John Clay: Stoops welcomes type of weather that might hit Nashville for Aug. 31 opener

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistAugust 20, 2013 

Head Coach Mark Stoops smiled for fans during an autograph session at UK Football Fan Day at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 9, 2013. by Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

PABLO ALCALA — Lexington Herald-Leader Buy Photo

Random notes:

■ Mark Stoops said Monday he was happy to practice in some heat and humidity given what the weather might be for UK football's opener Aug. 31 against Western Kentucky in Nashville.

In their history, the Cats have played four openers on Aug. 31 in varying temperatures.

In 1996, for the first game of Bill Curry's final season, the temperature was 86 and skies were mostly clear for Kentucky's 38-14 loss to Louisville.

In 1997, the temperature was 73 degrees and sunny as Hal Mumme engineered a successful debut as Kentucky coach with a 38-24 win over Louisville.

In 2003, a thunderstorm delayed the start of the UK-U of L game at Commonwealth Stadium for an hour and 34 minutes. The temperature was 72 degrees when play began as Bobby Petrino and U of L won 40-24.

In 2008, the temperature was 91 degrees as UK beat Louisville 27-2 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

■ Kentucky boasts five football commitments in the Rivals 250, updated Tuesday.

Georgia running back Stanley "Boom" Williams is No. 106. Conner quarterback Drew Barker is No. 121. Ohio running back Mikel Horton is No. 128. Ohio safety Darius West is No. 182. Ohio offensive tackle Nick Richardson is No. 206.

■ John Hardin defensive tackle Matt Elam cracked the Rivals list at No. 215.

■ I fumbled in Sunday's print column saying that Kentucky was the only team with five of the AP's top 10 on its schedule.

Tennessee also boasts five top-10 teams on its schedule. The Vols play No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 South Carolina and No. 10 Florida.

■ Now that the SEC has released the men's conference basketball schedule for 2014, Kentucky and Florida will each have 14 national TV appearances this season.

■ Florida basketball got some bad news this week as it appears fab freshman Chris Walker won't be able to enroll until at least January.

■ ESPN says that defensive end Bud Dupree is UK's most indispensable player. Personally, I'd pick linebacker Avery Williamson, a senior leader and the best player at a position that is a real question mark.

■ For some ridiculous reason, some are trying to say Joey Votto has had a disappointing season since the Reds' first baseman has driven in just 58 runs. Come on.

Votto is second in all of baseball in on-base percentage at .435. His OPS (on-base plus slugging) is .938, seventh-best in baseball.

Did you see where Vanderbilt's season-ticket sales are down despite the fact the Commodores won seven straight games to end last season?

You have to wonder what effect the alleged rape involving ex-Vandy football players has had on sales.

Apparently, suspended Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson will be back this season. You've been warned.

Bronson Arroyo is a pro, but given the development of Tony Cingrani, if I'm Walt Jocketty I put my money toward trying to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo.

My Reds' MVP award this season would go to pitching coach Bryan Price. No Johnny Cueto. No Sean Marshall. Jonathan Broxton has been on the DL. And the Reds are fourth in the majors in team ERA at 3.34.

I think the Reds will end up winning the NL Central.

I'm rooting for Orb in Saturday's Travers.

Headline: "A-Rod's battle with Major League Baseball and Yankees could drag on for years"

You mean it hasn't already?

RIP, Elmore Leonard.

The crime novelist once gave the best advice any writer could ever receive: "If it sounds like writing, I re-write it."

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

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