I won’t have much chance to be around a computer until next Tuesday and will miss seeing/watching/attending The Game so here’s my 2 cents of somewhat rational exuberance on this Saturday’s game.
My blue tinted glasses breakdown the reason for winning into different areas.
There was no excuse in losing last year and none this year. Once the game begins revenge won’t play a part but has already been a driving force in the preparation for the season.
Update: Doesn't look like revenge did anything to help.
Petrino is a gifted offensive mind, a playcalling genius, experienced Head Coach, blah, blah, blah. Petrino is also a Head Case that micromanages his teams, frustrates his staff, uses an offense needing at least a year to understand and is coaching on borrowed time. Stoops has no Head Coaching experience but assembles a great staff (see below), creates a positive atmosphere of improvement and fearlessly implements cutting edge advances in all aspects. Lastly, I’d drink a beer with Stoops but not Petrino.
Update: Guess I didn't really pick one or the other but Petrino did a better job. But I'd still rather have a beer with Stoops.
This one is hardly up for debate. The combination of Brown on offense, Eliot/Stoops on defense, the insanity of Peveto on special teams and the mad scientist of Korem influencing the overall fitness of the team this is slam dunk Kentucky. The players from last year are light years mentally and physically from last year because of the great work this youthful staff has done.
Update: Peveto's group did well but as to the players being ahead of last year? Physically, maybe; but mentally there is work to do. Eliot needs to raise his game and Brown needs to get back to his. Jury still out.
Kentucky Offense against WKU Defense
Like Kentucky, the Hilltoppers have some pockets of talent in their defense. Unfortunately for Western, not enough. Saturday will be hot and I just can’t see enough talent and depth if UK has any semblance of success in running the offense. The offense will be simple in that there will be only a handful of plays, but the plays being used have so many options and variations that it will still be enough to confuse a defense that is being coached by less than a mastermind. Consistently stopping Kentucky will not be in the cards.
Update: Wrong. We lost the trenches overall but very worthy effort by UK OLine.
WKU Offense against Kentucky Defense
First, Western has to get the plays down. Petrino’s offense is complicated, particularly for the quarterback. He walked into both Arkansas and Louisville with experienced quarterbacks but in Bowling Green he is starting over from scratch. Within two weeks of the first game the QB battle was still undetermined and Petrino’s practice layout doesn’t offer the high repititions for multiple QBs the way he runs his two spot practices. Western’s QB simply has not had the benefit of a lot of reps for the starter and that will hamper their offense. On the other side of the ball, Kentucky is also going to hamper their offense. The Hilltopper’s star running back, Antonio Andrews, is undeniably a great talent but he’ll be going straight into the strength of Kentucky’s defense - the front seven. Western’s biggest hope is getting the passing game going but I think the combination of Kentucky’s pass rush and Western’s early stages of learning Petrino’s offense will leave them sputtering.
Update: Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. SOS!
Not much here except Kentucky wins in the kicking and punting. Kentucky threw special team positions open to the whole team while Western follows Petrino’s more militaristic style of each player has one role to perfect; you are a starter or you are on special teams. This area also goes to Kentucky on strictly a man by man approach. While UK was abysmal in the win/loss department last year we did it with SEC or near SEC athletes. Western’s are not.
Update: Special teams look better than last year.
Kentucky has been floating around anywhere from a 3 to 5 point favorite. Odd in that spreads are set more to make the booking even on both sides, not necessarily to indicate the real point difference expected. This actually would indicate an even narrower win since regular money from fans would generally be on the Kentucky side due to the larger fan base and raise the spread to encourage more Hilltopper betting. But something must be pushing it to average at about the 4.5 point range. Could the nonfan money be going to WKU? That one concerns me since all those big neon building in Vegas weren’t built by losing. In any case the over/under is floating in the high fifties which means they think someone going to be doing a bit of scoring. I’ll go with UK (of course).
Update: Vegas with a big miss on UK by 3 to 5 and didn't reach high enough for the over/under.
Enjoy the game, I’ll be taping.