A few things to watch for this football season:
1. Odds on who will extend his honeymoon longest — Joker Phillips, even; Charlie Strong, 5-1; Willie Taggart, 10-1.
2. Best college running back in the Commonwealth this season? Derrick Locke at Kentucky? Bobby Rainey at Western? Could be 5-9, 184-pound tailback at Louisville, Victor Anderson.
3. Joe Paterno. Which will come first, the coach’s 400th coaching win or Penn State fans clamoring for 83-year-old JoPa be put out to pasture? His record — 394-129-3.
4. Alabama. Will it be before or after Penn State visits Tuscaloosa Sept. 11 that Birmingham radio-head Paul Finebaum pronounces Nick Saban ready to walk the waters at Black Warrior River?
5. October 15 in Louisville. Will the loudest buzz be about Cincinnati Bearcats come to Papa John Stadium, or Rick Pitino’s first practice and plan to replace Samardo Samuels’s points and rebounds?
6. Will a Steve Spurrier remark about never losing to Kentucky before South Carolina visits Oct. 16 keep John Calipari off the sports section front in Lexington?
7. If Kentucky rolls into Gainesville averaging 40 points a game (UofL, Western and Akron), at least one pundit east of Las Vegas will pick UK to upset Florida September 25 and nobody will laugh.
8. Will Derrick Locke become University of Kentucky’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Artose Pinner in 2002?
9. Who can remember last time Kentucky roster had quantity and high quality on the same depth chart?
10. How soon will transfer Antonio Andrews, Kentucky Mr. Football 2009, impact Hilltoppers football? WKU coach Willie Taggart will look at his newest quarterback addition and wonder, “Hey kid, you remind me of somebody. Me.”
11. How long before UK basketball fans notice the pre-SEC schedule they will paying more to see is a joke with no punch line. November to December 28 the Wildcats host Pikeville, Dillard, East Tennessee State, Boston University, Indiana, Mississippi Valley State, Winthrop and Coppin State.
12. Mr. Football. No clear favorite as it should be in August. But more highly recruited prospects than anytime since Frank Jacobs, first winner in 1986. List includes Lamar Dawson, Boyle County; Demarcus Smith, Seneca; Jon Davis, Eastern; Zach West, Lexington Christian, and Darrian Miller, Bryan Station.
13. Paul Hornung Award. Who better to remind us of Heisman winner ‘56 Hornung’s remarkable versatility, than Randall Cobb at Kentucky?
14. Alabama’s Mark Ingram will not win his second Heisman Trophy. Kentucky’s Cobb could get into the conversation, but media’s new darling is Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.