John Clay's notes: WKU gets No. 1; Louisville gets No. 24

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistSeptember 4, 2012 

Kentucky W Kentucky Football

Head coach Willie Taggart of Western Kentucky smiles in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

FREDERICK BREEDON — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Random notes:

■ Congratulations, Western Kentucky football. For winning your first season opener since 2005 you get the privilege of playing the No. 1 team in the land. In Tuscaloosa.

Willie Taggart's Hilltoppers travel to Bryant-Denny on Saturday to play the juggernaut that is Alabama, one week after the Crimson Tide crushed a supposed top-10 team in Michigan 41-14 in Cowboys Stadium.

Truth be told, it wasn't as close as the score indicated.

WKU has to be hoping for two things — 1.) Alabama has a letdown, and 2.) the Toppers remain healthy for their Sept. 15 game at UK, a game Western can win.

■ OK, I'm convinced. As the state's AP voter, I did not have Louisville in my pre-season top 25. After Sunday at Papa John's, I inked the Cardinals in at No. 24 this week.

John Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News has U of L at No. 12 on his ballot.

■ Next question: Is there any team on Louisville's schedule that can beat the Cards?

U of L's three Big East road games are at Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers. Pittsburgh and Syracuse both lost at home on Saturday.

■ There are former Kentucky football players who take shots at the current players and staff on Twitter.

And then there is Wesley Woodyard, who not 24 hours after UK's loss to Louisville, tweeted that he was supporting Joker Phillips and his staff.

@WoodRo52: Tough Loss for the Cats!!! Who's going to stand behind @jokerphillips and the program?? I know I will!

■ Did you see where Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said that he turned off the Georgia-Buffalo game on Saturday because it was like "watching the Big Ten. It's old man football"?

Georgia's "old men" visit Columbia on Saturday for Missouri's first-ever SEC football game.

■ Can you imagine what it will be like Saturday afternoon in College Station when Texas A&M plays Florida and Saturday night in Columbia when Missouri plays Georgia?

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive will be at both games. Lucky guy.

■ Former UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen wants everyone to know of his love (not) for his former offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who was at UK in 2001-02 and is now calling the plays at Florida.

As the Gators struggled with Bowling Green on Saturday, Lorenzen tweeted:

"Hey Florida fans I told u months ago ur OC would struggle. Do u believe me now? 17 pts late in the 3rd vs BG??? #toldyaso.

■ Hat tip to Ben Jones of Cats Illustrated, who pointed out that Maxwell Smith threw 50 passes on Sunday while in Mike Leach's debut, Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel threw 45 passes in the Cougars' 30-6 loss at BYU.

■ Two years ago, Kentucky football fans wanted to fire defensive coordinator Steve Brown. Last year, they wanted to fire offensive coordinator Randy Sanders. Now, they want to fire defensive coordinator Rick Minter.

■ Were I a coach who just found out that my players had gone to my boss to complain about my coaching tactics and the length of my practices, I might think I'm having a heart attack, too.

■ Only one person had a worse performance than the UK defense on Sunday: ESPN color analyst Rod Gilmore.

■ Great line from the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi about the less than full house at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for Florida's opener:

"Now we know what that empty chair was that Clint Eastwood talked to at the Republican National Convention. It was one of the vacated seats from Florida Field."

■ Bad matchups, high ticket prices, a multitude of better games on home television — little wonder college football is starting to see fewer fans in the stands.

■ By the way, the NFL is back Wednesday night. But then I know you'll be watching the convention.

■ Who's up for a Reds-Orioles World Series?

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

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