By Ira D. Combs Syndicated Columnist
Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.
We're deep into the summer of 2010 and staring down that media driven story of many years in the past that the UK-UofL football game should be the first game of the season so the two flagship universities and the sport of football can get mega coverage all summer from the statewide media contingent. Yet, I've counted only a combined 17 columns and articles from the state's four leading daily newspapers since June 1st.
Yes, I know what you're thinking, that I lead a sheltered and simple life, it's true.
So, I'll start the ball rolling for my weekly newspaper friends across small town Kentucky and websites that take my syndicated column on UK.
It is approximately six weeks until the Battle of the Bluegrass football style and I'm still sticking with my original prediction of senior Michael Hartline leading the Cats into combat at Papa John's Stadium down in the 'Ville when the ABC cameras start rolling at 3:30 on September 4th. My reasons remain the same as well, Joker Phillips will play the QB who will give his team the best chance to win a season opening emotional rivalry game on the road in an environment that can be as intimidating as anything the SEC has at times, particularly when the Blue and White jerseys roll into town.
Unless injuries impact the QB position in fall camp, it will be Hartline's call to step under center for the first series offensively, but after that first series, ahhh, let me look into my crystal ball, could there be a surprise up the sleeve of the Big Blue Braintrust. Do not forget there are more options for UK under center than Hartline, Newton, and Mossakowski.
I'm thinking Charlie Strong is spending a little midnight oil in the defensive film room!!!
One item I've always kept in the back of my mind is one of those famous Hal Mumme quotes after one of his Wildcat teams' second half breakdowns that cost him a win against the Cards, this was Mumme's opening post game statement while standing outside a very dejected UK locker room at Papa John's Stadium, "Don't ever underestimate the mindset of that team over in the other locker room has with us and that is that they eat, breathe, and live for the day it can beat UK."
UK stands in the lead 13-9 entering this year's game and on a three year winning streak. I'm thinking that hatred will be back to fever pitch with the added seating capacity, although that will create a few more opportunities for Big Blue Nation as well.
More on the big season opener for both teams when my column starts back on a weekly basis in mid-August.
Surfing the Net For Memorable UK Quotes
While passing the lazy hazy summer days I've started a project of surfing the net of several newspapers and sports publications websites and archives for different memorable quotes and famous sayings of former UK coaches and other nationally known sports personalities concerning UK sports from yesteryear.
Listed below are my top 10 of many hours of research:
#10 - "Apparently, the Kentucky basketball dynasty is going to continue forever."- The Philadelphia Enquirer December 23, 1954.
#9 - "They had it before me, they had it during my time, and they will have it long after I'm gone."- Coach Al McGuire of Marquette on Kentucky basketball tradition.
#8 - "I just thought it was the Kentucky fans entering the gym."- Coach Billy Gillispie on a tornado hitting the Georgia Dome at SEC Tourney in 2007.
#7 - "In the next four years Kentucky will be at its best. It has taken a lot of hard labor but down the road we will be at our best ever."- Rick Pitino on UK basketball in the summer of 1994.
#6 - "Kentucky has found the secret of basketball, that it is five guys playing together."- former North Carolina coach Frank McGuire.
#5 - "I'd just as soon freeze to death."- Ashley Judd when a worker on the set of one of her movies ask her if she wanted a North Carolina jacket to cover her shoulders from the cold weather.
#4 - "It's not wise to come to Kentucky and try to run them off their court, not too many teams have ever done that."- Mississippi State coach Babe McCarthy in January of 1962.
#3 - "Really, UCLA is a great place as well but they don't have the kind of environment you have here, Kentucky has a special passion for their basketball program that is unmatched ."- Dick Vitale on UK hoops December 23, 1999.
#2 - "I would have crawled to Lexington to get this job."- Eddie Sutton on Kentucky basketball at his opening press conference.
Here is my personal favorite of all the quotes I researched:
#1 - "I see no reason to end basketball in February just so some of these schools can start spring football practice early. Someday you guys are going to wake up and realize that basketball is hear to stay."- Adolph Rupp to his SEC brethren in 1934.
Sorry Uncle Adolph, you proved to be a prophet on Kentucky basketball with this quote in 1934, but college football is still the King of the South, well, come to think of it, the whole nation and I don't see it changing anytime soon.
Go to www.combsbrothersonkysports.com
for more coverage of the Kentucky Wildcats and KHSAA Sports.