Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A New Arena In UK’s Future

Lwcat
Wildcats Thunder Executive Moderator

Recently, UK fans were surprised to learn that early planning will now begin regarding the construction of a new basketball arena for the Cats. While Wildcat fans have been consumed with excitement of a new basketball season under their new head coach, Billy Gillispie, it’s fair to say that thoughts of a new arena were not on any fans radar. However, now that fans have learned of the planning of a new arena, many have weighed in with their thoughts concerning size, location, name, etc. Indeed, there are a number of very big decisions that must be made concerning a new UK arena.

First, let’s take a look at past arenas in UK history.

UK’s Alumni Gymnasium opened in 1924 seating 2,800 (26 yrs)

Memorial Coliseum opened in 1950 seating 11,500 (26 yrs)

Rupp Arena opened in 1976 seating 23,000 (31 yrs to date)

Also, let’s look at the size of various other arenas around the US.

North Carolina;s Dean Dome Arena opened in 1986 seating 21,572

Tennessee’s Thompson Bowling Arena opened in 1987 seating 24,535

Indiana’s Assembly Hall opened in 1972 seating 17,357

Syracuse’s Carrier Dome opened in 1980 seating 33,000 (Football is played there as well)

Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena opened in 2007 seating 16,000

Ohio State’s Value City Arena opened in 1998 seating 19,500 (Has 52 luxury boxes)

Arkansas Bud Walton Arena opened in 1993 seating19,200

Charlotte Coliseum opened in 1998 seating 23,446

Cleveland’s Gund Arena opened in 1994 seating 20,562

Columbus’s Nationwide Arena opened in 2000 seating 19,500 (NCAA games played)

New York’s Madison Square Garden opened in 1968 seating 19,763

As one can see, college and pro arenas generally seat around 18,000-24,000. This should give everyone some perspective regarding general arena size throughout the US.

Having said that, UK is unique in regard to it’s long standing phenomenal fan support….the Cats lead the nation in attendance virtually every year. Because of this fact, most UK fans want to see UK build a new larger arena. In fact, the initial proposal is for the building of a new arena seating at least 24,000, but possibly as high as 27,000-30,000.

Personally, I would like to see a new UK arena seat as close to 30,000 as possible. Now, I know there are well meaning UK fans who want a new arena to seat 40,000-50,000. I fully understand their wishes for an arena big enough that many more fans can see the Cats. However, I just don’t see that big an arena as practical. First, it would cost a king’s ransom to build…..it would require more land……and you simply couldn’t avoid having thousands of bad seats where binoculars would be needed to see the players. Also, while UK fans are the most passionate anywhere, there would be times, such as so so opponents….week night games….when a 40,000 seat arena would have lots of empty seats. I understand that lots of UK fans will disagree and I respect their views, but I strongly believe that the initial proposal of evaluating a new arena seating between 24,000 –30,000 is what will eventually occur. As I said, I do hope that the new arena will add at least 5,000-7,000 additional seats. A 30,000 seat arena would be huge and the largest pure basketball arena in the entire US!

The location also brings up very strong feelings among UK fans. Many want an on campus arena while others find a downtown arena acceptable. For me, either would be fine and I understand the reasoning of both viewpoints. However, early comments from the Mayor and UK president would strongly indicate that the new arena will be built in downtown Lexington. They make a strong case for a downtown arena by including other projects and improvements in downtown Lexington. It would be a plus for downtown Lexington and I believe that UK feels a deep sense of responsibility to continue to support the downtown area.

Naming the new arena will also bring up serious disagreements. As we all know, newer arenas are often taking corporate monies and using a corporate name on the arena. We recently saw on a smaller scale that Joe Craft, who generously donated 7 million toward the new UK practice facility, have the facility named after him. It’s far too early to get a handle on what the name of the new arena might be, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a corporate name because of the great need for financial assistance. For me, I would like to see a large statute of Adolph Rupp outside the new arena. There is no question that Adolph Rupp laid the very foundation for UK basketball and made UK basketball the juggernaut that it has become over the years in college basketball. So, it is fitting that the Rupp name be placed in honor within the new arena.

The time frame initially given is to have the new arena built no later than 2015, possibly sooner. Frankly, I am very excited about the prospect of a new state of art basketball arena for the greatest basketball program in America. For those of you who have not been in the newer arenas built within the past 5-10 years….it is virtually night and day improvements over the older arenas. I have been in the new Ohio State arena which is flat out beautiful with private luxury boxes. It’s hard to explain how much progress has been made in building arenas since Rupp Arena opened in 1976. As much as we all loved Memorial Coliseum and Rupp Arena….it is indeed time to build UK a new arena. Rupp Arena will be nearly 40 years old when the new arena opens. It would be great to see the the new arena open by 2012-2014.

Obviously, there will be a lot of serious discussions and important decisions made over the next 2-3 years as they decide on the location, size and name of UK’s new arena. In the meantime, it’s now basketball season and Cat fans are now concerned on what happens inside Rupp Arena under our new exciting coach!

Suppose Gillispie signs Liggins, Miller, Singleton

Messenger
Wildcats thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

As I have suggested throughout the offseason, Coach Gillispie appears ready to sign a three-man class in November. This probably will not change unless our staff believes Jared Carter's career cannot continue for medical reasons. If that happens, a fourth prospect could be added to the class, probably in the spring.

Gillispie already has verbal commitments from G Deandre Liggins and F Darius Miller. There is currently a firm UK scholarship offer on the table to F Chris Singleton, but my source says all other unconditional offers have been withdrawn for now with the possible exception of J'Mison Morgan's (but Morgan may now be leaning toward another school).

BTW, Ralph Sampson's scholarship offer was pulled by Gillispie when Sampson did not verbal to UK at Midnight Madness. Shortly thereafter, Sampson committed to Minnesota.

Singleton's recent visit to Lexington went well, so Gillispie will not place his crosshairs on another prospect until he knows what Singleton will do. If Singleton is headed elsewhere (e.g., Florida State), and/or if he appears to lose interest in UK in the days ahead, then Gillispie must make a final decision on Kansas City center prospect Garrett Stutz, who likes UK but does not yet have a firm UK scholarship offer in hand.

Given all of this, it looks like UK's November signing class will be....

Liggins, Miller, and Singleton

....or....

Liggins, Miller, and Stutz

....or....

Liggins and Miller

In any of these three scenarios, there will remain a fair chance of another prospect joining the class later by way of a spring signing.

Today's question for discussion is....what would you think about a November class of Liggins, Miller, and Singleton?

FWIW, here's my answer to this hypothetical (for now) question. I think that particular three-man class would upgrade UK's roster ina major way, would turn out to be one of the nation's top classes, and would be a nearly-perfect fit with UK's long term personnel needs. I believe each of these three kids has a chance to become an all-SEC basketball player at UK. All three run the floor really well. Liggins is a combo guard with terrific athletic tools and a chance to become a lockdown defender. Miller is the big, athletic WF Gillispie needs in order to implement his system. Singleton has the highest athletic ceiling of the three. Singleton is considered a WF prospect now, but should fill out into a multidimensional "4" over the next 12-18 months. If Gillispie signs these three players, look for a 2008-09 lineup of:

C - P. Patterson (M. Coury/M. Williams)
PF - C. Singleton (A Stewart/P. Stevenson)
WF - D. Miller (R. Harris)
WG - J. Meeks (A. Legion)
PG - D. Jasper (D. Liggins/M. Porter)

That roster has no weaknesses. With this lineup, Gillispie can play full court basketball and great defense, which is exactly what he wants to do.

SEC Bowl Eligible Teams

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

At this point it seems every SEC team has a chance at bowl eligibility other than Ole Miss. That makes 11 teams eligible for the post season.

