Ira's Weekly Column
By - Ira D. Combs
Director / Syndicated Columnist
Tri State Sports Media & Promotions Service Inc.
Gridiron Cats Head To Mizzou Still Searching For # 6
(NBA Tips Off This Week With Several Former UK Players In Prominent Roles)
The 2014 UK football season has obviously hit a wall having lost (2) consecutive games albeit to two top 25 teams with the latest being numero uno in college football . Still you’ve got to like the fight and moxy in this team with the way they kept scratching , clawing , and batting the # 1 team in the land coming off their first true beat down of the season at LSU .
Yes , they shot themselves in the foot all night and especially in the 1st half against Miss. State by dropping a couple passes , missing a couple wide open receivers , making a couple poor decisions once again with specialty teams play and several missed tackles on defense . It put them in a hole again at halftime but not so deep they couldn’t dig out and give them a chance to tie the game on (3) different possessions late in the 3rd quarter and twice in the 4th quarter . The final score of 45 – 31 was no indication of the sequence of play going down the stretch run to end the game .
Mississippi State’s well respected coach Dan Mullen said himself after the game “ This Kentucky team is a very dangerous team , I can see them winning a few more this year “ .
The usual SEC gauntlet schedule continues on for the 2nd half of the season at Missouri this Saturday ( 4:00 EST On SEC TV Network ) who is coming of a 24 – 14 win over Vandy with an impressive 6 – 2 record overall and 3 – 1 in the SEC east although those two Mizzou losses came to a very ordinary 3 – 4 Indiana team 31 – 27 and a shut out to Georgia 34 - 0 who was playing their first game without their stud running back Todd Gurley . There are some longtime Wildcat football followers who I’ve spoken to in recent days that think this is UK’s best chance at a road win , not me , I still think Knoxville and/or Louisville still holds the best opportunity for that coveted # 6 bowl eligible win .
Only time will tell how it all plays out for this 2014 UK football team but I’m getting more excited each week for the future of this starving for success football program and the Mark Stoops era .
Brief Two Game Exhibition Season Tips Off This Coming Sunday Night Nov. 2nd
John Calipari’s new “Blue Patoon” system of playing hoops begins it’s exhibition season this coming sunday Nov. 2nd ( SEC TV Network - 7:00 ) and it appears to be as exciting and successful as any season has been since Coach Cal arrived in Lexington with this one possibly bringing more anticipation to “Big Blue Nation “ than any of the previous five . With a team finally composed of experienced juniors and seasoned sophomores as well as the usual mega talented incoming freshman class that has a startling sum of (9) McDonald’s All Americans on the roster one has to think even at UK this could be a team and season that could be special even in the annals of this historic program .
Basically the only record that UK doesn’t hold is the one most coveted by BBN and that is the most NCAA championships which UCLA has at 11 . There is no doubt in the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky that this team has it’s sights set on earning the Cats 9th NCAA championship next March putting them within two of tying the record .
But first things first because as Coach Cal says there is a process each team must plow thru and it starts with the exhibition season the next two Sundays , for now the last remaining scrimmage between the mega talented UK roster will take place (Mon.) Oct. 27th (7:00 Live On SEC TV Network) then the “Blue Patoon” system will be revealed for the first time to all and the hunt is on for NCAA championship # 9 .
NBA Season Begins This Week With Several Former UK Players In Prominent Roles
Beginning this week Julius Randle and James Young will be the latest former UK hoop stars to begin their pay for play careers and lifestyles in the mega talented rich and famous NBA .
John Wall’s Washington “Wizards” team opened a few eyes late last season and is expected to make an even deeper run in the playoffs this year and Anthony Davis is definitely building an NBA resume that has him on a timeline to be in several NBA all star games down the road . Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins are becoming go to players for their respective teams and both just signed new max contracts as well pretty much setting them up for a comfortable life for the distant future .
Listed below are UK’s highest ranked players with the deepest pocket books for the 2014-15 season , info comes from NBA link on www.espn.com website thru NBA media services .
The dollar amount listed after each player is sole salary for this upcoming 2014-15 NBA season :
Rajon Rondo – Boston “Celtics” - $12,909,009.00
James Young – Boston “Celtics” - $1,674,480.00
Nerlens Noel – Philadelphia “76ers” - $3,315,120.00