With the Thunder and Spurs on, lets make this thing quick:
— The big news this week involves the various proposals being bandied about at the SEC Meetings in Destin, Florida. In football, there is some movement to make the schedule harder for the teams in the conference, in large part as a way to maximize appearances in the new playoff format. It is very likely that the SEC will soon adopt a policy that forbids teams from playing FCS opponents in future years. Those games are usually a guaranteed win (unless you are Florida playing Georgia State) but can take a huge hit on strength of schedule for the team and the conference. IF that happens, it will make the scheduling alter a bit as all games will need to be against teams in conferences like the MAC and Sun Belt, both leagues that UK usually goes up against. However another change being talked about could be of even bigger importance. If the league continues to stay at eight games (which it looks like it will), the current requirement of playing one other “Big 5” team might go up to two other “Big 5” teams (Nick Saban wants all Big 5 teams but that seems unlikely). If that happens, Kentucky will be forced to add another major program besides Louisville to its schedule. It is likely this would only happen if the leagues decide that 5-7 teams will be bowl eligible, thus minimizing the pain of a loss to a second power team. Does that mean another renewal of the Indiana series? Who else would you like to see Kentucky play?
— Another thing to watch from the meetings is just what the league’s opinion is going to be on the continued move towards autonomy from the big 5 conferences. The Big Ten, ACC, Pac 12 and Big 12 have all talked about the possibility of creating their own set of rules along with the SEC and it will be interesting to see if the league comes out of this meeting with an opinion on the issue. IF that happens, the Power 5 could start giving more benefits to players (potentially including cost of attendance type money), which could further separate the leagues from the rest of college sports. It is the biggest potential change in college athletics in my lifetime and is worth paying attention to. If it were not for the NCAA Tournament, that probably would have already happened. With the amount of money involved and the pressure hitting the leagues from all sides, it may end up happening anyway.
— One rule being talked about that could have a very positive impact on UK football is the creation of an early signing period in football like in basketball. This could be huge for Mark Stoops and his staff, who have shown a real ability to identify talent early and be able to get commitments to the Cats from guys that other schools have not yet found. An early signing period could help them get those players locked up and not be at the behest of late poachers at the college football powers. My guess is that Stoops and company are definitely in favor of the plan and the SEC will take a league position by the end of these meetings.
So there is much to watch in the days ahead as the league takes a position on some issues that will define the next couple of years. In other news, I am taking two weeks off starting Friday and thus we will have some radio fill-in hosts during my time away. It really is a great lineup and I hope you will make sure to check them out while I am gone:
KSR RADIO GUEST HOSTS
Monday JUNE 2: Replay of the UL Pregame/Wisconsin Post game Shows
Tuesday JUNE 3: ESPN’s Seth Greenberg
Wednesday JUNE 4: “Cougartown’s” Josh Hopkins
Thursday JUNE 5: Tony Vanetti and Drew Franklin
Friday JUNE 6: UK Women’s Coach Matthew Mitchell
Monday JUNE 9: The comedians The Sklar Brothers
Tuesday June 10: CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel
Wednesday June 11: CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein
Thursday June 12: Former UK Quarterbacks Tim Couch/Jared Lorenzen
Friday June 13: UK Offensive Coordinator Neal Brown and Assistants Vince Marrow and Jimmy Brumbaugh