Big Blue Notes: UK rides roller coaster football season

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.

Kentucky falls to Ole Miss
As with many years, Kentucky’s 2017 football season has been an emotional roller coaster. Stoops’ squad was thought to have the potential for a historic season and has looked the part at times. Just as often, the Cats have seemed average at best.

The Wildcats’ lone constant has been their knack for games ending on the final possession. Saturday’s matchup with Ole Miss was no exception. The Wildcats had one their most impressive offensive drives of the year to take the lead in the final minutes only to relinquish it back to Rebels with seconds remaining.

With the 34-37 loss, the Wildcats move to 6-3 on the season with remaining games against Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Louisville.

The Cats and Commodores will kickoff at 3 p.m. CST from Nashville on Saturday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Wildcats open the regular season
John Calipari begins his ninth season at the helm this week as the Wildcats take on Utah Valley on Friday. Utah Valley is coached by former Wildcat Mark Pope. The Wildcats and the Wolverines will tip off at 6 p.m. from Rupp Arena. Calipari’s squad will follow up the season opener with a game against Vermont on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on the SEC Network.

On Tuesday, things get serious for the Wildcats as they travel to Chicago to take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the Champions Classic. This year’s Champions Classic features the four top-ranked teams in the country with (1) Duke versus (2) Michigan State and (3) Kansas against (4) Kentucky.

Kentucky and Kansas, the two winningest programs in college basketball history, will follow the Blue Devils and Spartans with tipoff expected at 8:30 p.m. CST. The games will be televised on ESPN.

Kentucky’s bowl projections
With the loss to Ole Miss, the Wildcats’ dream of a major bowl appearance came to an end. Unfortunately, Kentucky’s basketball schedule will likely also limit the Wildcats’ bowl possibilities. With Kentucky and Louisville playing in Rupp Arena on December 29, the Cats and the Cards will probably both be skipped by the Music City and Belk Bowls which are played on the same day.

Given the circumstances, one or two more wins probably sends Kentucky to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. If Stoops’ squad were to come up empty in the remaining games, the Wildcats will be slotted for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport of the Birmingham Bowl.

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