Just because a team gets to 6 does not make them a lock for a bowl game. Any team with 7 wins HAS to get the nod over a 6 win team.

Here is how things play out the rest of the way. Beneath the teams I will give you IMO their realistic record and worst case record.

UK (6-3)
Open, @ Vandy, @UGA, UT
8-4
6-6

South Carolina (6-3)
@Ark, Florida, Open, Clemson
7-5
6-6

Florida (5-3)
Vandy, @SC, Fla Atl, FSU
9-3
8-4

Tennessee (5-3)
La Laf, Ark, Vandy, @UK
9-3
8-4

Vandy (5-3)
@UF, UK, @UT, Wake
7-5
6-6

UGA (6-2)
Troy, Aub, UK, @GA Tech
9-3
8-4

Alabama (6-2)
LSU, @MSU, La Monroe, @Aub
8-4
8-4

Arkansas (5-3)
SC, @UT, MSU, @LSU
7-5
5-7

Auburn (6-3)
Tenn Tech, @UGA, Open, Bama
9-3
8-4

Miss St (5-4)
Open, Bama, @Ark, Ole Miss
6-6
6-6

I did not include LSU based on the fact they have 7 wins and Ole Miss since they have one win.

Taking the worst case scenarios here is what we have:

Bowl Game
LSU
Florida
UT
UGA
Bama
Auburn
Sitting on the fence at 6-6
UK
SC
Miss St
Vandy

If UK ends at 6-6 they WILL NOT get an invite IMO b/c they would have finished with 5 straight losses and losses to SC, MSU and Vandy who would end up at 6-6.

The game at Vandy IS the biggest game for Rich Brooks. UK has to keep the positive momentum with recruits and getting to consecutive bowl games. A loss at Vandy will make it hard to get this group back up IMO.

They have to come out and play with a sense of urgency and aggressiveness.

I think the week off will allow them to get their heads right!

SEC BOWL GAMES

BCS - SEC Champ
Capital One - SEC 2nd Place

Bids 3-5, in no order go to:

Peach
Cotton
Outback


Bids 6-7, in no order go to:

Liberty
Music City


Bid 8

Independence

I guess there is a possibility a SEC could get a bowl bid if another conference does not have a team with enough wins to qualify.

It looks like we have 6 locks and 4 other teams battling for two spots as of today.

SEC Standings 10/31/07

East
Georgia (10) 4-2 6-2

Tennessee (24) 3-2 5-3
South Carolina (23) 3-3 6-3
Florida (18) 3-3 5-3
Kentucky (24) 2-3 6-3
Vanderbilt 2-3 5-3

West
LSU (3) 4-1 7-1
Alabama (17) 4-1 6-2
Auburn (19) 4-2 6-3
Mississippi State 2-3 5-4
Arkansas 1-3 5-3
Mississippi 0-6 2-7

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Late October UK football recruiting update

Messenger
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

I just returned from a two week business trip to California, a beautiful state which is unfortunately on fire at the present time.

This post is the latest in a series.

As predicted here for more than a month, Frankfort athlete EJ Fields and Texas lineman Osaze Idumwonyi committed to Coach Brooks while I was gone. First, I want to discuss those two prospects as well as three subsequent commitments (Cartier Rice, Deaunte Mason, Donte Rumph).

EJ Fields is a tall, lanky athlete with excellent speed, who needs to get thicker and stronger in a D-1 S&C program. For this reason, Fields needs a redshirt season. Fields can also use a redshirt year to work on technical aspects of his WR skills, including blocking, route running, and the mechanics of catching and securing the football. For a number of reasons, including playing several positions at Frankfort HS, Fields has not received the intensive instruction in these receiving skills that many receiver prospects have already begun to master at the HS level. Nonetheless, UK's staff does envision Fields as a receiver. I mention this because other websites will tell you Fields is a DB. The truth is that Fields has the basic athletic tools of a WR, but he is not built like a safety, and he does not have the basic physical tools of a CB. The kid will be developed as a WR and kick returner at UK. Because of his speed, he has a shot to be a good one. But he needs to work hard because....as John Logan taught us....speed alone does not make a good receiver. But OTOH, you can't teach Fields' type of speed either.

Other websites may tell you that Osaze Idumwonyi is an OG. The truth is that Idumwonyi's first shot at UK will be at DT, because he is a very strong, well-leveraged young man with good feet. He has a chance to be a player like Shane McCord, Myron Pryor, or Lamar Mills. If the DL doesn't work out, his fallback position is center. But I think this kid will stick at DT and become a solid SEC defensive lineman. He is brutally strong, and his best football is ahead of him. Watch him develop under Rich Petri at UK.

The recent verbal of CB prospect Cartier Rice is not a surprise....exactly....but it wasn't really predictable either. Rice is a much better prospect than his two stars suggest. In fact, some observers believe he is one of the better cover CB prospects in the South this year. I'm honestly not sure why Rice gets two stars while a prospect like Charles Whitlock gets four. Rice looked hard at several SEC schools plus Rutgers. He has a lot of good offers. UK's victory over LSU turned him toward the Cats. He could play as a true freshman, but UK's current quality depth at CB might afford him the luxury of a redshirt next year.

Frankly, I have never believed Deaunte Mason would be a Cat. That one surprised me, but I think it makes a lot of sense if you look at Mason as a so-called "athlete". And now that he is a Cat, I am not sold on Mason as an SEC QB. Yes, he has the right kind of frame and athleticism to be a QB. And, yes, he is tearing it up this year for Pearl-Cohn HS. However, Mason's pocket skills are very raw, and I do not foresee him beating out Curtis Pulley or Matt Lentz at UK. I suppose I could be wrong about that, though. If Joker Phillips wants to make a transition to mobile running threats like Pulley and Mason in UK's QB rotation, then maybe Mason could be ready to compete for UK's QB job as a third year soph in 2010, after Pulley is gone. But the fact is that Mason has a terrific physical skill set for a SEC WR. And UK is going to need some big, fast WRs after Keenan Burton and Steve Johnson have graduated. And if Joker wants to use Pulley as a QB (which is what I am hearing now), then someone else has to play WR. Mason would be a good candidate, because he is big, fast, and very athletic. So I think Mason probably redshirts in 2008 and gets looks at WR and QB. In the end, he could play either, but that probably depends on the progress of Pulley, Lentz, and Hartline. BTW, Mason can also punt and kick. He isn't Ryan Tydlacka, to be sure, but he is a pretty darn good kicker.

Last night, Donte Rumph verballed to UK. Rumph is a DE at Calhoun County HS, but he will redshirt and be developed as a DT at UK. At a legitimate 6'3", Rumph has the frame to be 280-290# by 2009. He is a very good prospect, and UK stole him from Clemson and South Carolina. Rumph could turn out to be one of UK's better defensive linemen in some time.

Let me take this opportunity to suggest why everyone should ignore the so-called "stars" on these kids....

....because they are all solid SEC prospects. UK's coaching staff has a great eye for talent, and UK's success this year on the gridiron is opening up more talent to them than ever before.

It is only a matter of time until instate prospect Winston Guy becomes a member of UK's class. Guy is currently committed to Arkansas, but that verbal came during the summer, before UK beat Arkansas in Fayetteville. Sources at Catholic HS say Guy is now a strong UK-lean. Guy could be developed as a safety or WR at UK. Brooks' staff is also talking with Lexingtonians Aaron Boyd (Henry Clay HS) and Terrell Combs (Bryan Station HS), and both have UK in their top three. Much has been written on the internet to suggest Boyd is headed out of state, but my source believes Boyd will eventually become a Cat. Boyd could play as a true freshman. Combs may also be turning toward UK, but that remains somewhat unclear at this time. Although other websites will tell you that Combs is a LB prospect, I believe he may grow into a DT after a redshirt.

