Welcome to the virtual tailgate for the Jacksonville St. Gamecocks @ Kentucky Wildcats game today in Commonwealth Stadium. Time to have some fun and talk some football.
First off, if you haven't read it yet, please be sure to check out Ken's pregame just below. Then, come on back here and get ready for some virtual food and drink and some real fun and football.
So follow me past the jump for the fun.
First, you look like you had a hard week. Today's tailgate refreshment will be:
Bourbon on the rocks (via Jeffrey Beall)
Yeah, we're not messing around today. With Kentucky sitting ugly at 2-4, we need some real serious medicine to cure the pain, put us in a happier mood, and wash away some of the embarrassment of wondering if maybe we could wind up losing to an FCS team on top of an already frustrating year.
Sometimes, there is simply no substitute for straight liquor to relax away the negativity and get everyone fired up, if a bit incoherent.
Of course, if bourbon is not your style, we always serve:
Cold beer!. (via izik)
For teetotalers and non-drinkers, we always bring along a good stock of
mixers soft drinks and other beverages as well as plenty of ice.
Now, for the food. In honor of our opponents, today we will be serving:
Barbecue Chicken (via LifeSupercharger)
Yeah, barbecue chicken. Sorry, Gamecocks.
Moving on to our side dish for today, something we haven't had:
Potato Salad (via diekatrin)
Okay, now that we're fed and have a cold beverage, let's talk some football.
Today's game represents something that we have really never had to worry about the past five seasons -- our obligatory tilt with an FCS team, aka a "buy win," "automatic win," or "cupcake." As poorly as Kentucky has played, instead of eating the cupcake, the cupcake may eat the Wildcats.
The week off should have helped Kentucky appreciably. I will eschew practice reports, since they have not really proven to mean much so far this year, but we will get back the services of one of our best pass rushers, Collins Ukwu. That in itself really helps the defense, as Ukwu is a good player that we need on the field.
Every Wildcat knows about Washaun Ealey, who now plays for Jackson St. The former Georgia Bulldog scored five touchdowns at Kentucky last year, leading the Dawgs to a narrow victory over the 'Cats. He comes back into Commonwealth Stadium today playing well, although he doesn't have near the line in front of him he had in Athens.
The one thing that typically separates FCS schoos from FBS schools are the lines. That means for the first time in four games, Morgan Newton should get some time to throw and the receivers some time to get downfield. It also means that, even though Josh Clemons is out, Kentucky's running backs have no excuse. Raymond Sanders and Coshik Williams are likely to get the most touches, but you can expect Jonathan George and Brandon Gainer to also get some time, particularly if Kentucky gets a lead.
To be honest, I don't expect Kentucky to do anything fancy. Joker Phillips needs this win, and he isn't going to want to take any chances. This game is a no-win situation for Phillips -- if UK beats the Gamecocks by 50 it's just an expected win over an FCS team, and if he loses, the calls for his head will only grow louder and more intense.
What are your thoughts?