God love those diehard UK football fans — you may knock them down for a couple seasons, even eight or nine years in a row, but they will eventually rise in a triumphant loyal manner and circle the wagons, draw their swords, and go to battle with a new coach.
I know, I’ve been one of them since my first game at old Stoll Field in 1964. Baylor was in town, and of course I was lucky enough to sit beside a lady from Baylor who had a large white mum on her green blouse. I got stung on the nose by a bumble bee that evidently thought my nose was more appealing than the white mum with a large green “B” on the lady next to me, and I’ve been going back for more ever since. I just keep going no matter the outcome of each season. Though UK football has been ugly to watch for many of those years (there has been a few bright winning seasons with bowl bids along the way), but the pomp and pageantry, not to mention the tailgating, has always been intoxicating.
So, here I am getting ready to drift through another summer with the rest of the Commonwealth’s sports fans waiting on another UK football season to intrigue us.
So, let’s set the stage for this September as we draw closer.
Mark Stoops was introduced to BBN in a very well organized gala affair at the Nutter Indoor Training Center on Dec. 8. He then hit the ground running with his first head coaching job and stormed across set, set up camp in Ohio and parts of the south the next five weeks to produce UK football with its highest ranked recruiting class in recent memory.
Next up was a resurgence of confidence from our state’s politicians over in the cap-ital city of Frankfort. Stoops’ hiring evidently convinced them the time was right to loosen the reins on tax dollars needed for construction projects at state universities. Hocus pocus, and all of a sudden $110 million became available for UK to invest in the renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.
Stoops again takes a deep breath and marches forward with his new gig.
Stoops’ next hurdle to jump is to reignite the roster of players left over from the Joker Phillips regime (many who were pups last year) and pump new confidence into them with his new and supposedly unique coaching antics in his first spring practice. That mission was accomplished to the point it somehow created enough enthusiasm outside Nutter Center (without letting anyone come inside and wit-ness practice) to have 50,831 junk yard starved fans to show up for a spring scrimmage showcasing his up-and-coming offensive coordinator Neal Brown and his version of the new UK Air Raid offense.
The scrimmage went well, although obvious needs were evident. It didn’t matter, the honeymoon between BBN and Mark Stoops is still as frisky as ever.
My suggestion, don’t look back Coach Stoops. They may be gaining on you, but reach back and pull a John Calipari type summer project out of your hat and keep the momentum going.
The season will start soon enough, especially the SEC season.
Cal and BBN get reality check
Turns out the college basketball recruiting gods that everyone in the Free World thought resided in Lexington on Richmond Road at the Calipari estate actually don’t. They moved west for a change and relocated in Kansas.
Please keep this in the back of your mind, as that’s life in college basketball recruit-ing. Besides, nobody will take pity’s sake on Cal or UK with what they have arriving on campus in just a few weeks to start off season workouts that will hopefully pre-pare them for another deep run into March Madness. Hopefully this mega-talented class will produce a postseason run similar to 2011-12 and not last year.
But make no mistake, all you fans and a select few members of the media who are throwing out these 40-0 predictions. You’re only setting this team up for some degree of failure when you make those statements, but then again, with some of the media that may be their mind set all along.
UK football-basketball weekends look enticing again for BBN
First of all, a special thank you to DeWayne Peevy, Tony Neely, and the good folks over at the UK media relations department for releasing the UK men’s basketball non-conference schedule to BBN early enough so everyone can have plenty of time to prepare and make travel plans to those special Wildcat weekend geta-ways in Lexington.
There is nothing quite like a weekend of multiple UK sporting events. These special sports weekends came on the scene several years ago when the college foot-ball and basketball seasons started overlapping in the month of November. Actually, these scenarios started years ago during the Joe B. Hall era when Coach Hall launched the first ever Midnight Madness, which of course is now called Big Blue Madness. Coach Hall piggy-backed the original hoops extravaganza with a home UK football game mainly for recruiting purposes. Those unique football/basketball weekends along with a Saturday afternoon at Keeneland was always a special recruiting tool for both the UK football and basketball programs, and still are today.
As any native born Kentuckian knows, while the rest of the SEC is enthralled in the pigskin sport during the second weekend in October each year, UK’s Big Blue Madness is always the unofficial start of the UK basketball season.
This fall it appears with the recent early release of UK’s men’s basketball non-conference schedule, which is always during the months of November and December. There are going to be several more opportunities for Big Blue Nation to enjoy a doubleheader weekend of UK basketball and football. Below is a list of those op-portunities if the basketball schedule is not altered any over the next few months, so go ahead and get those weekend motel or hotel reservations booked because with the addition of Keeneland’s fall meet those rooms will be scarce if any are available at all.
Also, this year there is a special week-long series of UK sporting events around the Thanksgiving Holidays as well:
(Fri.) Oct. 11th - Big Blue Madness ( Rupp Arena ) ………… ( Not Confirmed by UK yet but history shows it has been this weekend )
(Sat.) Oct. 12th - UK vs. Alabama ( Commonwealth Stadium)
(Fri.) Nov. 1st - UK vs. Transylvania University (1st Exhibition Game) (Rupp Arena)
(Sat.) Nov. 2nd - UK vs. Alabama State (Commonwealth Stadium)
(Fri.) Nov. 8th - UK vs. UNC Ashville (Rupp Arena)
(Sat.) Nov. 9th - UK vs. Missouri (Commonwealth Stadium)
(Mon.) Nov. 25th - UK vs. Cleveland State (Rupp Arena)
(Wed.) Nov. 27th - UK vs. Eastern Michigan (Rupp Arena)
(Thurs.) Nov. 28th (Thanksgiving Day)
(Sat.) Nov. 30th - UK vs. Tennessee ( Commonwealth Stadium )