Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies. Of course, the big news of today is the crowning of the 2018 CFB Playoff national champion — the Alabama Crimson Tide.
I thought the game was generally very well played, but some perplexing mistakes by generally very competent football teams led to big plays and ultimately decided the outcome of the game. There were lots of storylines, most of which are revealed over at Roll Bama Roll, Dawg Sports, and SB Nation here, here, here, here, and here.
Anything I can add to all these genuine college football experts would be superfluous, but I’ll take a stab anyway. The bottom line for this game is that both teams were evenly matched, and in the end, one of them was going to score enough points to eventually win the game. It took overtime, as it should have, and this time, it was the Tide who did just enough. There were some officiating mistakes, but there always are. Congratulations to the Crimson Tide for coming back and nipping the Bulldogs at the wire.
Just one quick aside: I saw players from both teams touch officials last night. None of them were ejected, or even flagged. I still haven’t recovered from the shock.
Chris Coyte, your office on line 1.
Now, let’s move on to things of concern mainly to Kentucky fans, this site’s raison d’etre.
Kentucky vs. Texas A&M tonight in Rupp Arena
After the loss to Tennessee last Saturday, the Wildcats have had time to lick their wounds and prepare for a game that, for this point in the season, has a rather outsized impact. TAMU is 0-3 in the SEC due to the loss of a couple of their best players, namely junior guard Admon Gilder and sophomore forward Robert Williams. Both will be back in action against Kentucky, although neither is expected to be at peak form.
This is not a must-have game for Kentucky, but it is a very important one. Two-game losing skids are rare for Calipari-led teams, but they do seem to show up most years. The problem is, UK has a two-game road swing after this game and it’s never a good thing to try to get well in the hated atmosphere of Vandy’s Memorial Gymnasium or on the road against the root-canal defense of Frank Martin’s South Carolina Gamecocks.
Kentucky needs this game more than it would appear, and holding serve at home is critical to SEC season success. TAMU is vulnerable, if motivated, but Kentucky needs to cut them off at the knees and insist that they find their answers elsewhere.
Tweet of the Morning
They gave us replay. You mean that didn't fix everything? https://t.co/TZaMS6LbML— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) January 9, 2018
Mike DeCourcy, trenchant as always.
- Great news for Wildcats fans: Linebacker Josh Allen will return for senior season.
- Bad news: Javonte Richardson, a 4-star receiver, is transferring.
- Mark Stoops still close to former UK DB coach Derrick Ansley.
- Three questions facing UK basketball going into the Texas A&M game. All good, to be sure, but my only question is this: Can Kentucky take care of the basketball? In our losses, Kentucky has averaged almost 24% turnovers. If we take care of the ball, I like our chances.
- UK will face physical challenge vs. Texas A&M. Yes, and they’d better get used to it. Get a reputation as soft in this league, and you won’t like your spot.
- Allen Edwards, Mark Pope leading the pack among ex-Cats in coaching.
- Kentucky’s toughness in question after loss to Tennessee.
- Jarred Vanderbilt has returned to practice. I know many have opined that he will not return this season, but I think he probably will, and that right soon.
- A look at UK basketball’s tournament resume. Not that impressive yet.
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky hoops loses 7th straight game to Georgia. I suspected this season would be a struggle.
- Answers to the biggest college basketball questions right now.
- Big Ten men’s basketball way down. Yep, but these things happen in cycles.
Other sports news
- The secret history of the fun, obnoxious, inescapable SEC chant. Well, get used to it, haytaz. It’s going to be a lot louder after last night.