Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 25th, ShagOnSports

I Tailgate so Therefore I Am


I am a member of many elite organizations… The Duster Brothers, The Wagoneers, Hendersonians who have screwed Don King Out of Money (hope he never reads my Blog), The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Henderson, US Navy Veteran, The Flying Balls Golf Team, The Louisville Transportation Club, Houseboat Clowns Association, and The Henderson Mafia just to name a few… Each of these has their own roots and reasons for existence… Some with allot of substance and some with just substance… All of the organizations I mentioned above are strictly social and I enjoy or have enjoyed them all…

Mara and I started going to UK Football Games together when Hal Mumme took over as UK coach… We did not make every game but we did go to three to four home games a year… In 1997 we secured a yellow parking pass and that is the year that somewhat started are tail-gaiting… We used to go the games allot with Rob and Sharon Johnson and Mark Pruitt… We did not have all of the proper tail-gaiting equipment (hell at the time we did not know what that was) but we sure had a damn good time and decided after the second year we were going to take the plunge to season tickets… Little did we know all due to the luck of timing we would end up in the Purple parking lot where we had a date with our tailgating destiny….

I am not sure at what point in the first season that we hooked up with Mark and Leslie Sheets (Comer) from Henderson but fate had them in the purple lot with us… At first we would just kind of find them when they got there… Mark and Leslie were always with Dave and Gail Turner and CT and Shannon Bratton… CT and Shannon had met the other four in the parking lot at tailgating many years before…

From that point on we have developed into this cult of tail-garters who get the same spot for every game and begin planning the next week’s tail-gate at the current tail-gate we are attending and just in general have a great time… That then mixed with the fact you get to go to a football game when tail gaiting is over is one hell of day…

We always have a very wide variety of some great eats and at some point during the year we have Bar B Q Pork, Bar B Q Brisket, Ribs, Country Ham, Seafood Chowder, Chili, Red Beans and Rice, Pigs in a blanket, chicken wings, various appetizer trays and some wonderful dips along with some great desserts… Mix that in with some great beer, wine, vodka, bourbon and CT’s Jell-O shots and that pretty much puts us over the top…

Our core group of tail-gaiters includes the eight us mentioned along with CT’s daughters Jessie and Rachel (aka Raquel) and junior tail-gaiters from the Sheets clan, Bella, Lilly and Jack… Each week we usually have a host of visitors, depending on whom we are playing with the most frequent the last two years being Arkansas Paul, My brother Darrell, Mark Pruitt and Wayne Hutchinson…

The bond I feel with these people is really a neat thing and I now count them all as some of my closest friends and compatriots’… Tail-gating takes a significant commitment to being there hours before the game starts to get our same spot, work as a team to get everything set up and work very quickly as a team to break everything down before we go into the game each time… It is a wonderful event and if you have never been to a tailgate then you should come to ours sometime…



Re-visiting a portion of my childhood

During the UK vs. Georgia basketball game my friend Mark Pruitt sent a text to me and said who are we playing, Bend Gate (which is the elementary school I attended as a child)??? I texted back with hell no we would have given UK a better game… Even though I realize we would NOT have given them a better game I reminisced a bit about my organized basketball career as a child and how fortunate I was to play on some good teams… I am not bragging here just stating my experiences…

In the two years I participated in Elementary school our record was 18 – 3 (8 and 1 my fifth grade year and 10 and 2 during my sixth grade year including a loss in the county championship game… In Y league that year (sixth grade) my team went 11 and 0 and won the championship and then my last year of organized basketball (7th Grade) we were 5 and 0 including win over our archrival Barret Junior High at their gym… We had horrible winter weather that year so we had a very short season… That puts the overall record of my teams at 34 wins and 3 losses…

I would like to tell you I was the star of those teams but I was not… I started in fifth grade and on the Y team and was sixth man on my sixth grade and seventh grade teams… Had great team mates and the common thread was I had a guy named Steve Buckman on everyone of those teams and Matt Jarrett (Matt looked old enough to get into bars when he was eleven so he was a mature basketball player also) on three of the four teams…

In organized football my teams went 3 and 7, 11 and 0 (including a championship win), 11 and 2 (including a championship loss) and then during my eight-grade year we went 9 and 0… Combined record of 34 and 9… I was not the star of any of these teams but started at tight end (I think I caught maybe five career passes, one for a TD) and played a little defense on each team… What incredible experiences…