Bowling Green HS TE Ryan Wallace still has a UK scholarship offer on the table, but will probably have to take it in the next few weeks or lose it. If Florida TE Sean Stackhouse were to publicly commit to UK, Wallace could become the odd man out. Even if Stackhouse goes elsewhere, the clock is ticking on Wallace's opportunity in Lexington because of scholarship numbers. However, Uk's staff will give Wallace every reasonable chance because of their connection to the Bowling Green HS staff (Wallace's Daddy is the coach).

Louisville DE/LB Dexter Heyman and offensive lineman Sam Robey still have UK scholarship offers on the table, but neither is expected to verbal soon. Heyman is still probably a UL-lean, and Robey could possibly end up at Purdue.

Pleasure Ridge Park DT Brandon Newman remains a firm Notre Dame verbal.

Memphis LB DeAndre Jones will choose between UK and Stanford, and all indications suggest UK has the advantage at this time. Keep an eye on DT Arterio Arnold (Greenville, SC), DE Taylor Wyndham (Swansea, SC), and DE Willie Bohannon (Mobile, AL), all three of whom have UK in their top two schools.

With that said, UK's February class could end up looking something like this....

1. Gene McCaskill, ATH, Chester, SC

2. Randall Cobb, ATH, Alcoa, TN

3. Chandler Burden, OL, Oxford, OH

4. Matthew Smith, OL, Louisville, KY

5. David Ulinski, OL, Louisville, KY

6. Trevino Woods, OL, Athens, GA

7. Ryan Benzick, OL, Fern Creek, KY

8. EJ Fields, ATH, Frankfort, KY

9. Winston Guy, WR/S, Lexington, KY

10. Deaunte Mason, QB/WR, Nashville, TN

11. Osaze Idumwonyi, DT/C, Cedar Hill, TX

12. Donte Rumph, DL, St. Matthews, SC

13. Cartier Rice, CB, Duncan, SC

14. Aaron Boyd, WR, Lexington, KY, Matt Roark, ATH, Acworth, GA, Corey Heard, WR, Atlanta, GA, James Hamilton, ATH, Cedar Hill, TX, or BJ Daniels, ATH, Tallahassee, FL

15. Ryan Wallace, TE/DE, Bowling Green, KY, Sam Robey, DE/TE/OL, Louisville, KY, or Sean Stackhouse, TE/DE, Jacksonville, FL

16. Arterio Arnold, DT, Greensville, SC, or Terrell Combs, DT/LB/FB, Lexington, KY

17. Taylor Wyndham, DE/LB, Swansea, SC, Michael McAdoo, DE, Antioch, TN, Dexter Heyman, DE/LB, Louisville, KY, Willie Bohannon, DE/LB, Mobile, AL, or TL Walker, DE, Maryville, TN

18. DeAndre Jones, LB, Memphis, TN, Eric Everhardt, LB/DE, Suwanee, GA, or Marcus Nedd, LB/DE, Tucker, GA

Perspective needed after disappointing loss

Messenger
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

Everyone is disappointed following UK's disappointing Homecoming loss to Mississippi State yesterday. (FWIW, so am I.)

As I read fan posts on various internet sites, I am seeing new calls for various members of UK's coaching staff (including both coordinators, and even Coach Brooks himself) to be replaced. I see fans questioning this team's heart and character. These posts are not just coming from a few troublemakers, either. There is a lot of that stuff out there right now. I think it is time to put all of this in perspective....again.

This is Rich Brooks' fifth season at UK. Brooks took the job when UK was on NCAA probation, and his first roster had less than 60 scholarship players. Brooks is coaching in the toughest football conference in America. His seasonal records in Lexington are:

  • 2003- 4-8
  • 2004- 2-9
  • 2005- 3-8
  • 2006- 8-5
  • 2007- 6-3
Last December, Brooks gave UK its first bowl victory since 1984. In his last 22 games as UK's HC, the old man is 14-8. He had his 2007 team bowl-eligible by the middle of October.

Football is a competitive sport. Opponents don't lay down just because your team is ranked. In competitive sports, some days are filled with triumph and excitement. Others bring disappointment. Famed sportscaster Jim McKay called it "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat".

After UK's Music City Bowl victory last December, Brooks told the team that they would have to play harder in 2007 because every opponent would be gunning to beat them. Brooks was right. Until yesterday, these Wildcats have done a remarkable job of getting up for every game. Some fans may wish to attribute yesterday's Homecoming loss to poor coaching or lack of heart from this team and staff. To put it bluntly, though, those fans are crazy and spoiled. Six turnovers in one half nearly always spells defeat....especially in the SEC....but most of those turnovers can be attributed to Andre Woodson desparately pressing to bring the Cats back from a difficult deficit on the scoreboard under constant pressure in the pocket, and/or to young, inexperienced Wildcats handling the football when more experienced players were on the bench with injuries. When a QB sets an all-time national record with over 300 passing attempts between interceptions, that sort of tells you he is pretty good about taking care of the football. When he gets intercepted three times in one half, that tells you he was pressing. It doesn't mean he wasn't trying very hard to win the game. It certainly doesn't mean he has no heart. And in the case of Jacob Tamme....here you have the SEC's best TE fumbling the football in a game turning situation in the second half. Look at the tape. Tamme was trying to pivot out of a tackle and make a big play. Tamme is one of the better football players in the conferenmce, and one of the best at UK in a long time. He has won a lot of football games for this program. Yesterday's fumble came because Tamme tried desparately to make something good happen. It doesn't mean he has no heart.

Prior to the start of this season, I predicted seven regular-season victories and another Music City Bowl invitation. While recognizing this is a better and more experienced football team than the 2006 Wildcats, I also feared the severity of this fall's schedule. Prior to September 1, I saw very few internet opinions that were more optimistic than mine.

Then, UK knocked off UL and Arkansas in back-to-back weeks in September. After that, fan expectations instantly rose to the level of SEC Championship and Heisman Trophy discussions. It is interesting to look back on that perspective now, because....in reality....UL is 5-4 and Arkansas is 5-3. Both are good football teams, but certainly not as good as we thought in September. Still, IMO, those victories showed what this UK team can do when it is healthy. Then, in the victory over #1 ranked LSU on October 13, this team showed true grit when it was not so healthy (and back in the more familiar underdog role).

But, now, this team is at a medical tipping point. Star RB Rafael Little has been out for an extended period of time with a leg injury. Tony Dixon missed yesterday's Homecoming game with a shoulder injury. Freshman RB Derrick Locke missed about half of yesterday's game after injuring his ankle. Although Alfonzo Smith played, he showed the effects and rust of a serious ankle injury and a paucity of PT this fall. Keenan Burton (UK's best WR since Craig Yeast), starting CB Paul Warford, and co-starter MLB Micah Johnson also missed the entire game. Star safety Marcus McClinton missed the second half after injuring his shoulder. Still rusty after missing September with a wrist fracture, CB EJ Adams played poorly. Football is a game of injuries, and good teams play through them. But, IMO, the loss of UK's best WR and three best RBs certainly explains a lot about the team's poor offensive performance yesterday, and anyone who expects this team to overcome those losses without skipping a beat is unrealistic.

It is time to point out that the only other UK coach who approached Brooks' back-to-back 2006-07 success in the last two decades was Hal Mumme in 1998-99. Mumme cheated in order to accomplish that, and this football program is just now beginning to overcome the NCAA sanctions incurred by Mumme's staff.

Remember, UK hasn't been invited to back-to-back bowl games since 1998-99, and Mumme lost both of those games.

Moreover, UK hasn't been ranked in the Top Ten since the 1970s, and those teams were also recruited illegally by Curci's staff.

So Brooks and his staff deserve a little bit of patience and respect here.

