Everyone outside of the Big Blue Nation are telling me that I shouldn't celebrate over the Eric Bledsoe matter. I say they can go get a hammer, take their sanctimony, and pound it back into their nether regions from whence it came.
From the predictable Louisville Cardinal stupidity, to Gary Parrish and Kevin Scarbinsky, we are being told not to rejoice that our player was not declared retroactively ineligible and Kentucky's 2009-10 season vacated by the NCAA. We should be ashamed, they seem to be saying, that circumstances absolutely nobody at Kentucky could have known about, and even a third-party law firm could not support with evidence, did not wind up a problem for UK. Somehow, despite the fact UK had absolutely no culpability and the fact that both UK and the NCAA did in-depth reviews of Bledsoe's academics, that UK is still guilty of -- well, of what, nobody seems to say.
Why should we not celebrate having a young man who, as far as anyone knows, did work hard to get himself eligible, stayed eligible throughout the season, and became a success story by going from abject poverty to a millionaire? Why should UK not celebrate the fact that 2009-10 will not have an asterisk beside it despite the unethical leak of Bledsoe's transcripts to third parties that did not have permission to see them, and an utterly baseless imputation by Pete Thamel of the New York Times of illegal extra benefits? Why should Kentucky fans not celebrate having all this nonsense off their plate?
Ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, we should not be allowing others to define this debate for us, and tell us how we should perceive ourselves or the team. Every one of these worthies was practically cheering for the NCAA to invalidate Kentucky's season, whether or not there was actual evidence of wrongdoing. For them, the accusation was all that was necessary.
Whether the teacher in question violated ethical rules or not, most of these same people would or have told you that the principle of strict liability applied by the NCAA in the Rose matter is a questionable thing, yet here they are telling us, "Oh, don't cheer UK, you guys were just lucky and arguably should have lost your season." Anybody see a problem with ... umm ... consistency here?
The bottom line is, Kentucky's determination of eligibility for Bledsoe was correct and proper in every way. As to the Alabama school system, if they have issues they need to correct them. But since no hard evidence of wrongdoing was found, it is certainly right and proper for no action to be taken by any party to the matter, at least as pertains to Bledsoe's eligibility.
I'm celebrating. If you don't feel like it, that's fine, but don't tell me I have to accept how our opponents frame this matter. Now, for the news:
This kind of got overlooked with the Bledsoe report on Friday and the big game on Saturday, but I want to welcomeback to Kentucky.
And were we wrong. Florida didn’t struggle. Like at all. I mean, either a) they absolutely turned it on this week and tee totally got things figured out, or b) Kentucky is a really bad football team right now. Hell, Miami (OHIO), Tennessee, and Southern Florida played that team much closer than we did. We came into that game thinking we had the cards to maybe win the game. At least we won’t have any trouble staying humble this week.
Yeah, staying humble should be a breeze after that game.
That’s worth celebrating, but still — and we’re usually reluctant to hand out such advice — we’d advise our readers in the BBN to feel more relief than victory right now. Nobody won anything, here. If you’re a Kentucky fan, it’s just that you didn’t lose.
More correctly, it had nothing to do with win or lose. Kentucky's evaluation of Bledsoe's unearthed no obvious improprieties, and that evaluation was vindicated by the fact that the law firm couldn't find any, either.
Hartline didn’t have as bad of a game as everyone is making out. While he did throw two interceptions, he also piled up 242 yards against the best secondary in college football. This group of defensive backs will make far better quarterbacks look far worse during the course of the season, and there are at least six guys in their secondary that will be playing on Sundays at some point. Hartline wasn’t helped by bad play calling, poor protection, and dropped passes. Everyone remembers the outburst Mike had as a sophomore where he blamed getting benched on his teammates. He could have said the same thing Saturday night and he would have been right. No doubt he made some mistakes, but there is plenty of blame to go around.
I think this is right. Hartline did not play bad at all. He made one really stupid throw and another that was a combination of a bad call and a great defensive play.
But overall, against this secondary, I have little to complain about as far as Hartline is concerned.
Phillips said his team could have competed with Florida had it not been for penalties. The Cats were whistled for false starts, substitution penalties and personal fouls.
Sorry, Joker, I'm not buying what you're selling here. Penalties were a problem, but even if UK had zero, it would not have mattered much.
That Kentucky couldn't beat the Gators, failed by 34 points, is not proof the Cats aren't good. Just not good enough. They weren't good enough Saturday night. Kentucky football has closed a lot of gaps the past five years. This isn't one of them. Florida is just better. Much better.
Sadly, I think this is exactly right.
From a bluegrass jam during the Olympics-esque parade of nations to featured roles for numerous Lexington-based artists to appearances by basketball coach John Calipari and the University of Kentucky cheerleaders, the ceremonies had a distinctly Kentucky feel.
John Clay's SEC links.
Twitter / Tom Leach: Chip Cosby, Jeff Van Note, ...
Chip Cosby, Jeff Van Note, Matt Jones on the radio show today
"They did a lot of shallow stuff (in the passing game), but we practiced that," linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "It wasn't nothing they did that we didn't see. If there was, we corrected it at halftime."
Heh. Well, whatever the halftime corrections were, they didn't work. I'm just sayin'.