For baseball I have no idea… My guess is probably 50 and 70 in a nine-year career… I never really played on a great team in baseball… I was on some good ones but none that were really great…

Unfortunately my organized sports career ended early (other things became more important that turned out to be not so important)… Most of the guys I played with went on to stellar careers in high school (some in college) where during my junior and senior years our basketball teams fell one game short of making the sweet 16 basketball tournament (losing 4th quarter leads both times) and during my senior year our football team fell one game short of making the state final… Oh those memories…

My point to all of this is if you have kids please do them a favor and have them keep a log of their games played, points scored, etc… as these will become wonderful memories for them later in their lives…



Managing Expectations for UK Football

Someone gave me some great advice the other day on managing my expectations when it comes to UK football… This is a good point because of the fact that UK plays in the SEC, which is by far the college football league with the most depth of talent of any of the other leagues at this point in time (will be tough for Kentucky to ever be as consistently good as the upper tier football schools)… I believe I have not done a very good job of managing my football expectations in the last year and need to keep myself in check for the 2009 season (I know for sure and have admitted doing a poor job of this before last year)…

UK’s defense will once again be top notch (barring injuries) due to the return of Jarmon, Johnson and Lindley along with a host of others but the offense will once again be an inexperienced group… The key to the team will be where they put Randall Cobb and who plays quarterback (Hartline, Massakowski, Newton or Cobb) and the development of a group of very young receivers… I liked Cobb at QB this year but want him somewhere else next so we can better utilize his talents… With that said how well will this team be with Hartline at QB (Love the kid but I believe mediocre at best) or with an inexperienced freshmen playing back to back games with U of L, Florida and Alabama… Hartline will have to work on his game like Tiger Woods works at his golf game to be a consistent QB in the SEC…

I want this team to win eight or nine games but by managing my expectations I am thinking this team (2009) is looking more like 6 and 6 because of the toughness of the schedule and the youth movement that will still be there on offense… If they win all the games they should (To be named opening game, U of L, Mississippi St, La Lafayette, EKU and a road win at Vandy or USC) it will take an upset at home of Florida (no chance how is that for managing expectations???), Bama (possible) or Tennessee (would love that one) to go 7 and 5…

When can I expect an eight or nine win season for UK football??? My guess at this point is to never expect it and just live each game one at a time until someday it happens… Enjoy a competitive team and enjoy that Kentucky is at least in the conversation in football once again…

With all of that said the only disappointment I truly have now that I am more in touch with what UK football reality should be is that UK should have won two more games in 2007 season (I think that is reasonable) by beating Mississippi State at home and Tennessee at home to finish 9 and 3 and play in the Cap One Bowl vs. a second trip to MCB…



Top Five Things I want to see in sports for 2009
UK to win 9 or more football games
St Louis Cardinals win the World Series
UK basketball team make it to the final 8
Tiger Woods or any other golfer for that matter win the Grand Slam (all four majors)
As part of the 9 wins for UK football to include a win over “The Orange Team From Down South”



Top Five Things I want to do in sports for 2009

My teams repeats as champion in the TDC Golf tournament
My team wins the Transportation Club Golf League
Play a major championship golf venue (Valhalla comes to mind)
Play more half court basketball in my back yard during the Summer
Me and Dave Turner (aka the sheriff) continue our dominance playing corn hole at our football tailgate


UK Basketball

The Cats are quietly making an impact… They lead the SEC (yes it is a little weakish this year) and they won a big road game at Bama on Saturday… They should be ranked in the top 25 after this weekend and need to win at Ole Miss and home against South Carolina next week to maintain their momentum… If they can win the next two and then one of the next two then I think they can remain in the polls…

The team is winning despite allot of turnovers and that is due to solid defense… Everyone is earning playing time by playing good defense… Today I thought Billy G made great adjustments against Bama by having Liggins in the game at point vs Porter as Bama was just to quick for Porter on both ends for the floor… I would still like to see more of Kevin Galloway as I think he not only defends well but gives a solid ball handler…

What else can be said about Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson… They give it 110% all the time every trip down the floor… Perry Stevenson is making a great contribution and Ramon Harris continues to play good defense (glad he appears to be OK after passing out at halftime)…

I find myself a little giddy once again about our team and our chances moving forward… Go Big Blue!!!