SUMMARY

I am not worried about this team's heart. They have a lot of it. But I am worried about the toll of a mounting list of injuries and being in the national spotlight for the first time. I am at least as disappointed as anyone else by yesterday's Homecoming loss. But while many UK fans are strangely questioning this team's heart and this staff's competence now, very candidly, I think those kinds of public remarks betray a fan base that is spolied by UK's historic basketball success, and has not yet learned how to support a successful football program.

Frankly, I am finding other questions to ask. Such as....

* How long will Coach Brooks stay on the job? (The man will turn 67 years old next August and, frankly, UK needs this staff to remain intact for another year or two, while the loss of this fine senior class is overcome.)

* Can UK hold onto heir-apparent Joker Phillips long enough to move Joker into the job as Brooks eases out of it? Or will Joker eventiually have to take someone else's money while Brooks stays on in Lexington into his 70s to pursue Bear Bryant's career victory record at UK?

* Will Rafael Little play again in the regular season? If so, will he be effective?

* Why have UK's special teams committed so many critical turnovers in recent weeks? Why has Coach Ortmayer's unit covered kicks so poorly this fall, even with Masthay's improved distance and hang time?

Coach Curry used to call the perpetually-negative corner of the UK fan base the "Fellowship of the Miserable". Curry heard from the FOTM a lot, because he didn't do a very good job of managing UK's football program. Nonetheless, Curry was basically correct about this radical component of UK fans who like to talk about the "Curse of the Bear". These people are the true "curse" on UK's football program. I don't think we have very many of them on this website, but I believe many moderate fans can still be influenced by that ridiculous attitude when things don't go as well as we want. And, obviously, the LHL loves to fan those negative flames.

UK is 6-3, with a bye week available now to get some of these injured players back and get over the Homecoming letdown. The October schedule was tough on this football program, but they did manage to bump off the nation's #1 team on national TV on October 13. (It's amazing how quickly people seem to forget that.)

The November schedule is also formidible, but OTOH it presents some historic opportunities. A victory over Vandy on November 10 would give the Cats seven wins, equalling their regular season total for 2006 with two games still to play. (No UK football team has won more than seven football games in a regular season since 1984.) The following week, the Cats will play Georgia in Athens. UK hasn't beaten Georgia between the hedges since 1977....but this is their best chance in many years. After that, UK has a great opportunity....at home....to snap a 22 game losing streak to the University of Tennessee. As things are shaping up this fall, a victory over Tennessee might knock the Vols out of a piece of the SEC East title. That would be sweet.

These Wildcats seem to play better when they are underdogs. That's another reason to be optimistic about November.

Andre Woodson will not win the Heisman Trophy, but it is a great step forward for this program that a UK player is being seriously mentioned in connection with the greatest individual accomplishment in college football. An eight- or nine-win season might not satisfy those UK fans who wistfully dreamed of an SEC Championship...and maybe even a national championship....just a few weeks ago. But it would be a very significant step forward for this football program. It would secure a nice bowl bid and a formidible recruiting class. And under the circumstances in which we find ourselves this Sunday morning, a big, sustained effort will be needed from this football team throughout the month of November in order to accomplish this. So this team is at a crossroad now, and it needs all the support we can muster.

It certainly doesn't need a resurrection of the Fellowship of the Miserable, or another public discussion about the Curse of the Bear.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Implications of the UK/MSU loss

Messenger
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

At the inflexion point of a football season that could have been UK's finest in 30 years, today the Cats have dropped a Homecoming Game to one of the SEC's weakest football teams. The final score (31-14) reflected the total domination of UK by the Bulldogs today. The Cats now drop to 6-3, and have now lost three of their last four games.

Don't get me wrong. At 5-4, Mississippi State is now one win from bowl eligibility. The Bulldogs beat Auburn in September, and are obviously a formidible opponent (like any SEC team). But Sylvester Croom's team was dismantled last week by West Virginia. When you are driving toward a bowl, you have to beat teams like Mississippi State on your own home field. Today, Kentucky could not get the job done.

Why did Kentucky lose? I will give you four answers: (1) Too many key injuries, (2) Way too may turnovers, (3) Poor play by UK's OL throughout this game, (4) Poor first half defensive effort. If you saw this game, you won't need any further explanation. If you didn't see it, I'll just say that UK was missing too many players who sat out with injuries. Rafael Little, Tony Dixon, Keenan Burton, Micah Johnson, and Paul Warford didn't play today. Alfonzo Smith and EJ Adams, who recently returned from injuries, played poorly. Derrick Locke and Marcus McClinton missed a large part of this game with new injuries. Andre Woodson was intercepted three times today. Woodson was under constant pressure because UK's OL could not get anything done. There were four UK fumbles, and the Cats lost three of those. In the first half, Mississippi State's offense did whatever they pleased, because UK's defense could not stop the Bulldogs. Mississippi State's time of possession in the first half was three minutes longer than UK's.

On the surface, this game looks like a regression, with UK's OL playing like they played at less fortunate times in recent years, and with UK's defense giving up a huge offensive performance by an opponent that was only able to score 13 points against West Virginia last week. But more than anything, this game represents a medical tipping point, at which the Wildcats' recent deluge of injuries to key offensive skill-position players and defensive backs has simply taken too large of a toll on the team's ability to rally against physical SEC opponents.

UK has a bye week on November 3, which comes at a very opportune time. If this team cannot get its key players healthy, November could become a very difficult and disappointing month for this football program. On the positive side, the Cats still have an opportunity to win nine games and go to a top bowl, ending their long losing streak to archrival Tennessee in the process. After all that has happened, that would certainly represent a positive ending to a complicated season. And no matter what happens, UK is already bowl-eligible.

But OTOH, all three remaining games are problematic. With a two-game losing streak and the prospect of all those injures casting a very long shadow in spite of the bye week, the Cats will have a tough task on their hands when they visit Nashville on November 10 to play a Vandy team that soundly beat South Carolina just a week ago. UK will also be solid underdogs between the hedges on November 18. Then comes the Tennessee game, and UK hasn't defeated the Vols in 23 years.

I hearken back to 1965, when Charie Bradshaw's Wildcats won six of their first eight games behind the stellar play of QB Rick Norton, RB Roger Bird, and all SEC lineman Sam Ball. On November 13 in the Astrodome, Norton injured his knee. The Wildcats dropped their last two games to Houston and Tennessee. In that two-game stretch, a key injury converted a potentially great season into a slightly above average season. That's how easily it can happen. I'm not saying here that UK's 2007 football team is headed for that same fate but, clearly, that possibility exists now unless UK's players rally to the occasion and leave everything on the field in November.

Bottom line....UK is already bowl eligible, but the Cats can still finish last in the SEC East. Under the circumstances, that would be a huge step backward for a program that was on the verge of national stardom just two weeks ago. But OTOH, three great opportunities still remain to close out the 2007 season on a strong note, win a great bowl invitation, and secure a solid recruiting class. This is a huge test of our senior class, and....make no mistake about this....also a career-defining challenge for each and every member of UK's coaching staff. Above all, this is a historic crossroad for a UK football program that has strived for improvement for two generations, but has never quite been able to get over the hump. With Coach Brooks turning 67 years old before the 2008 season will begin, something positive needs to happen to this program in the next month.

Poll Result: Is it time UK fans stop rushing the field after a big win?

With the fans rushing the field and causing the University of Kentucky to be fined thousands of dollars and the possibility of some fans even being hurt. We ask the question, Is it time UK fans stop rushing the field after a big win? Out of 122 votes 85 was Yes and only 37 votes was No.

Is it time UK fans stop rushing the field after a big win?
YES 85 (69%)
NO 37 (30%)

Friday, October 26, 2007

The "BCS" flaw

kyfanaticus
Wildcats Thunder Member

Hello, I believe a playoff system is needed, and necessary. Tho I don't feel that the BCS or Bowls have failed. They are positively not broken, in fact nearly perfect except for a small flaw that can be fixed.

