Kentucky Sports Random Thoughts and Observations

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Small ponderings on various Kentucky sports.

First, condolences must go out to Jojo Kemp for the loss of his grandmother. In a tough decision, he stayed in Lexington to play against Alabama State rather than attend his grandmother’s funeral. He dedicated his efforts Saturday night to her memory with 64 yards on 13 carries. His grandmother was a huge football fan.

UK men's Basketball: I wish some writers would hold off on the talk of a 40-0 season at least until we play Michigan State. It just seems to me that our number one goal should be a national championship. The idea of a 40 win season was started by John Calipari. He said it was a dream and a long term goal. That doesn't mean it has to be this year.

Alex Poythress: Why does this have to be a breakout year for Poythress as at least one writer over at Kentucky Sports Radio suggests? I submit that the longer Alex stays at UK, the better off we will be. We will need the experience that he can provide in the future, if he decides to stay one or more years. Too many fans, in my opinion, demand instant gratification.

Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson: Both are ready to play this year and both will provide depth as seniors.

UK women's Basketball: Will this version make it to the Final Four? Greg will keep us up to date on the way.

Baby Steps: This is just my opinion, but the Tennessee game may be the only winnable game left on the schedule. Both teams have had their troubles with quarterback problems. That being said, Tennessee clearly has the advantage in terms of talent. The Vols only need to beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky to become bowl eligible. For those who think Missouri is our hope for a signature win, it ain't happenin'. The Tigers will win the SEC-E. We had our chance in Starkville and blew it. Tennessee will be our last gasp. Unfortunately, we play UGA and Vandy on the road. Our signature win will most likely come next year at home.

In spite of another probable 2-10 season, Kentucky is much better than last year's edition. Think how bad we would be this year if Stoops had not been hired and brought in the 2013 class he recruited. We will be a better team next year with the addition of the 2014 class.

Our coaching staff: Compared to the previous staff, Stoops and Company are far more animated and involved in the games. Do you miss the sideline stoicism and the note pad? I don't. I also like the fact that Stoops tells it like it is in public and I like the fact that he holds his players accountable. Read Larry Vaught's article at the Danville Advocate-Messinger. Stoops has his eyes wide open.

"Any time you get a win, you have to appreciate it," said UK coach Mark Stoops. "Our players have been working hard, fighting and scratching and clawing to get a win. We will have a lot of work to do. We can all see that. I feel like we can do a lot of things better. Believe me, we know any win is a win, but it just feels like we have a lot of work to do and are just not executing the way we can."

This team has refused to quit on him. He understands that he has to change the culture and he knows he has talent issues and, his OC and his DC coaches have had to adjust their game plans accordingly. I think next year will tell us how good our OL and DL position coaches are.

Cats in the NBA: With 22 players from UK in the NBA, how do you keep track? "Boogie" and John Wall have new $60 and $80 million contracts respectively, but Anthony Davis and Eric Bledsoe are making a lot of noise. Davis had 25 points, 6 blocks and 6 steals against Charlotte. He's the youngest player to accomplish that and only the 5th player in the last 20 years to do it. Dwight Howard was the last player to do it. Meanwhile, Eric Bledsoe is tearing it up for the Phoenix Suns. He had 26 points, 14 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals Sunday night.

60 Minutes did a story on Nick Saban that I didn't watch. It was supposed to be about him being the best college coach and inform everyone how he does it. I guess it was for those who don't live and breathe SEC football. We know how he does it. Like Kentucky in basketball, Alabama has a rich tradition in football, thanks to Paul Bryant. It also helps that Saban has a great coaching staff and has had the top ranked recruiting classes (Rivals) in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and currently has the #1 class for 2014. In 2010, Alabama's class was ranked #5. Results: BCS championships in 2009, 2011, and 2012 and the odds-on favorite for 2013. Rocket Science? Hardly.

The Ohio High School Athletics Association has released their final computer rankings.

Kentucky High School Football Playoffs begin Nov. 8

Here's the printable brackets: 1-A, 2-A, 3-A, 4-A, 5-A, 6-A

Each team is linked so you can see their game by game record.

Florida High School Football Rankings can be found here.

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