Cheating in College Basketball

You will never see much about it in the print media but cheating was rampant in college basketball in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s… Most of the time this level of cheating did not involve the coaches but was related to activities within the alumni or boosters…

UCLA and Kentucky are great examples… I do not believe that the storied coaches or their successors at either school was involved in the “extra” activities that were going on but if you do the research you will find the players at both schools connected to a group of boosters who were doing some shady things…

I do not believe that cheating goes on as much today… There are great rules and regulations in place to prevent these types of occurrences…


Random

- I am happy for the Arizona (formerly St Louis, formerly Chicago,) Cardinals are going to be playing the Super Bowl… I was fan when they were in St Louis so I will for sure be pulling for them to win… Are there any Cardinals (as in birds) in Arizona???

- Steelers look awful tough!!! I think they have an advantage in cold weather that they will not have in the Super Bowl…

- Still trying to get excited about College Basketball other then Kentucky… It has been tough for me to this point for some reason… Enjoyed the Purdue Northwestern game the other night and I have watched Navy play a couple of games…
- Great start in my fantasy golf league… After two weeks I am in first place and have had the tournament winner picked each time (pure luck)… Have not even watched a swing yet on TV as I think it is still a little early for televised golf…
- I have warmed a little to UK Coach Billy G… I do not care for how he talks to the fans during the call in shows (understand his frustrations but he can handle this in a better way) but I do like to listen to him before and after the games talk strategy… He was on PTI a couple of days after Meeks scored 54 and gave allot of praise to the fans… I still will not be 100% fulfilled until one John “Magic” Pelphrey is roaming the UK sidelines as the head coach…
- Former Henderson Vice Principal, football coach and many other educational hats as well as starting linemen on UK’s 1950 football team posthumously named national Championship Football Team, Bull Dawson, died last week… Bull was very well thought of amongst his peers, former students and players he mentored and also coached at the now defunct Morganfield High School…
- I subscribed to Facebook… It is a great way to communicate with other people and is a great 5 or 10-minute time killer when you need one to fill that gap… I made fun of my wife for doing this a few weeks back but now I am just like her… You can join several team groups also and get additional information about your favorite teams…
- I have seen some comments from people criticizing UK’s football schedule (non conference games)… They play U of L non-con (which should be a formidable foe each year and not a guaranteed win) and then three cupcake type teams because they play FLORIDA, TENNESSEE, GEORGIA and SOUTH CAROLINA every year and then a combination of LSU, BAMA, AUBURN, ARKANSAS and OLE MISS (two of the five each year)… They also play VANDY and MISSISSIPPI STATE each year, which are no slouches or cupcakes… They play the SEC Champ (and National Champ) and SEC runner up back to back in 2009… Come on that is crazy to criticize the team’s schedule… Criticize us for being 4 and 21 against the elite teams in Brooks’ tenure but not the schedule… Check all the SEC schools and see if all of them don’t follow the same pattern (Vanderbilt is the only one that does not really play cupcakes but I bet that changes)…


Music

My wife and I are trying to play guitar hero once a week… We love it so far… Watched a great documentary on Pink Floyd over the weekend… I learned that there is an American record producer who asked the very question that inspired a line in one of their songs, “By the Way Which Ones Pink”… Kind of like people who want to know which one of you is Jethro (Jethro Tull)… Foo Fighters were on ALC the other night and it was really a great show… We saw Kings of Leon and The Whigs in Indy this week… KOL is my favorite band right now I love the music and the lyrics…

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Back for Some More Blogging

I do most of my posting on SB Nation now... I am on the St Louis Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats Page... It is a great fan site and there is very little negative posting... It is about your team not ripping another team...
UK Football Season Review

At the beginning of the year most people thought that UK would struggle on offense but had the makings of great defense… Most publications picked UK to finish less the .500 most picking them to win 4 games or less… My prediction was 5 and 7 (which included a loss to Louisville, a win over Vandy and a loss to Mississippi State)… I thought if the offense could come around at all (the running game) they would have a good shot to pull a big upset (Georgia or Alabama)… I thought UK would be able to run the ball this year effectively…