For the most part, they have attempted to put the best teams together each year. Conferences jumped in adding teams and Championship games for money and BCS connections. Everyone got their say to a degree, writers, coaches, computers. All put together by the BCS. It really is the best system we have ever had to attempt to crown a Champion.

A huge sacrifice was made tho not apparent then. It looked so good having a way to get the 2 teams into a championship game. Fast forward a decade plus later. There have been a lot of doubts. Restructuring of the voting members and voter pools leaving the BCS. Suspect inclusions to the title. Supposed elite teams getting blown out. Undefeated teams of quality and legitimate claims being left out. Special rules to include Notre Dame, and later Mid-Majors. Its not the fault of the BCS, and yet it is. Why? "Parity" This season more than most. College football has never been better for us fans, it has evolved and grown enormous, more bowls than ever. The level and quality of teams today as well as the athletes, everything is bigger and better. All because of the BCS.

Thus the flaw, the BCS didn't get bigger and better its still the same.Over a decade ago the pool of talent went to the elite schools. Today all the schools have talent. The BCS was designed to select just "2 teams from a Few, Not 2 teams from a Bunch." Such a large number of near equal teams of legitimate quality and claim, makes it very difficult at best, near impossible other times. Today "Parity" has fogged the issue. Now we see the flaw.

I believe I have a solution using " Father Fanacitus Fix " that evolves the BCS into a playoff system, yet keeps it intact with minimal changes.

THIS WEEKS ELITE 8

"Father Fanaticus"
Using the rules from my system on my web page, which is under construction. These 8 teams are seeded and selected from pools by the 4 bowls for the National Championship.

BCS Bowl Playoffs
Week 1 - New Years Day

Fiesta Bowl
Arizona State
vs
Oklahoma

Rose Bowl
Ohio State
vs
Oregon

Orange Bowl
Boston College
vs
West Virginia

Sugar Bowl
LSU
vs
Virginia Tech

Thursday, October 25, 2007

UK Hoops SEC Media Day comments

The University of Kentucky womens Head coach Matthew Mitchell addressed the media Thursday at the SEC Media Day in Birmingham,Ala. Seniors Chante' Bowman and Samantha Mahoney also answered questioned at the SEC Media Day. The UK womens team was picked to finish in SIXTH place in the 12 team SEC this season.

Coach Mitchell, Bowman, Mahoney comments:

On becoming Kentucky's head coach ...
"It's been a great journey to get to where I'm at right now as the head coach at the University of Kentucky. I started out working at Pat Summitt's basketball camps, and it grew into a great relationship between us. Coach Summitt and Mickie DeMoss gave me the opportunity to get into college basketball, and for that I'm very grateful."

Senior guard/forward Chante Bowman
On the team's practices so far this preseason ...
"We are making a lot of progress in practice. We are very intense and we are working hard on both our offense and defense."

Senior guard Samantha Mahoney
On teamwork ...
"We've been working hard as a team. We want to accomplish our goals together. We are working hard on that everyday."

2008 UK Baseball Schedule and Ticket info

February 22 Fri Xavier (Coca-Cola Classic) Mobile, Ala. 12:00 pm
February 23 Sat South Alabama (Coca-Cola Classic) Mobile, Ala. 10:00 am
February 23 Sat Fairfield (Coca-Cola Classic) Mobile, Ala. 1:30 pm
February 24 Sun South Alabama (Coca-Cola Classic) Mobile, Ala. 1:30 pm
February 26 Tue Oakland Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
February 27 Wed Oakland Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
February 29 Fri Butler (DH) Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 1 Sat Butler Lexington, Ky. 12:00 pm
March 2 Sun Butler Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
March 5 Wed Evansville Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 7 Fri Purdue Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 8 Sat Purdue Lexington, Ky. 2:00 pm
March 9 Sun Purdue Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 11 Tue Eastern Michigan Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 12 Wed Eastern Michigan Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 14 Fri Alabama Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 15 Sat Alabama Lexington, Ky. 2:00 pm
March 16 Sun Alabama Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
March 18 Tue Morehead State Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 21 Fri Auburn Auburn, Ala. 5:00 pm
March 22 Sat Auburn Auburn, Ala. 2:00 pm
March 23 Sun Auburn Auburn, Ala. 1:00 pm
March 25 Tue Xavier Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
March 28 Fri South Carolina Columbia, S.C. 7:00 pm
March 29 Sat South Carolina Columbia, S.C. 4:00 pm
March 30 Sun South Carolina Columbia, S.C. 1:30 pm
April 2 Wed Western Kentucky Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
April 4 Fri Mississippi State Lexington, Ky. 4:00 pm
April 5 Sat Mississippi State Lexington, Ky. 6:30 pm
April 6 Sun Mississippi State Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
April 8 Tue Louisville Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
April 11 Fri Georgia Athens, Ga. 6:30 pm
April 12 Sat Georgia (FSN) Athens, Ga. 4:00 pm
April 13 Sun Georgia Athens, Ga. 2:00 pm
April 15 Tue Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio 6:30 pm
April 18 Fri Florida Lexington, Ky. 6:30 pm
April 19 Sat Florida Lexington, Ky. 6:30 pm
April 20 Sun Florida Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
April 22 Tue Louisville Louisville, Ky. 6:00 pm
April 23 Wed Western Kentucky Bowling Green, Ky. TBA
April 25 Fri Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. 5:00 pm
April 26 Sat Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. 1:00 pm
April 27 Sun Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. 12:00 pm
May 2 Fri LSU Lexington, Ky. 6:30 pm
May 3 Sat LSU Lexington, Ky. 2:00 pm
May 4 Sun LSU Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
May 6 Tue Wright State Lexington, Ky. 6:30 pm
May 9 Fri Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn. 7:00 pm
May 10 Sat Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn. 4:00 pm
May 11 Sun Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn. 2:00 pm
May 12 Mon Murray State Paducah, Ky. 5:00 pm
May 15 Thu Ole Miss Lexington, Ky. 6:30 pm
May 16 Fri Ole Miss Lexington, Ky. 1:00 pm
May 21-May 25 Wed-Sun. SEC Tournament Hoover, Ala. TBA

Season Ticket Renewals Now Available; Ticket Sales are Underway for the 2008 Season
Kentucky Baseball season ticket holders can now begin to renew their season tickets for the 2008 season. For more details call (859) 257-1818 or visit UKathletics.com

UK Baseball Cats will play in Annual Fall World Series

The University of Kentucky baseball team, will hold its annual Blue-Black World Series Friday. Below is the time the games are scheduled to start each night.

Projected Game Times
Friday (Oct. 26): 4:05 p.m.
Saturday (Oct. 27): 9:05 a.m.
Sunday (Oct. 28): 12:05 p.m.
Wednesday (Oct. 31): 3:15 p.m.

Comments by Coach Cohen:

“I think our kids are excited about it,” Kentucky head coach John Cohen said. “We divided up our seniors and four-year players and let them do a draft. It is really interesting to see them coach themselves and go through a draft. It is a great evaluation for us to see who the kids want on their team, when push comes to shove. It is really interesting to see when they put in their own offensive and defensive signs, who they want to pitch first, and how their batting order is going to be. You know, with 26 positional players and 13 on each team, it makes it extremely interesting to see how this is going to come out. We are excited about it and it will be a great time for our players. The draft was almost anti-climatic -the tough part was dividing up all the seniors on each side.”

