Welcome, my friends, to this year’s installment of Irrational Exuberance. Set aside anything resembling logic, sanity, reality, uncertainty, pessimism, skepticism and doubt. Below will be the real story of the upcoming campaign by the Kentucky Wildcat football team, the stuff of legends, what you tell your grandchildren. After all, fall is around the corner (finally!), teams are hyped to the point of residing on Mt. Olympus, fans are itchy for some games, Coaches are universally positive and ESPN is ready to make some money. So without further ado, we proceed with the prognostication:
First, a little background. - You think Kentucky "accidentally" stunk up the Compass Bowl, Miss State and Tennessee games, along with showing an abhorrence of tackling fundamentals, critical fumbles and lack of opportunistic play? NAHHHHH! All part of Joker’s master plan. He knows first year coaches in any sport are forgiven damn near anything (unless you’re Pitino, then you get a lifetime ride) and it’s easier to "rise" from a lower point. Last year set up this year’s run to greatness.As you know, gone are Hartline (Mr. Pleasant Surprise), Locke (Mr. Mazda), Matthews (Mr. "Myball") and Cobb (Dr. Superman). For 2011 the experienced personnel on defense have been given new direction (hallelujah!!), our offensive line is solid as any in the
Well......this is the year we RISE to the challenge. The schedule is perfectly set up, as yet our opponents don’t have clue of our offensive threats or defensive schemes, we’re sitting here undefeated, Joker has his first year under his belt, the coaching staff has been upgraded, our five offensive thoroughbreds up front (who needs four stinkin’ horsemen) are ready to maul defenses across the south and it’s time to turn the crank on the Joker-in-the-Box.
As usual, Kentucky has as out of conference schedule envied by some high schools; however, that’s just the way it is - deal with it. As Kentucky football improves and we actually start blowing out some of these teams, Joker will raise the level of difficulty. Football programs just can’t be turned around as fast as basketball teams, especially when there really isn’t a great deal of "history" associated with the program. (OK, I’ll get off the soapbox now.)
Kentucky vs Western Kentucky University (at Nashville) - Kentucky welcomes the Hilltoppers to year two of their BCS Division experiment. The powers that be kindly moved this contest out of state so the Kentucky Attorney General’s office isn’t overrun with cruel and inhuman treatment cases arising from the game. Being held in another state, at night, on a week night keeps witnesses to a minimum and it’s also a much shorter ambulance ride from Nashville to Bowling Green than from Lexington. This will get ugly.....fast. WKU will win the toss at the beginning of the game but will be pretty much out-classed, out-muscled, out-run and out-hit for three hours of Coliseum type mayhem. The Christians had a better chance against the lions. Final score -- Are you serious?
Central Michigan @ Kentucky - Yes, the same conference (MAC) that brought you last year’s Akron Zips sends in the Central Michigan Chippewas, but Akron finished 1 - 11 and CMU finished a MUCH better 3 - 9 last year. A legit quarterback in Ryan Radcliff returns to direct the Chippie pass-first offense but he simply will spend all day running for his life. Defensively, CMU will spend most of the day looking at the sky. After all, once someone knocks you on your ass, that’s pretty much the only view you have. After two games, we still won’t comprehend what Joker has put together. The stats will be ridiculous but padded mostly on the rushing side as Newton will just toss tune-up passes for a couple hundred yards, fans will be clamoring for better opponents and Charlie Strong won’t sleep for the next week. Final Score - whatever we want it to be.
(via Doctor Hyde)
Louisville @ Kentucky - You know that feeling you got as a kid Christmas morning waiting to unwrap that big package under the tree? Well, there ya go. It’s Christmas and we’re getting that present. Inside that package is a punching bag with "Louisville" emblazoned across it. Commonwealth will be rocking, fans will actually be in their seats for kick-off and the whoopin’ will begin from the opening kick-off when Kentucky knocks the snot (and ball) out of the return man in an ESPN highlight shattering smack down. We promptly score with Sanders up the middle through a hole big enough to hold Tom Jurich’s ego. Kentucky will totally own the first half and pile up a three TD lead by halftime. We’ll start out a little overconfident the second half, screw up a few things then regain focus on the vile Cards and cruise to a crushing victory. Charlie Strong will fire all his recruiters then call his former players at Florida (at least, those that are allowed phone calls) and mumble incoherent whimpers about what Florida will be facing the next week. Final score - Howsabout 42 - 17!