Kentucky marched out of the gate and stomped on U of L right in their back yard (Defense was a sign of things to come)… I was very surprised by the final outcome the U of L game (the home team should always win) but felt before the game started that UK had a solid chance if they did not turn the ball over… My buddy Sheets pointed out that UK had much more continuity and stability then U of L in the coaching department and the players department (U of L lost 24 underclassmen in Kragthropes first year on the job) and that along with UK’s experience on defense proved to be to much for U of L (man he is right on the money with that one)…

The next three games should have been a sign of things to come for the UK offense… In playing Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee and Western the Cats only managed to score something like five or six offensive touchdowns, failed to rush for over 200 yards in any of those games and the passing game did not look good at all (The receivers youth and the youth at quarterback showed through)… The play of the defense however created a host of optimism within the fan base going into the Alabama game… Key injuries to Randall Cobb and Micah Johnson in the MTSU game would prove to be tough for this team to overcome in this game…

Had the outcome of the Alabama game been different this team could have had a special season… The defense played a great game except for maybe two plays where they were gapped for long gains (one of course was a long touchdown run) they played what would be their second best game of the season (U of L Game being the first)… Mike Hartline showed some signs that maybe he could lead this team but I would have really liked to have seen what Randall Cobb could have done at quarterback in this game had he not been hurt at this point… UK was in the game until the very end and made a nice showing in front of a National TV audience…

The South Carolina game was a game that I thought UK could win… The problem in this game was Rich Brooks’s refusal to not have Randall Cobb play quarterback at all and of course the season ending injury to Dickey Lyons… Had Cobb been allowed to play QB the outcome may have been different… UK was in the game until the end but it was becoming very apparent that Mike Hartline was not going to be the answer at quarterback… Was it him??? Youth at receivers??? UK’s inability to run the ball??? Probably at this point all three…

Arkansas game was a game that UK should have won by a large margin… At this point The Hogs were awful and our defense should be able to shut them down… UK was unable to move the ball against this team in the rushing game or the passing game and Brooks would not make a quarterback change once again… Hartline did lead the Cats to a come from behind late victory with probably his best five minutes of the year but the UK’s inability to execute on offense was glaring at this point…

The Florida game was just an old fashioned whipping… UK was not ready to play, the special teams were awful (they were really not good all year a whole) and the coaches obviously were to blame for this mid season debacle… I know Florida is good but after the way we played Bama this should not have happened to this level (UK did not even show up)…

The Mississippi State game was a turning point and this team got a very ugly win… The Georgia game was a great opportunity for an upset and had Trevard Lindley not gotten hurt then the outcome may have been different… Vandy… About all I can say is no matter what UK should never lose to Vandy at home… UNACEPPTABLE!!!

Against Tennessee this game UK just plain out sucked… There was no creativity on offense at all and I though for the play calling had regressed back to where it was early in the year… Allot of people thought this would be the year that UK could beat Tennessee as the season progressed and the Vols were playing sub par football… I was not one of those people… Even with Tennessee in a down year with Fat Phil coaching his last game I did not think that UK had a snowball change in hell to win the game... It was not like UK was playing well because other then the Georgia game UK had not played a really good game since they were at Bama…

All in all you should be happy with UK with a 6 and 6 finish and then going to and winning bowl game considering all the players they lost on offense from last year and the rash of injuries that have plagued this team this year along with the total youth movement on offense… If UK had better special teams they would have won at least one more game this year… If Cobb is the QB from USC game on then I think they would have eight wins at least as the season ended… The 4 – 0 start left me very high with optimism but the 2 and 6 finish left me with a bad feeling…

Before the bowl game I said UK would need to score a special teams touchdown and a defensive touchdown to have a chance… Glad they were able to both and then go on to win the game… It is nice to finish 7 and 6 vs 6 and 7 and this team has some positive momentum going into next year…


Is Coach Brooks the Man to Take UK Football to the Next Level???