Pre-Season ALL-SEC Team and Favorite to SEC


FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC TEAM
Richard Hendrix, Alabama F 6-8 265 So. Athens, Ala.
Patrick Beverley, Arkansas G 6-1 180 So. Chicago, Ill.
Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State G/F 6-4 230 Jr. Nashville, Tenn.
Chris Lofton, Tennessee* G 6-2 200 Sr. Maysville, Ky.
Shan Foster, Vanderbilt G/F 6-6 205 Sr. Kenner, La.

SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC TEAM
Steven Hill, Arkansas C 7-0 245 Sr. Bronson, Mo.
Charles Rhodes, Mississippi State F/C 6-8 245 Sr. Jackson, Miss.
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU F 6-7 230 Jr. Denham Springs, La.
Dwayne Curtis, Ole Miss C 6-8 262 Sr. Chicago, Ill.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee F 6-7 215 So. Pulaski, Tenn.

Eastern Division
Tennessee* (30) 180 10-6 24-11
Kentucky 142 9-7 22-12
Florida 103 13-3 35-5
Vanderbilt 98 10-6 22-12
Georgia 69 8-8 19-14
South Carolina 38 4-12 14-16

Western Division
Arkansas (18) 168 7-9 21-14
Miss. State (10) 148 8-8 21-14
Alabama (1) 111 7-9 20-12
Auburn (1) 94 7-9 17-15
LSU 63 5-11 17-15
Ole Miss 46 8-8 21-13


(First-Place Votes in Parentheses; *-unanimous selection)

2007-08 Pre-Season Media Favorite

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007-08 UK Lady Wildcats Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Cl. Exp. Hometown (High School)
00 Carly Ormerod PG 5-8 Jr. 2L Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy
1 Eleia Roddy F/C 6-3 Jr. 2L Columbus, Ohio/Independence.
2 Chelsea Chowning G 6-0 Sr. 3L Berea, Ky./Lexington Catholic/Xavier
4 Sarah Elliot C 6-6 Sr. 3L McKee, Ky./Jackson County
5 Carly Morrow G 5-11 Fr. HS Chattanooga, Tenn./Chattanooga Girls Prep
10 Ali Lomax G 5-9 Fr. HS Lake Oswego, Ore./Lake Oswego
11 Samantha Mahoney G 5-10 Sr. 3L Detroit, Mich./West Bloomfield
12 Lydia Watkins G/F 6-1 So. 1L Hopkinsville, Ky./Christian County
15 Brittany Edelen F 5-9 So. 1L Springfield, Ky./Washington County
20 Chante' Bowman G 5-11 Sr. 3L Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech.
21 Jenn'e Jackson F/C 6-1 Jr. 2L Radcliff, Ky./North Hardin
24 Amber Smith PG 5-5 Fr.. HS Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven
25 Amani Franklin G 5-11 So. 1L Decatur, Ga./Redan
32 Catina Bett C 6-5 Fr. HS Gadsden, Ala./Gadsden City
34 Victoria Dunlap F 6-1 Fr. HS Nashville, Tenn./Brentwood Academy

UK Women Hoops Fan Day

The University of Kentucky women's basketball invites the fans to their inaugural "UK HOOPS FAN DAY" at Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 25, 2007. The event is free to the public and will have games, music, free posters, an autograph session along with a Blue and White scrimmage. The doors will open a 6:00pm.
For more details on CLICK HERE

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Inside info from BCG Clinic and Practice

truebluebrandong
Wildcats Thunder Member

Just wanted to post and inform you guys of what I saw at BCG's coaching clinic and what I observed from watching practice.

First things first, I assure you that they are the best conditioned team in the country. They look to be in top condition already. I attended Tubby's Clinic last year and I swear to you guys the difference is night and day. We will not be dragging in the closing minutes of a game, we will never tire. Secondly, Coach G has a rule that if a player or players dive on the floor for the ball or makes a hustle play the whole team must run over to help them up.......yes the whole team. If they are even a second late getting there he rips into them. Several times he said "Your teammate makes a great play and sacrifices his body, run over there and help him up, don't be selfish". When a player messes up continuiously he simply puts them on the steps. He is very intense during practice. BCG loves man to man......the 2-3 zone days are over. BCG get's right in the action during practice. He simply squats down and oberves the action. Players are going a hundred miles an hour right on top of him and he never blinks and eye or worries about getting toppled in the fray. Players are getting constant instruction. He puts a coach at both ends, two on the side lines, and then works the midcourt voleyball line by himself. His practice are the most intense I have ever seen. When practice is over he makes sure he acknowledges every player before they leave the court. Ladies and gentleman we have ourselves a winner. I had a conversation with a coach from Texas and he told me "He's the real deal, he'll recruit the fire outta this state and Texas. You guys are gonna love him."

Now for what I observed from the players

Bradley is definetly ready to lead and looks sleek and fast.

Crawford is progressing slowly back to health but has lost weight. BCG loves to ride Crawford and Bradley.

Meeks is a stud and BCG frequently rode him over his defense.

Patterson is SEC fresman of the year material...I think he will be one of the best freshman in the country.

Legion is so fast and smooth and will be a sniper. Jasper still showed me no sign of sticking a jumpshot. Coury is going to play some this year folks...he's really working hard. I though Stewart and Stevenson looked sharp and Porter seems to be loving this physical man to man philosophy. Mike Williams is big but slow....his touch however is nice around the basket. In my opinion the starting five will be Bradley, Crawford, Meeks, Stevenson, and Patterson and they will be running and gunning. Look for Legion to provide some spark off the bench and I think BCG will use hi bench to wear down opponents. Kentucky will be the surprise team of the country folks....remember I said that. If I was a UT fan or a Gator fan I would be trembling in my boots. The SEC will recognize rather quickly that BCG is not Tubby Smith and that Kentucky has gotten it's priorities in line. I'm telling you people without a doubt we hired the best young coach in the country. He understands what it means to be the coach at Kentucky.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Thoughts on the UK vs. UF game

Bluecharger
Wildcats Thunder Member

One thing for sure I'm no sports writer but one thing I do know is something about football. The comments I am about to make is thoughts I had at the game and not thinking about it after the game or the drive home.

The first thing I notice in the game was how easy it was to fake our jocks off. For instance Tebow shuffle to end zone and then pass over the lineman after the defense backs took the bait. You have assignments and you have to stay with them and trust in the other guys to do there job. The lineman in this case has the hole pugged up. But Tebow fake running with a few shuffle steps and then pass right over our guys.

Our guys went for head fakes and belly fakes all day. The first thing you are taught in tackling drills is to keep your eyes on the player numbers. Those spins from the running backs would have not been gainers if we keep our eyes on the numbers of the jersey. Arm tackling was a big factor. We didn't hit as hard as we did against LSU and I think we where on the tired side. Taken the fakes and arm tackling are my proof on this point.

The offense did enough to win this game. I just love Locke and I think he will be a big time player for UK. We won the battle of the books on offense. This week practice show focus on tackling and keeping your eyes on the jersey numbers just the basics of tackling and if we can get this down then we can win out. But this is not the first time I have notice our tackling skills and we have to get this down to win out. Linebacker and I may get heat on this one but we have to get a stud here and run the middle linebacker with two outside linebackers. Having two linebackers over the tackles is not going to win the national title for us. We have to get a stud and in a hurry anyone know a hard nose guy coming out of high school who has no fear. Defense line have to keep the offense lineman from going out and taken out the linebackers because the linebackers have to fill those holes. I love my trip to Kentucky and I aways will be a Cat Fan no matter what. One other thing Brooks does have guts that fake was almost perfect. Good call just 1/2 yard short. We have a Team who can win the rest of the games if we can learn to hit them in the chest and not be fake out. By the way a bunch of guys from Bowling Green took me in and I had a great time at there tail gate party. Never know what good people you will meet in Kentucky or should I say UK fans.

Thanks so much for letting me enjoy Wildcats Thunder and I enjoy you all. Go Cats.............. Remember I'm no sports writer.

