College football soars toward its grand finale games with titles: Iron Bowl, Egg Bowl, Old Oaken Bucket, Army-Navy.
And trumpets please across our Commonwealth for the Governor’s Cup to be held two days after Thanksgiving. For this Gov’s Cup, a flute will do. For Kentucky, which the media herd had bowlbound six weeks ago, “Taps” might be appropriate.
Louisville’s boast has been a defense being largely responsible for its 7-3 record heading to South Bend this week. The other encampment: Mark Stoops’s team has surrendered more points in two Saturdays than its basketball brethren did in 72 hours, 97 ( Grand Canyon, Buffalo), 113 (Georgia, Tennessee).
Stoops said too much
After Tennessee humiliated Kentucky (again) 50-16, Stoops sat down with reporters and should have stopped at: “… give (Tennessee) credit. They took care of business.” Then, the coach should have pled the Fifth, but didn’t.
Instead, Stoops showed his glaring inexperience as a head man-at-presser. Asked the most embarrassing question a coach can hear: “ How he knows he hasn’t lost (his) team?” Stoops replied, “I know. I really do. … You all will point out all the negatives, and that’s your job, I understand that, believe me. I’m a big boy and that goes with the territory.”
Bad form. Too early to the bunker.
Two years in and a losing streak with skid marks, a big boy ball coach should not even hint defi- ance toward still-in-honeymoonmedia. At success-starved Kentucky, nobody, save Big Blue Nation cynics, wants Stoops to succeed more than reporters and analysts, all the way to SEC Network and CBS Sports.
Lemme Get This Straight Dept.: Nation’s top ranked and much ballyhooed two-platoon basketball team Kentucky comes out for its second home game against a mosquito opponent on national television and is outhustled, pushed around and trailed at halftime because the team lacked energy? Second game in and No. 1 lacked energy? v Best platoon? Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Marcus Lee, Trey Lyles and Dakari Johnson. v Better platoon: Willie Cauley- Stein, Trey Lyles, Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Harrison and Ulis. v 17 assists to 14 turnovers against Buffalo … won’t feed the bulldog. v Devin Booker projects to be next in a very long line of remarkable “shootists” at Kentucky. v Cauley- Stein. In seven months, he will be sign for enough money to match his coach’s pay for couple weeks (just kidding). Yet, Cauley-Stein will have a col- lege degree. v Tyler Ulis. Straw that stirs a drink also stirs the hearts of fans who appreciate quick-and-crafty Kentucky ball dating back more than half a century. v Trey Lyles. Yep, one and done. v Seeing UK’s first 20 minutes against Buffalo brought to mind an old axiom: “With this kind of talent the coach need only roll the basketballs out and let them play.”
In a perfect hoops world (Big Blue Nation), the Kentucky Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in America and the Second Coming is at hand in Lexington for next year. About to eclipse the names Anthony Davis, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist and DeAndre Liggins, are Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews.
Of Kentucky signees (so far) the head ball coach said last week …
• Labissiere. “Skal is in the same mold of Marcus Camby and Anthony Davis, because he went from 6-2 to 6-11 and he has guard skills.”
• Briscoe. “A big, strong guard with great ball skills that are beyond the norm. He can score the ball at will, but he’s an unselfish player who makes plays for his teammates.”
• Matthews. “He’s a 6-5 wing player with a lot of athleticism and is already an excellent defender and he’s going to end up being a great player.”
Worth Repeating Dept. v Milestones Dept. Western Kentucky’s 77-70 win over Austin Peay was the 1,700th in Hilltopper hoops history. Sixteen other programs in NCAA history have more. v Coach Will Muschamp is out at Florida. The thundering herd you hear this week is not politicians hurrying back to Washington to conduct the People’s Business, but a stampede to queue up to interview for one of the Top 10 football jobs in America in Gainesville.
Lest we feel badly for Mus- champ’s embarrassment with the Gators, let us remember the $ 6 million Florida still owes him for three years on the contract. Muschamp’s coaching staff could cost Florida another $2 million.
Comment: We wonder why college tuition continues to rise. v Intrigue Dept. At Florida’s Swamp this week, how will Eastern Kentucky do against the Gators? v Wildcats win at South Bend. Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40. Coach Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats need wins over Purdue and Illinois to become … bowl eligible.
And so it goes.