There were comments from a Florida fan made the other day on an article in the Lexington paper… The article was about Coach Brooks being happy, fit and ready to continue coaching and that the best for this program is still to come … With something like 14 straight non conference wins, three straight bowl wins and a 23 and 17 record the last three years (which really in my mind should be considered his first three years) and the best recruiting class ever coming in this year he very well could be right (Lindley and Jarmon will have some impact on this also)…

The opening comments was from the before mentioned Gator fan that ripped UK and basically stated that UK should hire a real football coach in response to the article… Here are the statements that really fired me up re-printed exactly as it was typed:

“To Uk our step-sister of the SEC. Thanks for winning your bowl game against ECU. Going 7-6 is good for you. Now that you have brooks back for another year. We the GATOR NATION will have a week off from practice when we play the wildcats. 63-5 Do you really think that joker is best I mean cheapest coach you can fine. When is Uk going to hire a coach like they hire at UT. He been on the job less than a month and he already sign better players than Uk. Look what Coach Nutt has done in his first year at Ole Miss. If you want a have great program, hire a coach that will win more than 5-6 ball games a year. That why you a step sister in the SEC. You alway have/will be a step sister in the SEC. Look at Uk 7-6 program and look at the Gators program. NATIONAL CHAMPS… “

Here is my response:

“We had to carry the torch in basketball for about 50 years and then you guys finally showed up but I think that is great when any team from our conference does well... I take your reference as a stepsister as a severe insult and a pure sign of your level of intelligence and understanding of the importance of all the teams in the conference to be successful... UK is not and may never be Florida in football but we are good with that... We are on the right path and we are good with that too... Write it down UT will run Lane Kifin by year four, as he is too young and inexperienced to handle that position... Brooks is now one of the longest tenured coaches in SEC football and I like that stability... By the way where were you sitting when I sat at mid-court three years ago and rooted on your school to the National Championship in basketball because they are in the SEC...”

Sporting News said that Coach Brooks was the worst hire EVER by a division one school when he got the job and I have to say I have been his number one critic… Brooks was an under .500 coach at Oregon (even when you throw out is first six years there which were the pre NIKE Phil Knight pumping money into the program)… He did not have a great bowl record and his teams were always average in the Pac 10… He was fired as head coach of the Rams and became the defensive coordinator for the Falcons and in Dan Reeves absence took that team to the Super Bowl… I thought Brooks did a very poor job in his first year at UK and then the next two were just awful but not his fault, which I really did not realize at the time…

What I think is that Brooks has been reborn in the football-coaching world… Why??? He was away from the game long enough that he got settled, was financially comfortable did not really plan on coaching again and then the UK job fell in his lap… He was juiced for a huge challenge (taking this job at the time he did was monumental because no one else wanted it), had no fear of failure and I am sure looked back and said at some point if I could go back and do it all over again (as starting in 1979 as a head coach) here is all the things I would do different and to this point that is what he doing…

So now can this reborn football coach take this thing to the next level which would be get to the SEC Championship Game, a BCS bowl or the Capitol One Bowl (this is the bowl that the best SEC East team that does not go BCS bowl game goes to) … As a die hard football fan and one of the rare UK fans who puts football before basketball I am truly excited about where this program is and where it looks like we are pointed to go… Brooks has brought stability, discipline, accountability and expectation that we are going to win and continue to win…

To get UK to the next level Brooks will have to improve on his record against the elite coaches or teams (that is teams that have either won SEC championships in the last five years or coaches who have coached their respective teams to a BCS bowl game in the last five years)… To this point by my calculations in the non probation years Coach Brooks is 4 and 21 against these coaches (beat LSU at home, beat Georgia at home, beat Arkansas on the road and Arkansas at home)… He also must not ever lose to Vandy at home ever again…

Coach Brooks is a fine man of integrity and I thank him for the job he as done to this point and I wish him and his staff the best of luck getting us to the next level… Let’s hope for something special next year… Go Cats!!!


Players of Note for UK

Obviously Myron Pryor, Micah Johnson, Trevard Lindley, Braxton Kelly and Jeremy Jarmon played exceptional on defense…

Trevard is going to be an excellent corner in the NFL and I hope we find that out year after next (hope he stays)… I focused on Trevard and Micah Johnson pretty much the entire year when they were on the field… Trevard is a great special teams player also…

Micah Johnson (even injured) is one of the best linebackers in the country… Just look at his numbers!!! Pryor had a great year and proved himself throughout the year (also injured and playing hurt during the year)…

For UK to go to the next level next year the offense will need to become more potent and you better hope that Lindley and Jarmon stick around for one more year (both have now said they are coming back)… The foundation is there but the question remains can Brooksy take UK to that next level… Randall Cobb needs to touch the ball allot next and I like the idea of his ability at flanker, receiver, running back and kick returns vs him being the long term solution at QB… The schedule next year is murder!!!


