Football season finally makes its debut in little over a week. The college football prognosticators are high on the Kentucky Wildcats, with some even predicting a 9-3 season. I’m not ready to go that far, but I do think the ‘Cats should duplicate or improve by one win from last season.
But the preseason hasn’t been kind to two seniors on offense.
How Worried Should we be about the Losses of Dorian Baker and Cole Mosier?
It’s a good thing that the offense for the Wildcats is deeper than the defense, because the ‘Cats have taken two big hits on the offensive side of the ball. With Cole Mosier and Dorian Baker both likely out for the season, should we be worried about the offensive line and the receiving core?
On a panic scale of 1-5, 5 being panicked, I would put my feelings about the offensive line at a 1. While the leadership of Mosier will be hard to replace, Landon Young at left tackle isn’t a downgrade. In fact, Mosier was probably listed as a started due to his seniority and experience. Their talent of Young is comparable, or maybe even greater than that of Mosier.
Young’s playing time increased as the season increased last season while Mosier’s lessened. Young has a season of SEC play under his belt and should be ready to take the next step as a leader on the offensive line. Luckily, that position is stacked with interchangeable pieces.
The wide receiver position is a little more questionable. With the loss of leading receiver Jeff Badet, Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson were expected to increase their production. Now that Baker is out indefinitely, that leaves Juice... and who else? My panic level is at a 3. Some younger, unproven players are going to have to step up. Kayaune Ross and Tavin Richardson are two guys that come to mind that can step in for Baker.
Let’s be real here: it’s not like Baker was lighting it up. His career numbers aren’t great (88 receptions, 1,015 yards, 6 TD’s), so it’s not like the offense is going to have to replace major production. Most of the hype built around Baker this season was based on his talent and whether or not he was going to take the game seriously.
There are also some freshmen that we should keep an eye on as well; Zy’Aire Hughes, Clevan Thomas, and Joshua Ali have all received rave reviews coming out of camp.
And don’t forget CJ Conrad as a major pass catching weapon as long as Stephen Johnson can get the ball to him.
The Duke Double Standard
When Marvin Bagley III committed to the Duke Blue Devils, there was a round of the usual praising of Coach K and how the Devils once again were the favorites to win the national title.
Not one media outlet let loose any outrage over the fact that Duke proclaims to have high academic standards, but they just accepted a high school senior that has been to three schools in three years and has yet to be officially cleared by the NCAA
Not one outlet except the New York Post. After years of the media demonization of John Calipari for “ruining college basketball” with his one-and-done players while they clasped their hands behind their backs and whistled Dixie while Coach K was doing the exact same thing, someone finally spoke up.
But Phil Mushnick has had enough of the Duke Double Standard. In a particularly scathing paragraph, Mushnick points out the hypocrisy:
Imagine what those desensitized, TV-celebrated “Cameron Crazies” would do to Bagley if he played at Duke for UNC, North Carolina St. or Kentucky. They’d mob-trash him as a one-and-done rent-a-star.
I’m afraid that Mushnick is just one voice screaming into the void as the rest of the college basketball media dance to the tune of the Pied Piper of Durham.
College Coaches Don’t Think Much of Rick Pitino or UofL in General
The CBS Sports Anonymous College Basketball Polls have become a summer tradition. In the latest poll, Matt Norlander asked coaches if they think the NCAA will stick by its guns and maintain that UofL be stripped of their 2013 national title for playing ineligible players. 58% of them agreed that the banner will stay down.
I was very surprised at that number, especially since only 21% think that North Carolina will lose their basketball titles because of their academic fraud scandal.
And then I read the comments the coaches made about UofL, Rick Pitino, and Tom Jurich. There is clear disdain among Pitino’s peers.
Here are a few choice comments:
I don't see how Louisville keeps that title. They played ineligible players in the tournament.
Trust me, we know everything that goes on our with our program. And so did Rick Pitino.
I'm heavily influenced by the people there [at Louisville] and who is running the program, all the way up to the AD and the president. Yes on Louisville, no on North Carolina.
If you're going to do one, why are you not doing the other one? I mean come on. It's funny, when the thing happened with Louisville and one of the guys on our staff, support staff, said there's nothing going to happen to him [Pitino]. I'm like, 'What?' I just find it entertaining. We had a kid transfer from there, had him on a visit, and I remember this because it was quite a few years ago. Heard about how Pitino was micromanaging, busting in their rooms to check if their rooms are clean, what's in their fridge. I thought, If he's that micromanaging, how does he not know what's going on here?
Take the time and read the entire article because there are many more like the comments above. While there are obviously coaches that believe Rick knew, I myself cannot come to that conclusion; I can’t see Pitino actually giving orders to have Andre McGee hire hookers for players and recruits.
But what I do believe is that Pitino tried VERY hard not to know. I think he went out of his way to make sure people didn’t connect him to what was going on in Minardi Hall. Kind of a “See No Evil” approach.
I’m used to college coaches, anonymous or out in the open, trashing John Calipari, it’s one of their favorite past times. I was totally unprepared for the contempt, the mistrust, and the disgust they hold for Pitino. Pitino is a prideful man and he very much cares what people think of him. The reality that his peers hold him in contempt must be particularly galling.
One day Pitino will have a 30 For 30 documentary made about him much like Cal did.
But while Calipari embraced it and took the good with the bad, Pitino will reject, deflect, and mislead us all on certain events that have taken place during his tarnished time at UofL.
That’s what Pitino does best.