Big Blue Notes: Wildcats come close to breaking losing streak against Florida but come up just short

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column 'Big Blue Notes' appears regularly in The Lake News.

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column ‘Big Blue Notes’ appears regularly in The Lake News.

Cats come up short against the Gators
Mark Stoops and company looked like the better team most of the evening Saturday night against the Florida Gators. As with so many previous attempts, however, Kentucky couldn’t close the deal on the nationally ranked Gators and eventually lost by a lone point. The 27-28 defeat marked Kentucky’s 31st consecutive loss to Florida.

Despite the inherent heartache from such a hard fought loss, the Wildcats remain poised for a historic season. With upcoming home games against Eastern Michigan and Missouri, Kentucky remains on pace to hit the halfway point of the season with a 5-1 record.

The Cats and the Eagles will kickoff at 3:00 p.m. CST on Saturday from Kroger Field. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

2017-18 basketball schedule released
The Wildcats’ 2017-18 basketball schedule was released this past weekend. Calipari’s squad will face off with 13 nonconference opponents and play 18 games in the Southeastern Conference.

As usual, Kentucky will play a bevy of college basketball bluebloods in the nonconference portion. The Wildcats’ first major test will come in the third game of the season against Kansas. The two winningest programs in college basketball history will play on November 14th in the Champions Classic. Kentucky will also play UCLA, Louisville, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia in the nonconference slate.

In conference play, the Wildcats will play Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Missouri in home and away matchups. Calipari’s squad will host Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Ole Miss and travel to LSU, South Carolina, Auburn, and Arkansas in their lone meetings in the regular season.

UK clothing deal to take effect
In the coming months, you’ll likely see several big blue clothing retailers close their doors for business. Beginning in January of 2018, the University of Kentucky will become partner to a new apparel manufacturing agreement known as Plus-1 which will dramatically change the retail landscape for UK merchandise.

The university has signed a multi-million dollar deal with J. America, a collegiate clothing manufacturer, to become the exclusive manufacturer of University of Kentucky apparel other than Nike. Kentucky joins Ohio State as the only other school in the country to have signed such a deal.

While the deal will have limited effect on chain retailers such a Dick’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett, privately owned businesses that specialize in more unique collegiate apparel will essentially lose any opportunity to compete without the ability to carry diverse product lines.

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