The 15th Governor’s Cup made up in suspense and back-andforth what it may have lacked in Southern Cal vs. Whoever hype. When the smoke cleared on a 31- 27 Kentucky win, these things were clear:
• A wager on a two touchdown point spread in a rival match is a sucker bet.
• Scoreboard clicked up 58 points keeping 70,988 fans on the edge of their seats and was a good alternative for a television audience bored with Alabama’s scrimmage against North Texas State, Ohio State-Toledo and Michigan- Eastern Michigan.
• The UK-UofL game is still a hot ticket, is hotly contested, and a healthy rivalry marked by 60 minutes of smash mouth football, then “My Old Kentucky Home” civility.
What more could a fan want? Maybe these things.
• For Kentucky, repeat this week of Oct. 13, 2007. Nation’s number one traveled to Lexington and, in three overtimes, LSU did not lose, but was beaten into submission, 43-37.
• For Louisville, a four game win streak to take to Cincinnati Oct. 24.
Views On Another
• At game’s end, Rich Brooks had good reason to wear a scowl as he left the field. He knows what’s required to compete with 24-point favored Florida and this wasn’t it.
• Bluegrass bragging rights? As Cawood Ledford used to say, Kentucky fans had better “hold the phone!” And wish the Louisville Cardinals well.
• As a boxing match, Louisville was a middleweight who outsmarted and staggered cruiserweight Kentucky for 14 rounds then got clocked at the end.
• Steve Kragthorpe’s preparation and game plan were 60-minutes solid. Execution was not.
• Kragthorpe’s critics should do more than be quiet. Invest in a U.S. stamp and send their coach a note: “We’re with you, coach.”
• Game co-captain Sam Maxwell was UK’s step-up man in the stretch … a game-breaker interception then a slap down of Justin Burke’s final throw.
• Best plays of the game? Derrick Locke’s 100-yard kickoff return; Randall Cobb’s “this is mine, man!” pass catch for a touchdown; and Burke’s 66-yard strike to Trent Guy.
• UK took away from the game: A game film titled: How not to play Florida.
• UofL took away from the game: Ball security, ball security, ball security.
• UK’s secondary play was timid and confused … just in time for Tim Tebow?
Not guilty, a Jefferson County jury concluded last week in the coach Jason Stinson case that attracted national attention and commentary.
A just verdict? Yes. Max Gilpin’s death is an unspeakable tragedy, but prison time for a high school teacher and coach who lost his best judgment one hot afternoon would add only more heartbreak to all families.
The ex-PRP coach went home. But a free man? Hardly. Stinson will be haunted by “what ifs” the rest of his days.
What good can come of this tragedy? The obvious one is Stinson’s case sends a message to all coaches, “be more careful with our children.”
Truth is, Stinson is not the first coach to let emotion cloud good judgment and won’t be the last. National attention brought by his prosecution and trial may be a short term positive.
Best long term? Following the civil trial …
1. A national magazine piece by say, Gary Smith at Sports Illustrated. Stinson’s candid account of time at PRP on through the trial verdict.
2. A book. Stinson’s football experience from his beginning in football to now.
Profits? Portion to the Gilpin family and a portion for creation of a Max Gilpin scholarship to University of Louisville.
UK, SEC Basketball
Kentucky hoops fans already anticipating Christmas, uh, the season will be fevered further by a FOX Sports listing of Top (20) Impact Freshmen for the coming season.
Listed numbers one, six and 11 — John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe respectively.
Impact on the SEC? Along with UK’s three heralded rookies …
• No. 4 Kenny Boynton could make Florida fans forget Nick Calathes and help put a new shine on Billy Donovan’s coaching halo.
• No. 7 Renardo Sidney is 6-10, 255-pound rookie at Mississippi State who, with an attitude adjustment, could team with NBA lottery candidate Jarvis Varnardo to catapult Rick Stansbury’s team into the Top 25 quickly.
• And, No. 18 Marshawn Powell may be the next building block for John Pelphrey at Arkansas.
If these half dozen super-dupers live up to expectation and blend in with a generous list of proven holdovers including All- American candidates Tyler Smith, Patrick Patterson and Varnardo, the media herd big dogs will realize what Rick Stansbury kept saying a year ago, the Southeastern Conference is not down. In fact, 2009-10 could be the next leap forward.
Cheers ‘N Jeers
CHEERS.Michael Jordan. In a Hall of Fame acceptance speech last week, the ex-NBA super star showed you who he really is. A mean-spirited, tactless and selfcentered ex-ball player who can’t deal with being 50 years old.
JEERS.Michael Jordan trashed former teammates, coaches and everyone else who helped make him rich and famous. Air even took a shot at his children. Pathetic.
NCAA President Myles Brand died last week. Here was a man who championed the best of the best in college student-athletics — legitimate progress toward earning a degree and schools raise their graduation rates.
“Myles Brand was an exceptional leader who truly understood the importance of collegiate athletics in the realm of higher education. He will be greatly missed.” — Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters.