We are ten days away from the start of college football season and, not completely coincidentally, the Kentucky Wildcats' season opener against the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers. Here are ten quick hits to mark the day.
1. If my ticket buying experience is any indication, this is going to be a poorly attended game. Just today I was able to secure four-50 yard line aisle seats in the lower level on Ticketmaster.
2. The game on September 1 kicks off an odyssey for me that I plan to share with everyone here on A Sea of Blue. My family (wife, daughter, son) and I are heading to Nashville on Thursday afternoon for the game. On Friday, my son and I will continue on to the greater Atlanta area and watch two Kentucky commits, Daron and Zach Blaylock from Walton High in Marrietta, Ga. take on Milton High School in Alpharetta. On Saturday we're going to see the Georgia Bulldogs and Boise St. Broncos at the Georgia Dome. All and all a huge weekend of football that should be a lot of fun and provide some good stories.
3. It agree with the people who say it is probably just a commentary about the talent we are bringing in, but the fact is, UK has lost a number of defensive players who were in or very near the two deep a year ago. Jerell Priester was the latest to leave . Josh Gibbs and Qua Huzzie have also left during fall camp. Dakotah Tyler did not return to school in the fall semester and Nermin Delic initially decided to give up football before changing his mind and sitting out this year instead. All five saw the field last year and likely would have again.
4. My three biggest questions right now are how prepared Morgan Newton is to throw the ball down the field accurately in real games situations, how well UK's defense is picking up Rick Minter's scheme and who, if anyone, is distancing himself in the crowded tight end race.
5. My take on the Miami situation? Meh. There are Nevin Shapiros out there who could blow up any number of college programs. Other fans may want be careful not to gloat or get sanctimonious.
6. The NCAA seems intent on fixing small problems while ignoring big ones.
7. College football gets its nose bloodied a lot, but always comes back swinging.
8. In a couple of weeks, the air will become more crisp, the leaves will begin to fall and bands will play. Pigskins, ping pongs balls and beanbags will fly haphazardly across parking lots and front yards while enough beer spills on the ground that its scent lingers in the fall air all season long. Hundreds of young men will awake, stick a toothbrush in their mouths, and put on a baseball cap with their shirt, tie and khakis. Somehow, hundreds of perfect tens in tailored sundresses will accompany these boys to football games without complaint, cheer like crazy, drink like fish, and emerge hours later without so much as a hair out of place. Men will char every species of animal fit for human consumption and women will make their best tasting dishes to be enjoyed while standing on blacktop and juggling a plastic cup, paper plate and chicken wing. Kirk Herbstreit will become your house's most prevalent background sound as you take turns checking your watch, your casserole and Gameday.
9. Eventually, though, all of these things give way. Because as wonderful as the coeds, cocktails and chicken wings are, they pale in comparison to the game. In all of its electric, agile, violent, emotional and radiant glory, it is undiluted perfection.
10. And try as they might, the Nevin Shapiros of the world will do nothing to change that. Ever.