[Caption unnecessary] (via robspiegel)
Florida @ Kentucky - After almost getting embarrassed by Tennessee on national TV the week before the Gators pack up their bags to invade The House of Blue. Yeah, Florida has a 2,492 game winning streak against Kentucky but, wait, there’s something in the air - "I love the smell of napalm in the morning, it smells like........victory". Kentucky and Florida trade blows like an Ali/Frazier bout for the first half and grind to a 10 - 10 tie at half time. Joker lets Nuke Minter give the half time speech and the team gets so charge up they create three new entrances to the field from the locker room. In the second half John Brantley’s regained confidence in Coach Weiss’ offense will be badly shaken - the blitzes and stunts coming from the revamped defensive scheme will ultimately leave him with a severe case of PTSD. The offense will use a power game to steamroll over the Gator defense so that Florida speed will be very handy avoiding enraged linemen. After the game, Will Muschamp will immediately call Mack Brown and ramble on about "..and Kentucky isn’t supposed to be one of the better teams......A&M could be joining this group of bullies.........know of any openings in the Big 10 (formerly SoftWest Conference)?". Interesting stat of the game: Kentucky 2nd half rushing 180 yards, 3 yds passing. Three yards? Yep, but those three yards come on the final play of the game on, you guessed it, a jump pass to win. The Ugly streak ends. Kentucky 28, Florida 24.
Dead like the streak. (via Furryscaly)
Kentucky @ LSU - Uh-oh, over confidence rears it’s head. Kentucky comes into this game too full of themselves.
Cow Coach Miles has his leftover Tigers ready to defend Death Valley but Kentucky won’t go without a fight. After a horrible first half and trailing 20 - 0 the Cats make a determined effort but come up short, very short. In a loss like this you don’t want any more of the details. Joker makes the team go to Shady’s after the game. Kentucky 17, LSU 37
AAARRRGGGHH!!! (via Alex E. Proimos)
Kentucky @ South Carolina - FORE!!! Coach Visor has been waiting for this game after coming up short last year in Lexington. As the last of four consecutive home games, he really wants this one, especially since they bring in an undefeated record after beating East Carolina, Georgia, Navy, Vanderbilt then Auburn. The loss at Commonwealth still pisses him off so he bails Stephen Garcia out of jail to direct the Gamecock offense for what seems like his 18th year in the league. After going against the porous defenses for the last three weeks he now faces a defense with talent, experience and a plan. This time Lattimore makes it through a whole game but he can’t find holes inside, room outside or anywhere to go - at least, what he’s used to. He still gets over 100 yards and Jeffrey catches for over 100 yards but some fumbles and Garcia interceptions doom the day for the fighting chickens. The passing game everyone expected to see comes from an unexpected source - Kentucky. The offense gets humming again after the LSU loss as Newton connects to everyone, all day, short, long, over the middle, to the side and between the legs. Again, Sp-sp-spurrier, watch out for that ball. FORE!!! Streak = 2. Kentucky 24, South Carolina 21
Choke that chicken! (via boviate)
Jacksonville State @ Kentucky - Hope you saved your "Beat Gamecocks" signs because we get to dine on chicken two weeks in a row. Coach Crowe (another fowl?) struts his Jacksonville State University Gamecocks into the House of (black and) Blue for their only contest this year against a BCS Division team. Kentucky won’t be taking JSU lightly knowing that they beat Ole Miss last year (49 - 48 2OT) in their one venture outside the FCS and they garnered a preseason No. 9 ranking for FBS schools. Offensively they feature a very capable quarterback in Marques Ivory and running back Washaun Ealey. You may remember Washaun as that back from Geogia having a career day against Kentucky’s Ole defense last year. He only went for 157 yards and 5 TDs (Georgia record). That’s the bad news. Now the good news - he’s now playing for Jacksonville State. Let’s face it, an FBS school coming into Lexington, they’re playing for money, they’re smaller, slower and named after a dinner entree. The first half is surprisingly competitive but Kentucky is giving a lot of players some rest (in addition to the bye week) to recover from early season and prepare for the upcoming SEC run. The second half is also competitive - as competitive as a pack of hyenas chasing a cow. By the end of the game, fans could only say "OOOOhhhh, the humanity!". An all freshmen offense and defense take over the game in the second half and secure the victory. 42 - 10 Good guys.