U of L Football, What a Mess

I heard a bit of a local radio show about U of L Football the other day where the hostess of the show was beating Coach Kragthorpe up pretty hard… She had already embarrassed herself at the Ryder Cup New Conference this year and she was doing more of the same by talking about something she does not understand… She was basically saying that Kragthorpe took and “elite” football program and turned them into a klunker…

Like allot U of L fans she is a “newbie” college football fan and only became a fan win they started winning and having some success… There is nothing wrong with becoming a fan but you need to understand where they came from and where they are now…

Louisville has not ever been an “elite” football program… They may never be an “elite” football program… Elite Football programs are Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame (on shaky ground), Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Penn State, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Auburn, Nebraska, Georgia and a handful of a few others… What makes these elite football programs??? Consistently competing for National Championships, consistently having top ten recruiting classes for decades and winning conference championships not just in a span of four or five years… Going to and winning one Orange Bowl does not elevate your program to “elite” status…

U of L was ready to drop their football program in the 80’s or drop down to division 1AA with Western and Eastern… That was not that long ago… Louisville has a football program now for one reason and one reason only and that is Howard Schellenberger… U of L can thank the United States Football League for this because they were able to hire Howard when that league folded and he would have to have waited probably two years to get another college job because of the timing of when that league folded… He did not want to wait had built Miami into a winner and felt he could do the same here…

Howard came in and would play anybody anywhere at any time… That is what laid the foundation to try and build a program… Howard had some good teams and some bad teams but he created fan interest and brought allot of “New” fans to the table back then that have since become very knowledge football fans… He also helps U of L keep the diehards they still have today… Howard left because he did not want the team to go to a weak conference and felt their best chance at competing on a National Level was to remain independent, play a soft schedule in general but throw in a couple of marquee teams each year and try to pull the upset… That is exactly how Florida State built their football program into a powerhouse… Howard’s best year was when he went 10 – 1 – 1 beating a name Alabama in the Fiesta bowl (at the time this was a second tier bowl game but quite a significant accomplishment for this football program)…

I will skip past Ron Cooper debacle…

U of L made some great decisions after that debacle by hiring a good coach, John L and going to a good conference in the CUSA and began following the Florida State model to try and build their program… John L had great success but this job was stepping stone for him…

Bring in Bobby Petrino… Offensive genius… Great coach… Excellent recruiter… Exciting football… Petrino however had some luck that went with his successes… Mainly having Brian Brohm, the #1 QB in the country coming out of high school, fall right into his lap… Without all of the U of L ties this kid is bound for Notre Dame… He was raised to be the QB at U of L… That scenario will probably never happen again…

Petrino had great success and went to an won a few bowl games… He raised the bar at U of L and by raising this bar and gaining some national attention he also brought in allot more “New” fans to football… New fans meaning people who somewhat followed U of L football but really were not fans of college football… These new fans thought U of L was an “elite” football program and the fact was they were not… They were very competitive but not “elite”…

Beating a weak Wake Forest Team in the Orange Bowl does not gain you elite status… Beating a weak Miami of FL team at home does not either… Even beating a strong WVU team in Petrino’s last year does not do it either…

Whether anyone wants to admit it or not Bobby Petrino knew that he had had a high level of success and new that he may or may not be able to continue that level of success at U of L… He was a smart enough football guy to realize he did not want to roll the dice and wanted to get out while the getting was good… Petrino saw the lean years coming and was not willing to take the risk… He made a bad move but now is at a place where he can build something elite in a much shorter span of time…

Coach Kragthorpe walked into a time bomb… Besides the seniors that left last year he has lost 24 players through academics, discipline or transfers (not that many transfers)… The players used to be able run amuck and had no discipline… Look at all of the legal trouble that Bobby Petrino recruited players have been into they last two years…

If Louisville wants to build a solid football program they need to do it through stability and firing Steve Kragthorpe would not do that… Who are they going to get that is better??? There were jobs open at Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Washington this year that will get first picks over anyone U of L would go after… If Steve Kragthorpe were still at Tulsa he would be on the top of the list for all of the above-mentioned positions… You need to give this guy three more years before you pass judgment on him… Stability!!!

