John Clay's notes: Nothing against Louisville, but Missouri a better fit for SEC

U of L's neighbors are moving on up

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistSeptember 21, 2011 

Random notes:

■ Though the SEC powers-that-be predictably deny the report, news that Missouri has an invitation to be the league's 14th team, and that the league is willing to wait for an answer, makes perfect sense.

Missouri is a state flagship school. It brings new TV markets. It can be a natural rival for Arkansas, Tennessee and even Kentucky.

Thought all along that Mizzou would be the next one in.

■ Not buying reports that Kentucky is blocking Louisville from entry into the SEC. Don't think it ever reached that point. U of L has an excellent athletic program, but it doesn't bring anything new to the SEC table.

■ Louisville must feel like the family that moved into a nicer neighborhood, only to find its new neighbors are busy trying to find spots in better neighborhoods.

■ If the Big East remainders and Big 12 remainders join together, it'll be like the kids who weren't invited to the popular party deciding to throw a party of their own.

■ To be serious for a moment: This isn't about conference expansion. It's conference contraction — a road to form four 16-team super conferences and keep other schools out of the money mix. And college athletics will be the worse for it in the end.

■ It also confirms what we already knew about college athletics — it has nothing to do with anything that has to do with college.

■ Coaches complaining about conference realignment need to take a look at all those zeroes at the end of their paychecks.

Yes, that means you, Jim Boeheim.

■ Thought Joker Phillips did a good job Monday of handling questions about fan frustration. He's a former Kentucky player and former longtime assistant. As he said, Phillips knows what he "signed up for."

■ Maybe it's coincidence, but it sure seems like I know more people who tailgate at UK football games without attending UK football games, than the other way around.

■ Guess there's no love lost between UK defensive coordinator Rick Minter and Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

The two worked together at Notre Dame, or did until the head coach Weis fired the defensive coordinator Minter after the 2006 season.

No wonder Minter declined to talk about Weis on Tuesday.

■ Did you see the way new Florida head coach Will Muschamp went after the officials at halftime of the Gators' game with Tennessee on Saturday?

Coach Boom was livid over pass interference calls against the Gators. And Florida was ahead 16-7.

■ Loved the Bengals' A.J. Green's tightrope touchdown catch of an Andy Dalton pass Sunday in Denver. Loved even more that Green didn't go into Ocho-histrionics afterward.

■ Georgia heads to Ole Miss on Saturday having won one of its past seven games away from Athens.

■ By the way, when Georgia and Ole Miss meet, each team will be looking for its first conference win since beating Kentucky last year.

■ And what about Vanderbilt, which is 3-0 and leads the nation with 10 interceptions? Now how is it that a school without an athletics director could hire such a hot young coach as James Franklin?

■ South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore may be one of those fighting robots in that new Hugh Jackman movie. He carried the football 37 times in South Carolina's win over Navy last Saturday.

Speaking of South Carolina, all this conference change news has overshadowed that little factoid about the Gamecocks receiving a letter from the NCAA about improper benefits. Is Missouri sure this is the company it wants to keep?

■ Think your team is bad? Cheer up. You could be a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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