Southeastern Standings 10/22/07

East
South Carolina (15) 3-2 6-2

Florida (9) 3-2 5-2
Georgia (20) 3-2 5-2
Kentucky (14) 2-2 6-2
Tennessee 2-2 4-3
Vanderbilt 2-3 4-3

West
LSU (3) 4-1 7-1
Alabama (22) 4-1 6-2
Auburn (23) 3-2 5-3
Arkansas 1-3 4-3
Mississippi State 1-3 4-4
Mississippi 0-5 2-6

Numbers in Parenthesis is poll ranking.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

GOTW: LSU vs UK Jan. 24, 1970

As we prepare for another season of UK basketball, I believe it’s time to get back to watching some vintage – all-time great basketball.

I believe there is no better way to do that than to watch a classic encounter between Kentucky and LSU from January 24, 1970.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for me – as someone who watched Pete Maravich and the 1969-70 Wildcat team live – is to ask that you watch “The Pistol” play a game that many today emulate – but were shocked and amazed by in the late 60s and early 70s.


What is hard to convey is that Pete Maravich’s “game” was totally new stuff. Perhaps today’s athletes do some of what you’ll soon see every trip down the court. What you may not know is that what is considered the norm today was different, new, and even called “hot-dogging” when the great Pistol Pete did it. There is one shot that Maravich makes over Larry Steele on the baseline that was unlike anything I had ever seen in 1970. He was pushed out of bounds in the air…gathered himself…floated back toward the court…righted himself back in bounds...and made what was an almost impossible shot for what turned out to be a three point play I believe.(Pitured right: Dan Issel defends against LSU's Pete Maravich)

It may read like “ho hum,” or “big deal.” Well…at the time it was. You’ll get a better view of that shot in one of the video links I’ll share at the end of this write-up.

We were – and still ARE – Kentucky basketball fans first and foremost. In the late 60s, we wore Chuck Taylor’s, tight white socks, crew cuts and a legendary TEAM. He represented everything we weren’t; Pro Ked and Adidas, those great sloppy white socks, shaggy hair, and the greatest show on earth all by himself.

In this Game of the Week, you’ll see a great team performance from UK. This UK team broke 100 points 13 times that season and averaged nearly 97 points per game! Though truly one of Kentucky’s all-time great teams, one has to wonder however what they would have been like if Mike Casey had played that year. Casey was so good that it was HE who shared the cover of Sports Illustrated the year before with Pete Maravich – and not his fellow classmate Dan Issel. During the summer before his senior campaign he was involved in a car accident that ended his season before it began. Casey suffered a broken leg and Coach Adolph Rupp’s last chance at NCAA title #5 took a major body blow.

As has been pointed out many times, Coach Rupp made sure that as long as Maravich got his shots and points, he would make sure the rest of the Tigers wouldn’t beat his Wildcats. That happened this Saturday afternoon too. Maravich poured in 55 points on 44 shots from the field. UK on the other hand was led by Issel’s 35, and four other ‘Cats who scored in double figures, helping to see that a Pete Maravich-led LSU Tiger team never defeated Kentucky.

One of my favorite times in a ballgame that I’m watching on TV comes when the announcer lets the action speak for itself. Typically, we have that happen at the end of a game when one play will decide the outcome and the play by play announcer says something along the lines of “we’ll let the crowd tell you how it ends.”

I tend to believe that this is how the Staff of Wildcats Thunder should act this evening as we proudly present the highest scoring team in the history of UK basketball playing host to the greatest scorer in college basketball history.

There will be no announcer for this classic.


Enjoy the Game by Watching Here

UK vs LSU Boxscore Saturday, January 24, 1970

Game Video courtesy of Blueworldorder Wildcats Thunder Administrator and write-up and pictures courtesy of Bogansback2basil Wildcats Thunder Administrator. So pictures courtesy of Jon Scott's Site.

NOTE: Pistol Pete links...

Pistol Pete Link

Pistol Pete Video

Pistol Pete Breaks NCAA Scoring Record Picture

Fun facts about Pete Maravich's college career...

  • Pete Maravich is the ONLY player in NCAA history to average more than 40 points per game in each of three seasons.
  • Although Maravich played without the benefit of a shot clock or the three-point field goal -- his season scoring averages were 43.8, 44.2 and 44.5 during his varsity seasons in Baton Rouge.
  • Maravich scored 50 points or more 28 times and 40 points or more 56 times while at LSU!
  • On December 22, 1969, Maravich made 30 out of 31 free throws against Oregon State. Still an NCAA record and two more than the NBA mark held by Wilt Chamberlain and Adrian Dantley.

Florida vs Kentucky Football Recap

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

Team comeback made a valiant effort after falling behind 18 in
the 2nd half but could not make the plays they needed to win.

After listening to call-in shows and reading the net today I find it almost comical people wanting to blame the loss on the officals. Repeat after me... OFFICIALS DO NOT GET YOU BEAT!

Here are things that did get UK beat yesterday.

1. Tied 7-7 UK drives inside the UF Florida only to take two huge sacks and miss a 48 yard FG.

2. UK cuts the lead to 14-10 with ~1:30 left in the 1st half only to have UF run the kick back to somewhere around the UK 40.

3. UK is usually pretty good coming out of the tunnel in the 2nd half. Their opening drive was an ugly 3 and out. Masthay then shanks a 26 yard punt giving UF another short field.

4. UK cuts the lead to 7 with 10 or 11 minutes left and the crowd just out of their minds. UF procceds to ram the ball down UK's thoat. What makes this worse is they convert 2 or 3 1st and 15.

5. Reliable Trevard Lindley gets beat on a 65 yard TD play and struggled alot giving up slant routes for 1st downs. (I'll take him on my team everyday of the week.)

6. The rush UK put on LSU seemed to no-existent. IMO they were too concerned with Tebow taking off and did not seem to get up field as aggressively as they did vs. Flynn and LSU.

7. Rafael Little was MISSED!!! He would have taken alot of pressure off the OL and AW by taking swing passes and screens to keep the pass down. We need the kid healthy to finish off what is currently a great season.

8. 3rd down defense. IIRC from reading the box score UF was 7-11 on 3rd down. That ain't going to get it done!!!!

UK needs to come out next week verse a dangerous Miss St team and get them early. A bye week is much needed and follows the next week. Uk needs to get healthy and ready for a Vandy team on the road that beat SC on the road. This now gives Vandy a winning record and hopes for post season play. UK's next games are anything but walkovers.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tribute Video To Billy "Clyde" Gillispie

Tribute Video To Billy "Clyde" Gillispie's Debut Season As The Men's Basketball Head Coach At The University Of Kentucky! The title of the video is Wildcat Nation by Dustin "Bub" Smith. Enjoy and get ready for an exciting season. GO BIG BLUE!

Florida vs Kentucky College Football Gameday

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

The mighty Florida Gators along with ESPN GameDay in tow visit the beautiful Bluegrass state this Saturday.

Wanna’ guess which team already has two conference losses? Yep, Florida! The loss to LSU is not so shocking due to the fact it was played in Baton Rouge. The Auburn loss came at home. I must say the second one was very surprising. Of course, none of that means a thing once the teams take the field Saturday.

1.Can UK get their feet back on the ground after the huge win verse LSU? Unless they want to get rolled they better! We’ve talked all season about the maturity level of this team and I think they are mentally ready to play. Physically? The loss of Raffy Little hurts. How healthy are Johnny Williams, Jason Leger, Marcus McClinton and Alphonso Smith? The Gators had an off week to get well.

2.How does Florida respond after two straight conference losses? I wish the Gators played NE State last week than been off. The Gators had a tough week off by losing one of their players in a motorcycle accident. (Prayers to the young man and ladies family.) Were they focused in practice or did they understandably mourn the loss of a teammate and friend?

