Whitesburg KY

Grid Cats showed signs of improvement



The good news: The Wildcats play Alabama.

The bad news: The Wildcats play Alabama.

To the first, UK fans will see how a synchronized and efficient football machine executes. Mark Stoops’ team gets to measure itself against the best.

The bad news: With a trip to Mississippi State following next week’s open date, this stretch demonstrates the respect level Kentucky football must change with SEC schedule-makers.

What useful items from UK’s 35-28 loss to South Carolina? v Time of possession, 30:15 minutes. Improved decision-making at quarterback. No turnovers and two penalties. v Public address man’s increasing mention of names Timmons, Kemp, Montgomery, Hatcher and McClain. A year ago, all were in high school. v And, Mark Stoops turned testy, showed players tough love from the sidelines.

WKU & Prime Time

Opportunity comes a knocking. In a schedule-making coup of sorts, Western Kentucky has a television prime time football exclusive next week.

UofL coach Rick Pitino says Kentucky’s heralded recruits won’t be the best team. (AP)

UofL coach Rick Pitino says Kentucky’s heralded recruits won’t be the best team. (AP)

Bob Petrino’s Hilltoppers host Louisiana Lafayette on Tuesday night. ESPN2.

With a week-and-half to prepare, WKU (4-2) faces an opponent that, in its last three games, all wins, put 70, 35 and 48 points on the board.

For football renaissance at Western this could be a crucial stepping stone game to more television exposure and a boon to recruiting.

Louisville Football

The Cardinals smashed Temple (0-5). This week Rutgers (4-1) will be UofL’s first opponent with a winning record.

UK Basketball

• DeMarcus Cousins will make $4.9 million this year. His new $62 million contract kicks in next year. After his new contract was reported last week, Cousins announced he would donate a million dollars to Sacramento charities.

Why not a donation to Kentucky charities? Maybe next time.

• Note from University of Kentucky athletics this week reminded me of a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. It read: “The credentialing system for the 2013-14 Kentucky men’s basketball season is now live.”

And, “Media can purchase 2013-14 men’s basketball home season parking passes with check or credit card. They are $300 each.”

• Quiz question: Best recruiting tool for college basketball’s winningest program is: John Calipari, Eight NCAA titles, near two dozen players in the NBA or Other?

Take your choice. Mine is Other. Fans. A record 755 tents came down around Memorial Coliseum last Saturday after tickets were handed out for Big Blue Madness. A new record. Up from 595 a year ago.

• At a speaking engagement recently, UofL coach Rick Pitino said Kentucky’s current recruits constitute “the best recruiting class in 20 years. But that doesn’t mean Kentucky’s going to be the best team” this winter.

Will Pitino be right again?

Worth Repeating

After more than one run-in with the law, North Carolina basketball star P.J. Hairston remains a Tar Heel. He told the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel: “I will play this season.”

Carolina athletic tutor Jack Halperin wrote coach Roy Williams a letter through The Daily Tar Heel, then resigned.

“Roy, after 23 years as an academic tutor, and after going through the devastating football scandal, I am resigning in protest of your disgraceful decision to allow P.J. Hairston to remain on the team,” Halperin wrote.

“If I were arrested driving with no license, illegal drugs and a gun in a felon’s car, my employment at this University would end immediately.”

“Since when does the criminal decide his fate?” – signed, Jack Halperin, athletic academic tutor.

And so it goes.

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