Well folks, we finally made it. In less than 24 hours, the college football season will commence, and the agony of the offseason will be history. Say goodbye to your family and all your terrible offseason TV shows–sorry “House Hunters Renovation,” I’m sure we’ll meet again–because beginning at 6 p.m., the 2013-2014 season begins and your weekends will be booked until April.
I’ve always loved college football more than any other sport. The neon green grass, the snap of the snare drum, flags whipping in the wind and that first pop of the pads…to me, that is pure poetry. By the time the first weekend of football rolls around, I’m usually so starved for it I literally shake with excitement. What other sport could get fans out of bed at the crack of dawn to sit in a parking lot and drink all day? On Saturdays in the South, some of the biggest cities are actually stadiums, each with own special ritual, whether it be an eagle circling Jordan-Hare, a bengal tiger scaring the crap out of people in Baton Rouge, or a fat English Bulldog sitting on a bag of ice between the hedges.
The best thing about college football is it’s not just a sport; it’s a way of life, especially in the South, and can only be measured on a Richter Scale of emotion–for us, the sheer high of upsetting the number one team in the country in 2007 to the lowest low of getting shut out by Vandy. We’ve been in the cellar for a long time and the climb is steep, but at least now we’ve got a ladder with all its rungs.
Breathe easy, guys. Football’s back and so are the Cats. And with that, here are the news and views…
Dominic MaGee gets an offer
Emmanuel Mudiay’s commitment to SMU is still sending shockwaves through the 2014 recruiting scene. On Wednesday, we found out that John Calipari has offered another point guard a scholarship: Dominic MaGee, a 6’3â€³, 175 lbs. guard from Louisiana. MaGee fits the mold of a typical Calipari point guards more so than Tyler Ulis; he’s long, athletic, and can either slash to the basket or pull up for a jumper. He’s a lefty with some major speed, and although ESPN ranks him only the 18th best PG in the class, many feel he’s underrated.
Does this mean Cal doesn’t feel good about his chances with Tyler Ulis? Not necessarily. Accoridng to Evan Daniels, Ulis is still a very strong Kentucky lean, despite some rumors that he’s favoring Michigan State. For now, remember those four little words: In Cal We Trust.
James Blackmon comes to town
While point guard remains a big mystery for the 2014 class, the shooting guard position may become a little clearer very soon. James Blackmon Jr. will take an unofficial visit to Kentucky on Thursday with his father, who is a former Cat himself. Since decommitting from Indiana a few weeks ago, Blackmon has been showing some major interest in the Cats, and the feeling is mutual. Calipari has been in constant contact with the talented shooting guard, who will follow up his visit to Lexington with an unofficial visit to Louisville the next day. Along with Trey Lyles, Blackmon is the recruit those around the program feel is most likely to commit, so it’s imperative that he has a good visit on Thursday. Please make him feel welcome.
Cal says Julius Randle will “rip your throat out”
Coach Cal called in to the radio show on Wednesday morning to wish Matt a happy birthday, and gifted Matt and viewers with some tidbits about his new team. When Matt asked him how good Julius Randle was, Cal said “scary. Really scary.” In fact, Cal said he’s got the same killer instinct as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:
“There are guys that have a deer-in-the-headlights look, and there are others that squint their eyes like ‘I’m gonna rip your throat out.’ He’s one of them.”
What’s also scary to Cal? How good the Harrison Twins can be if they play up to their potential.
Maybe that’s what the theme for this team should be: Scary. Really scary.
In my dreams, this is what Za’Darius Smith does to opposing quarterbacks.
Putting Western back in its place
Two years ago, Western linebacker Andrew Jackson gave us the line of the Joker Phillips era when he said of Kentucky, “They supposed to be SEC.” One year ago, the Hilltoppers beat the Cats and celebrated all over Commonwealth Stadium. The upset humiliated UK’s players, and after Western picked up the Bobby Petrino, Hilltopper fans couldn’t stop crowing. Suddenly, the directional school saw itself not as the sweet, silly red blob north of Nashville, but a mid-major player worthy of primetime showdowns. It’s like Big Red took PEDs and has ‘roid rage. Star linebacker Andrew Jackson opened his big mouth again on Wednesday when he said this about the Cats:
“I don’t care anything about them. We’re going to handle them on Saturday. …We just gonna hit ’em in the mouth and get it over with.”
A year ago, maybe. Now, with the first game of the Mark Stoops era less than three days away, UK’s youngest brother better get ready for a reality check. Bobby Petrino is an offensive genius, but when it comes down to it, I don’t believe he has the athletes to run his offense how he wants. Their quarterback Brandon Doughty is coming off a knee injury and has only thrown for 113 yards in his career. Antonio Andrews is good, but so is Kentucky’s front four, who all have images of last year’s upset dancing in their heads. The upperclassman on this year’s squad have been ready for this game for eleven months. Keep giving us bulletin board material, Mr. Jackson. We thrive on it.
The team is ironing out all the nitty gritty details leading up to Saturday’s opener, and as such, there wasn’t a lot of news to report from practice Wednesday. Three things:
— Neal Brown says the quarterbacks have looked “sharp” all week. That’s good.
— The team will wear khakis, a button-down shirts, and sport coats on game day, ties optional. As Stoops put it, “we should look good.” Yes, and fans should go see how good they look at the Catwalk, which takes place at 3:45 p.m. CT at Gate 1 at LP Field.
— Raymond Sanders and Jonathan George want to be known as “Thunder and Lightning” to represent their different running styles. Give us some touchdowns and we’ll call you whatever you want, boys.
Finally, if you haven’t checked out Matt and Drew’s work over on TheOuterCourts.com yet, please do so. There was a long rain delay on Wednesday, which just meant the guys were free to do more random things in the most ridiculous manner possible.
They’ll be back in the morning to get you ready for Saturday’s opener and so will I. See you then.