Mississississississippi State @ Kentucky - MSU comes off a bye week after their home loss to South Carolina. Last year Kentucky beat the Dogs in Time of Possession (35:45 to 24:15), passing yards (258 to 111), first downs (24 -14) and "Best Uniforms" but came up short on rushing yardage (89 to 214) and the score (24 -17). Chris Reif and Vick Ballard are back and Coach Mullen brings along a deep receiving corp to the confines of Commonwealth. This time Joker, in his best imitation of Coach Yoast, pumps the team with "Leave no doubt!" before they leave the locker room. MSU doesn’t know what hit them. They can’t muster an offense since the new lineman keep taking each other out trying to block the stunts and blitzes that are concealed better than Mullen’s hairline and their new defensive linebackers are helpless trying to stop the running game from ripping off 5 yards every carry through the gaping holes made by the line. MSU does end up leading the stat line for: punting yardage, fumbles and, once again, ugly uniforms. MSU sees the season go down the toilet when they add this loss to Auburn, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina. Yet another coach makes a call to his former team. Ya know, Ames, Iowa isn’t a step down from Starkville, Mississississippi. Final - 24 - 10.
(via Lynda W1)
Mississississississippi @ Kentucky - By some means of divine intervention Ole Miss comes into the game boasting a victory over Auburn the previous week. Coach Nuttybar brings in this years quarterback - highly touted, former QB at West Virginia, Barry Brunetti to replace Masoli from last year. Brunetti barely fit the stringent Ole Miss QB standards: name end in "i", sketchy transfer from another school, pursued by other power schools (Arkansas State, Memphis) and a police record. Brunetti is to start working on the police record this fall. In the game, Brunetti will finally understand that he is in the SEC not the Big East. The Rebels put up an admirable fight but even Nutt’s pom poms can’t pull this game out for Ole Miss’ new mascot - Rebel Black Bear (kinda just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?). We’ll miss Colonel Reb but we won’t miss watching this game as Kentucky attains a top 15 ranking by pulling out a tight defensive struggle 10 - 7.
Die, Rebels! (via pirateyjoe)
Kentucky @ Vanderbilt - When I think of Vanderbilt football the first thing that pops into my mind is "Alas, poor Yorick". The second thing is "sure glad they’re in our division/conference." If not for Vanderbilt, Kentucky would have been relegated to total humiliation years ago; but, don’t forget, even Vandy has beaten Tennessee and Florida since we have. Kentucky took some lumps the last couple of weeks beating up on the magnolia brothers so while several players take it easy, the freshmen hold Vandy by the neck and throttle ‘em. Trevethan owns the defense and runs up an embarrassing tackle, tackle for loss and sacks stat line - and he only plays the first half, with one hand behind his back. The referees are constantly counting Vanderbilt’s players to be sure they’re playing with eleven. After all, how can Kentucky run (and pass) wild when there is some semblance of defense? Yes, Kentucky’s home away from home, Nashville, is once again very kind to the Cats. Everything works offensively and the defense get to the point where they yell "Fall!" to tackle any Vandy player. Texas A&M calls the Vandy AD to voluteer to stand in for the football team next year. Final 48 - 0. Whoa!
Kentucky @ Georgia - Mark "Pants on Fire" Richt welcomes the Wildcats in to Sanford Stadium. Doggone it, things were looking so good. Kentucky had put together a string of great games but the wheels came off early and often because this Georgia team is much better than the previous three victims. Freshman phenom running back Isaiah Crowell runs as well as advertized and Aaron Murray manages the game very well but not spectacular, due to defensive pressure. Kentucky keeps it close at the end but doesn’t get the gift wrapped interceptions like last time in Athens when Joe Cox helped us so much. Ultimately, Kentucky misses just enough chances to win this game to keep the naysayers and doubters happy in their criticism. Georgia in a nail biter 24 - 21 (OT).
Ooopsie! (via karlnorling)
Tennessee @ Kentucky - Let me put it this way............
Do I really need to say anything? Kentucky wins it going away 34-17!
So ends the 2011 regular season campaign, on the highest of notes. Pinch me, am I dreaming? Of course, but that's the beauty of preseason and rooting for your team. Come hell or high water this season has the makings of an unforgettable year, let just hope its for all the right reasons. Going 10-2? Probably not, but it sure is fun to dream. You can relive the 2009 and 2010 preseason dreams, too. They were smashed like Slive's dream of a fully compliant SEC so now let's see how long this dream lasts.
Oh well, let's play some football!!