As UK fans we know any offense that runs the spread option with a mobile QB is not our favorite site. Florida presents UK with the perfect QB to run that system. Like Tim Tebow or not but the kid is a winner and a hoss at 6-3, 235. Throw in, IMO the best player in the SEC in Percy Harvin and things get pretty rough.

UK is going to score verse the Gators. They are too good not too. While LSU was big and strong the Gators present UK with more speed to worry about. I think UK will be able to run the ball which only helps slow the rush on Andre. Keenan Burton is due a huge game. After being sick last week I look for KB to shine once the lights come on.

Which defense gets the big stop/turnover? Which defense can hold the other to 3 once they reach the red zone? Which team makes it a two horse race with South Carolina to win the SEC East and keep their NATIONAL title hopes alive?

Ain’t it great to be a UK football fan????

Recruits that attended Big Blue Madness

We have been ask several times which recruit attended Big Blue Madness and after checking around we found out the following had made the visit according to Scout.com. There was other recruits that attended that are not mentioned below.

2008 CLASS OF LINK

Chris Singleton PF 6-8/205 (Dunwoody HS) Dunwoody, GA (pictured left)

DeAndre Liggins SF 6-6/180 Verbal (Brewster Academy) Wolfeboro, NH

Darius Miller SF 6-6/185 Verbal (Mason Co HS) Maysville, KY

Ralph Sampson C 6-11/220 (Northview HS) Duluth, GA

Verdell Jones PG 6-4/155 (Central HS) Champaign, IL

Garrett Stutz C 6-11/225 (North Kansas City HS) Kansas City, MO

2009 CLASS LINK

John Wall PG 6-3/170 (Word Of God Christian Academy) Raleigh, NC

Jon Hood SF 6-6/180 (Madisonville North Hopkins HS) Madisonville, KY

2010 CLASS LINK

Jarell Eddie SF 6-6/180(Cannon School) Concord, NC

Dakotah Euton PF 6-7/200 Verbal (Rose Hill Christian HS)Ashland, KY

Chad Jackson SG 6-4/175 (Rose Hill Christian HS) Ashland, KY

K.C. Miller PG 6-1/170 Verbal (God’s Academy) Dallas, TX

J.T. Terrell SG 6-5/175 (Hugh M Cummings HS) Burlington, NC

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Look for big news to be announced soon!

Fewfirstchoice
Wildcats Thunder Analyst

Look for UK to announce a basketball commitment before the weekend. I was told that Coach G will offer Garrett Stutz a free ride possible tonight but probably tomorrow. He will accept on the spot. So Stutz will be the C prospect UK gets in the 08 class. Not a earth moving recruit but a nice one none the less. Stutz has a hugh amount of potential. Will he ever put it together? Coach G seems to think so, and if he does watch out. I'm a little disappointed but just a little. Stutz should turn in to a good player by his JR year. I was just hoping UK got a C to help in 08-09 year. Stutz will probably be ranked in the top 100-75 by the end of the year. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to see him ranked ahead of Sampson III when its all said and done. Stutz has a got jump shot from about 15 and in. He has great foot work for a C. Good BB IQ, and he has a work ethic second to none. So all in all a little disappointed, but it will be(see the will be)a good recruit when its all said and done.

By the way I got to meet Joe B. Hall at BBM last Friday. He is a great down to earth country boy. He talked to us for about 5 minutes and took pictures. It was a great night for me and my crew.

Watch Big Blue Madness again!

Say you missed Big Blue Madness for different reasons, no need to be fret and be upset. You can still watch Big Blue Madness at Wildcats Thunder and enjoy the event and see the many recruits that were in attendance. Now all you have to do is click here and register, its free and easy and quick. Once you've done that , you can set back and watch the 2007-08 Mens & Womens Basketball team and get a good look at the freshman on both squads. Patterson. Legion, Stewart and Williams surprised allot of fans. Now lets get ready for the season and Go Big Blue!

Watch the UK vs LSU Game again!

If you missed the game or didn't get all the game recorded you are in luck as you can will have the chance to watch the game again this Friday night at 10:00PM. Also if you don't want to wait till then, you can stop by Wildcats Thunder and watch the game here again, but you'll have to register. Its free and quick.

ESPN College Football Gameday to UK

ESPN’s College GameDay will be on Kentucky’s campus this weekend for the very first time in history for the football matchup between No. 8 Kentucky and No. 14 Florida at 3:30pm on CBS, making this the top college football game of the week. ESPN will set up on the northwest side of the Willaim T. Young Library and will be live from Lexington on Friday afternoon about 5:00pm and will air again on Saturday morning from 10am - Noon, with host Chris Fowler, analysis Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard. Fans are encouraged to be at the library and have their signs ready and make some noise. GO BIG BLUE!

WT Top 10 Football Poll 10/17/07

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

1. LSU
2. Ohio St
3. Oklahoma
4. Boston College
5. S Florida
6. South Carolina
7. Oregon
8. Kentucky
9. California
10.USC

Monday, October 15, 2007

UK - LSU Game Recap

Bigbluemist
Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst

WOW!!! For those of you who were lucky enough to be in the house for the game Saturday realizes just how loud Commonwealth got!!! I’m not sure TV did it justice. The chant of “We Believe” before the start of OT was one of the best things I have witnessed at a sporting event!

The Kentucky football team is a team full of kids with character, competitiveness and winners. LSU is the real deal. They had UK down 27-14 and the offense comes down and scores the next series to cut it 27-21 entering the fourth quarter. Add another comeback to win for a group of kids who just find a way to get it done.

UK had many heroes on Saturday and it is very difficult to just name a select few, but here are some of mine!

Offensive Line: They did not surrender one sack to the best front four in college football. They also allowed UK to rush for 125 yards on the ground.

Derrick Locke- What I loved most about him this weekend is he would plant his foot and turn up field. He had 1-2 yard gains that Dixon took 4-5 yard losses by trying to get outside. 64 yards on 20 carries are not sexy numbers, but they allowed Woodson time to throw because LSU could not pin their ears back and come after him. The kid is a true freshman.

Stevie Johnson-“Mr. Big Play” as evidence by the catch at the end of the 1st half, which IMO might have been the biggest play of the game. It allowed UK to be down 7 instead of 10 at the half. “Mr. Clutch” the winning TD catch and the catch to set up Lockes TD in OT.

Andre Woodson-He showed what a leader he is for this team. He managed the game and took the plays when they were there.

Jacob Tamme-I don’t remember his numbers but he made some big catches when UK needed to keep moving the chains.

Lones Sieber-Anyone else other than me ready to bench him early this year? The kid made some kicks at SC for his confidence. He made some BIG TIME kicks vs. LSU. The FG to sent it into the 3rd OT was the biggest kick in the kids life and he put it straight down the middle!

Defensive Line: They used a four man pass rush and got pressure on Flynn. When he got it off he still took a lick. A great, great effort verse a mammoth OL. IIRC, Jarmon had 10 tackles.

Trevard Lindely-The best CB I remember in my time following UK football!!

Johnson-Kelly: Each made huge plays in the middle of UK’s defense. A group that has been maligned for not stopping the run won the game stopping a running play!?!?!

Wesley Woodyard: The Heart and Soul of UK’s defense!

Rich Brooks- A year ago UK was beaten 49-0 at LSU and it seemed he was headed towards the door at the end of the year. He, the staff and his kids have made an amazing run in 52 weeks and its good to see good things happen to good people.

Mitch Barnhart-Who all wanted him to run Brooks off after year 2? Year 3? The man stuck it out with his coach when it would have been easy to listen to the masses.

LSU is now behind us and its time to move forward. Florida is next on the schedule and you just have feeling this group is destined for great things as the season moves forward.