Look at the success that Tulsa has continued to have after Kragthorpe left there… That will also tell you something about this guy…

Allot of Kentucky fans wanted to run Rich Brooks after two years at UK and that would have been a huge mistake because of stability… You need stability in your program to make that next step up the ladder… Kentucky has turned it around after some really lean years and damage done by a previous coach through nothing more then stability… They beat U of L this year at U of L because of stability…

It sucks that U of L does not support their football team right now the way they should but that is because the fan base is really new to football and are basketball fans at heart (it is easy when they are winning)… The other reason why is because they play so many games on odd nights… No team trying to build up its football program is going to be able to build a consistent fan base with this type of scheduling…

Kragthorpe is probably dead as the U of L coach… Sad thing is when he leaves he will end up somewhere else and ten years down the road when he is successful somewhere else people will say, “How come he could not do that at U of L”…


Texas Vs Texas Tech as the Game of the Year in College Football

As Mike Leach would say, ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR in a Pirate voice… This is one of the greatest football games I have ever seen…

Back to the game… Tech started out like a rocket ride by getting a safety on Texas that really looked as though it put Texas back on it’s heels early… Tech literally ran away (should say passed away) the first half…

The Longhorns came storming back in the second half… A very questionable punt return for a touchdown was given Texas when a flag was picked up and the illegal block in the back that occurred during the run back was not called (it was so obvious even I saw it live when it occurred)… Tech never should have been in that position to begin with…

With Texas leading and looking like they had the game wrapped up Grahm Harrell from Tech drove them right down the field and with time running out threw a pass that was so perfect to the great receiver Michael Crabtree that only Crabtree was in a position to catch it… The pass was to his inside shoulder and was thrown to a spot before Crabby had even turned around… Crabby then juked the two UT defenders and rushed into the end zone for the victory… It was a truly awesome game and a truly awesome ending…

Mike Leach… What a guy… Former offensive coordinator at Kentucky and Oklahoma was profiled on 60 mintues last week… He never played football, is an attorney by trade and runs a very clean program with a large emphasis on academics… At some point he will move to a larger school and when he does look out!!!


Now the Top Five Games I Have Seen for College Football:

Boston College vs Miami (the hail mary game… watched it with my grandfather who was in the hospital at that time)…
Texas Vs Texas Tech this year…
Oklahoma vs Nebraska in 1971 on Thanksgiving Day…. I was only seven but I thought I was bound for Nebraska after watching Johnny Rodgers play that day…
UK vs U of L in 2007…
Bama over Miami in the championship game in 1992…

Since I was at my sister’s wedding in Germany I cannot count the replay of the game I saw for UK and LSU last year… I will say it is the greatest game I never saw…


Playoffs for College Football

I am only for a playoff if somehow college football can maintain the integrity of the regular season, have the conference championship games the weekend of Thanksgiving (this would mean move the season and opening practices would have to be moved up a few weeks) and have the first round of the playoffs done by the first weekend in December... Also keep the other bowl games intact and then make the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange the semifinal games that are played on New Years Day… The championship game could then be played on second Saturday night following New Years Day…

There are NOT to many bowls!!! The great thing about college football is 32 teams and not just one end the season on a high note and are champs of something… The financial impact on these bowl cities is fantastic also!!! Playoff is good but keep the bowl games around…

More on the NCAA Basketball 1966 Championship Game

Don Haskins the Texas Western Coach in the 1966 Championship Game died last year… Jerry Tipton from the Lexington Herald re-published part of an interview he did with the coach a few years ago… Here are the excerpts from the interview…

Haskins scoffed at the notion that in the 1966 national championship game he intended to play only black players against all-white Kentucky in order to disprove racial stereotypes of the time… What passed for conventional wisdom said that black players would need direction from a white teammate to succeed… The movie Glory Road, which dramatized Texas Western's rise to a national championship, included a scene in which Haskins told his players before the game that he'd use the game to make a larger, more important point… "You know that's (B.S.)," Haskins said. "I was just trying to win the game…"
Three weeks after the game, a friend asked if Haskins was aware that he played only his seven black players against Kentucky… "It hadn't dawned on me," Haskins said. "Jerry Armstrong (a white player who generally started and played for Texas Western) wasn't quick enough to guard Pat Riley…"
Haskins taking a philosophical attitude toward the condescending attitude of UK Coach Adolph Rupp after the game… "The Kentucky players were very gracious," Haskins said. "Mr. Rupp wasn't very gracious… I say, when in hell was I very gracious when I got beat? That just goes with the territory."

