John Clay: Sports world seems to have spun off its axis

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJune 15, 2013 

It's not just Hurricane Sandy or the Oklahoma tornadoes or the rising tides that tell us something strange is happening on our planet.

We have seen evidence of peculiar activity right here in the sports world, even in the Commonwealth.

Examples:

Kentucky is ranked No. 3 by at least one recruiting service for its football commitments. Yes, football.

Rick Pitino not only has a tattoo but allowed the tattoo to be photographed.

The tattoo is apparently real.

Bobby Petrino is now the head football coach at Western Kentucky University.

Kentucky lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT and UK fans are not all that upset about it.

That NIT game was played at Robert Morris.

Rutgers and Maryland are in the Big Ten.

West Virginia is in the Big 12.

Louisville baseball is in the College World Series for the second time since 2007.

A Big Ten team (Indiana) is in the College World Series for the first time since 1984.

South Carolina, which has made the CWS finals each of the last three years, is not in the College World Series.

Vanderbilt had a winning record in SEC football last season.

Tennessee has not had a winning SEC record in football since 2007.

The NCAA admitted it overstepped its bounds while investigating University of Miami athletics.

North Carolina athletics is mired in an academic scandal.

D. Wayne Lukas won a Triple Crown race — his first since 2000.

Todd Pletcher won another Triple Crown race.

Kentucky football is recruiting the state of Ohio.

John Calipari coached a point guard who did not thrive.

A school named Florida Gulf Coast reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

The St. Louis Cardinals have lost Chris Carpenter, Rafael Furcal, Jaime Garcia and Jason Motte to injury and still have the best record in baseball.

The Cincinnati Reds have seen Ryan Ludwick, Sean Marshall, Johnny Cueto (twice), Chris Heisey and Ryan Hanigan all miss time and still have the second-best record in baseball.

Kentucky fans are defending Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, at least from the likes of media like me who thought he could have been a little more gracious in his remarks about Louisville's athletic success.

There is an SEC football coach who is in favor of a nine-game conference schedule. Name: Nick Saban.

San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich answered a question with more than two words during an in-game television interview.

Hal Mumme gave up a head coaching position to work for someone else — offensive coordinator at SMU.

Kentucky and Indiana are still not playing basketball against each other. (Not assigning blame.)

The SEC is trying to figure out why fewer people are attending its football games.

Louisville beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

A prominent sports media personality is predicting that Louisville will win the national championship in football. (OK, it was Tim Brando.)

I don't mind watching Bill Simmons on TV.

The Bengals are now a perennial playoff contender.

UK football had an offensive lineman (Larry Warford) taken in the NFL Draft for the first time since 1993.

Charlie Strong turned down Tennessee to remain the head football coach at U of L.

The biggest worry for Kentucky football going forward is keeping the big boys from poaching the Cats' commitments.

Strange days indeed.

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

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