By - Ira D. Combs
Director / Syndicated Columnist
Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.
I had a dream last friday night after catching a couple quarters of a local high school football game then woke up and headed to Commonwealth Stadium .........then ....... Georgia - 29 Kentucky - 24 who would have thought that ...... Vegas sure didn't ...... I wonder where the most money was lost saturday , at Keeneland or at Commonwealth Stadium , if you visited both of these sports venues saturday and felt lucky your probably looking for gas , bread , and milk money for this week as your reading this column .
One of the things I love about college sports , especially football , is that you really never know what your going to get every weekend no matter what the match up of teams seem to indicate .
However , I must add at this point that each teams true home based media representatives are not responsible anymore for this mindset as we enter each weekend because of all the various angles of social media the fans have at it's disposal week in and week out of websites , internet chat lines , and talk show circuits . It's the one angle of sports that the players nor coaches can alter , it is what it is . Some college players are emotionally and mentally mature enough to overcome it and play to their potential each saturday and some can't , they let it get into their mind . At the end of the day some let it motivate them and they use it to over achieve . Others let it influence them to the point of not properly preparing and they ultimately under achieve .
Which leads me back to saturday night and the latest Dog and Cat fight . Basically for two years in a row now UK has come dangerously close to beating Georgia when it shouldn't have been remotely close . Are UK's coaches that much better in preparation and game play calling ?
I don't think so , when your dealing with old teenagers and young adults this day and age anything is possible .
In my last 15 years I've become acquainted with a lot of seasoned SEC football masterminds and most all of them have placed the Georgia Bulldogs ( under several different coaches I might add ) as classic under achievers . Many have told me Georgia should have challenged for the SEC championship and BCS titles just as often as Alabama and LSU have .
I'm beginning to understand .
Is Today's Social Media Setting Teams Up For Failure
As I've said before today's social media provides a lot of so called sports fans an opportunity to express their opinion when they are really clueless about the actual fundamentals of the game and it's ramifications on who will end up in victory or defeat at the end of the game .
You may hate me for this but I agree with what Coach Charlie Strong of Louisville said earlier this season , " social media networks are a cancer on college athletics and just may eventually result in the fall of our country " . He may wear red but he may have the best crystal ball of all of us in that remark .
In all reality every game takes it's own course when the opening kickoff ensues no matter what happened in the previous weekend or earlier in the season for that matter . It's just human nature because the game is being played by people , young people , the same ones that make mistakes in all walks of their every day life .
One saturday you can go into a game against a struggling 2 - 4 opponent expecting to have a realistic opportunity to get your first SEC win and build some momentum for the stretch run and you get hit with one of the most humiliating and devasting defeats in the programs last 20 years and it happened in just 2 and 3/4 quarters of actual football competition . Then (7) days later you take the same team and tee it up against college football's 11th ranked team who is a whopping 28 pound favorite and hocus pocus you come within a whisker of beating them without any help from turnovers or any 50/50 calls going your way from the game officials like other SEC schools get when they play in their back yard . You basically outplay them ( except for (3) extended pass plays ) and come up with the proverbial moral victory which is nice coming off the spectacle they produced at Arkansas but it doesn't help this particular team or coaching staff with their present delimma .
Go figure !!!!
Oh yes , that dream I had . Well it was really a nightmare that came true . I was afraid Joker Phillips would come up with another excuse to get Morgan Newton back behind center before the season was over . He did this time ( migrane headaches to Fr. QB Jalen Whitlow ) was the latest reason . Of course Newton's passing skills surfaced again 1 for 6 this outing but miraculously the (1) was a (4) yard TD . What really bothers me is according to my sources inside UK athletics ( and they're very reliable sources ) Morgan Newton is an extremely likable young man but he is so beat down from the previous (3) years failures that his mental and emotional state is all but shot , yet , his coach continues to throw him back into the arena of fire trying to prove everybody wrong .
This team is so challenged to start with due to injuries and it's so obvious it's limitations are so minute in the passing game when Newton is behind center . Saturday night UK lead # 11 Georgia for 25 of the first 30 minutes of the game with Jalen Whitlow at QB except for a token red zone appearance by Newton for a couple plays then all of a sudden Newton goes back behind center for four straight series which took them deep into the 3rd quarter during which time Georgia regained the lead and added to it producing a Bulldog 29 - 17 lead . Then in another astonishing move by the UK brain trust Whitlow's earlier migrane headaches evidently subsided and he returned to play leading the calvary down the field for another TD cutting the lead to five and another chance at overcoming earlier coaching moves and pulling out the upset .
But at the end of the night their was just to much to overcome .
The Cats hit the road again this saturday visiting their new SEC east brothers over in Columbia , Missouri . It's a live televised game on ESPNU with the kickoff set for 12:00 (Noon) EST .
Annual Blue - White Exhibition Game For Charity This Wednesday
Now that the annual Fan Favorite Big Blue Madness festivities are behind us Coach Cal will unveil his troops for the first time in a competitive scrimmage type situation at Rupp Arena this wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and it will be televised live on Fox Sports South and UK's IMG Network .
The match ups of teams and players may not be equal in raw basketball talent across the board due to this team possibly not having the quality depth like recent UK teams . Coach Cal has already hinted that this team may be relegated to a (6) or (7) man rotation when all is said and done for the stretch drive the 2nd semester . But expectations from BBN are just as high as any season In the past .
If your looking for a couple player match ups that I'm sure will happen at some point in the scrimmage my guess is the two freshmen big men , 6' 10" Nerlens Noel and 7' 0" Willie Cauley - Stein will knock heads somewhere along the way wednesday night and I'm betting new point guard Ryan Harrow will wrestle with senior Twany Beckham on most possessions . Freshman phenom Archie Goodwin will probably be checked by senior transfer Julius Mays on one of the wings for several minutes . Also , I would expect forwards Kyle Wiltger and Alex Poythress to check each other for several possessions as well .
But don't expect Cal to put Wiltger on the opponent's best offensive forward this season unless all other options have been tried , that would be known as athleticism suicide in coaching terms .
Also , you might want to keep an eye in the early season months on junior wing guard Jon Hood and junior point guard Jarrod Polson because their have been rumors coming out of the Joe Craft Center that their last (3) years ugly battles in practice with all the NBA talent that goes thru UK has finally paid off and both may see a few more minutes earlier in games this season especially in the pre season when the rotation is being set by Coach Cal .
One of coach Adolph Rupp's most famous quotes was , " you only get better when you play against players better than you " . I'm thinking John Wall , Brandon Knight , Marcus Teague and company will make you better if you go up against them every day . Either that or you will give up and quit and I've never known of a Kentucky Boy to quit . Nothing would please my heart more than to see either one of these two young men to succeed in the Blue & White .
You can go online to www.combsbrothersonkysports.com
for more coverage of UK football and basketball as well as KHSAA football and basketball .