cats seven wins. I certainly hope that this is FINALLY the year we beat the Vols. The Auburn team we just beat on the road, beat Tennessee at home. Looking at UT’s schedule, they might need that victory to get to a Bowl game, setting up a battle in Lexington for the 8th win. That type of battle is one that the Cats could win and would bring joy to the fanbase. The 9th game is at Georgia, which seemed a sure loss earlier in the season, but now is in the realm of possibility after both teams’ performances over the last few weeks. Why not dream?

Looking at the schedule, it is time to do a KSR BOWL WATCH. These predictions are based on this belief: Alabama and Florida will both be in the BCS in some order. LSU will win at least 9 games and will find itself in the Cotton Bowl (which usually takes teams from the West). South Carolina holds a victory over UK and if they win the games they should, would finish with 9 wins. That would place them in the Capitol One Bowl. It is way to early to do this, but it is fun to discuss, so we will anyway. With that in mind, this is how the rest could play out:

9 WINS: If South Carolina were to get upset by either Tennessee or Clemson, UK could find itself in the Capitol One Bowl (formerly the Citrus Bowl). If not, it ends up in the Outback Bowl vs Wisconsin, a New Years Day game for the Cats and a HUGE accomplishment.

8 WINS: Lots of variables come into play if the Cats win 8. Does Ole Miss finish with 9 (their current projection) and then jump the Cats? Does Georgia finish with 8 and have a victory over UK? Lots of unknowns here, but 8 wins…which is very possible considering the schedule…probably puts UK in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta vs Georgia Tech on New Years Eve…which would be fun.

7 WINS: The Cats should take care of business and get to 7 wins. If that happens, they are likely back in the Music City/Liberty tier again, and probably are destined for the Music City in this rotation. That would mean a game in Nashville vs North Carolina.

6 WINS: If the Cats make the mistake they have in years past and let either Miss State or Vandy pull of a shocker, they are likely destined for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La vs Texas Tech. This was my prediction for them at the beginning of the season, and I hope to be wrong.

Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Texas Tech. I could get behind all of those. So thats where we are…it is fun to think about, isnt it?


With all the hoopla and hype surrounding the Big Blue Madness this weekend, it was easy to forget that now serious preparations for the season have begun. Between Media Day and Madness, I had a chance to speak with three people around the program about the state of the team and players going into the start of practice. Surprisingly, all basically told me the same thing, which made me think it had to be the case. Some themes that emerged:

(1): This team is quick

During my conversations over the weekend, the word “quickness” was spoken by everyone. Dick “Hoops” Weiss, who has seen more basketball than all of us put together, got to watch practice for two days and told me that “John Wall is the quickest player I have ever seen at Kentucky.” High praise indeed. One source told me that Calipari knows about the concerns this team has on defense but that his way around it is simple….”score 80-85 a game by pace and then it will be 95 if anyone learns to shoot even a little.”

(2): Everyone has the potential to play

I will freely admit that the first time I heard everyone could get playing time, I was skeptical. But this mantra has been repeated to me by multiple people who would know to the point I believe it. Here is how one person put it to me, “basically there are six guys that I can guarantee you will be in the rotation…Wall, Bledsoe, Patterson, Cousins, Miller and Orton. Because of the lack of shooting, Dodson is likely #7. After that, it is situational and there are battles. Liggins and Harris will play when defense matters…Hood when offense matters…Harrellson when we need shooting…Perry when we need length inside. Krebs may see time depending on the situation. Every player will have to stay ready because in any given game, any could player could play.”

(3) Shooting is a Major Issue:

For every person that has seen this team play, the same refrain continues. Shooting is a major concern. As one person put it, “we only have three guys who can hit the three consistently in the flow of the game, Dodson, Harrellson and Krebs…and Dodson has been shaky this fall. It is a problem.” They alleviate a lot of this concern because they believe that their quickness and athleticism will be able to dominate most teams, but the development of some shooters is necessary. Those in the logjam of playing time (especially Liggins, Harris and Hood) should never leave the gym…if they show they can shoot, they will play.

(4) Players are Rising and Falling:

This should be expected and is fluid. The coaches were a bit disappointed with the Seniors this summer for not showing leadership (one missed a number of workouts during the summer). But now they feel Ramon Harris has turned the corner and along with Daniel Orton, has shown the most improvement over the past month. They are very happy with Jon Hood and say he has become a contender for playing time. There is some disappointment with Cousins’ conditioning and Dodson has not adjusted well yet to the pace at this level. There are ups and downs for all players however, except….

(5) Wall and Patterson Have been Amazing:

Everyone around the team says the same thing…these two guys have been great. Everyone expected it out of Patterson, although all the guys away from UK last year say he is better than they expected. His jumper is more consistent and they have high hopes for what he will show this year. As for Wall, his athleticism and talent are stupendous, but his maturity is better. They credit Wall for a lot of the early success of Bledsoe and Cousins and believe his leadership has helped them on and off the court. One national journalist told me this weekend, “the best one-two punch in America this year, bar none.” I agree.

So there you go…a lot of stuff on a lot of topics. We will have more all day and tonight we will have a LIVE BLOG with the BLOGGER FINALISTS and I. Will, Chris, Jared and Patrick will each do 20 minutes and I will do 30, beginning at 7:30. It should be fun and is a chance to discuss all the topics above. Stay tuned, including more on the fallout from the big recruiting weekend that just ended.

Article written by Matt Jones