TDC for 2008 (Annual Thanksgiving Day Classic)

This is the summary I sent to everyone in the tournament this year…

Whether you realize it or not every shot counts in the TDC in a big way and this year proved this out… Think about that putt you had for birdie that you missed or it lipped out of the long putt for par you made on a hole… Animal and I both had putts on #8 that lipped out for birdie… The par you made on #9 was a key point in the match and you probably did not even realize it at the time (Ready and I almost got up and down from the side of the hill and only Scott’s team and Animal’s team had pars on this hole)… Animal and Paul made a nice up and down on #1 for par (we ended up with multiple pars) while me and Ready just missed a birdie putt…

Ready and I got up and down on #2 and Bruce’s team just missed a birdie on #2 that would have made the difference in the matches… There were also only 2 pars on hole #4 and Ready made a wonderful chip shot to about three feet that most pro’s would have had trouble getting close and this was after my tee shot nearly went OB or down the hill by only the matter of a few feet… My putt barely snuck in…

I failed to add up all the scores that day but I know that Ready and I shot 38, Paul and Animal shot 36 and I believe there were a couple of other teams that were sub 40 (What did everyone else shoot???)… If this were a made for TV event I guarantee this would have been a treat for anyone who would have watched… I really think the event fit well back at Audubon and Ballou told me thanks for coming back up and he will accommodate each year going forward (He said we could play naked if we want but Bolin already did)... Since they have fixed the course up with adjustments on holes 2 and 4 the course plays very fair for everyone... Great Job to Scott during his tenure and good luck to Pete moving forward…

The shoot out was exciting and I swear that was the best shot I never saw… In the end my partner was Ready and I was prepared!!! I now have now won more TDC’s then Jack has Masters and Ready has five to his credit… Let me say I am truly humbled by these wins and realize that luck has just been on my side for most as in this year’s event… We did use multiple shots from Ready and his chip on #4 was a great one that ensure we had a push of all nine holes after we made the putt…

Turns out that every hole this year was push and my partner and I won via a closest the pin shoot out… When I hit my shot from 120 yards away I thought I caught it skinny and it would be over the green… Either the ball checked like it had brakes or landed short of the green and trickled on… We will never know because no one saw it… The TDC trophy is now back where it belongs…


Random Thoughts

- Finally during a national telecast last week that the announcers mentioned the UK is the only school in Division One that has two African American coordinators on the coaching staff… YEA!!! As everyone knows everybody in Kentucky is a racist so this is a small miracle at best…

- Remember you heard it here a few years ago… I wanted Mike Leach brought in at Kentucky for football… I still think that long term-sustained success at UK in football is going to take something or someone who is unconventional (in the current college football landscape running a pro style offense as Joker does may qualify as teams are getting away from this style and running the spread)… I would like to see UK running something like the triple option at Navy or Georgia Tech, bring back the wishbone (that is one of my offensive sets on my PS2 football that I run often) or run the Texas Tech offense…
- I do not understand Ohio State and not Boise State being a BCS school (Really I do it is power of the Big 10)… I would have liked to have seen a Boise State vs Utah match up and then Bama vs Texas… Those would have been some highly rated games for TV… Congrats to the Utes for their success… You do deserve some consideration for number one…
- I won the ShagOnSports College pick’em league when Brad Jarrett had a late season collapse (he went 5 and 19 the last two weeks and I went 12 of 19)… My wife finished in a tie for second with Brad and Mark Pruitt… It was a very competive league… I finished 11th in my Fans of Navy pick set and in the 97th percentile overall… If I were betting $10 a game the last three years then I would be up $870 total…
- Finished third in Fantasy Football and made the playoffs only to lose both playoff games… No trophy for fourth
- I finished third in the College Bowl pick’em contest so football was very good to me this year… My Yahoo trophy case is starting to fill up… Fantasy Golf is next…

Music

Now that XM and Sirius have merged the channels are combining (this will reduce overhead by eliminating duplicate channels) and they are now offering XM subscribers access to Sirius only programming for a little extra charge… This means we will finally get Howard back in our lives… YEA!!! Going to see Kings of Leon next week… Should be a great show…