Before it can kick back and enjoy an off week, Kentucky football has a piece of business to complete.
The Missouri Tigers are in town for a 7:30 p.m. kick at Kroger Field. Yes, Mizzou has been a mess. The Tigers are 1-3. Head coach Barry Odom sacked his defensive coordinator after just two games. Over the next two, his team was outscored 86-17. Last time out, Missouri lost to Auburn 51-14.
Don’t be fooled, however. The Tigers have had an extra week to prepare. Their off week was last week. Presumably they used the time to rest, reflect and hit the reset button. The Missouri that shows up for the SEC Network broadcast may be much different from the Missouri it has shown before.
Meanwhile, Kentucky is 4-1. The Cats struggled to put away Eastern Michigan 24-20 last week. Such is the current campaign theme. UK won its opener 24-17 at Southern Miss. It trailed Eastern Kentucky for nearly three quarters before winning 27-16. It led Florida 27-13 before losing 28-27.
This will be UK’s sixth straight game without a break. The grind is starting to show. All-SEC linebacker Jordan Jones remains out with a shoulder injury. (Head coach Mark Stoops promises a Jones status update next week.) Wide receiver Charles Walker is questionable, at best, with a ribs/chest injury. Cornerback Derrick Baity has been playing hurt. You get the picture.
Still, for the Cats, this is an important game. Hitting the break 5-1 overall is preferable to 4-2. And for the SEC standings, 2-1 is much more preferable than 1-2. UK has mastered Mizzou two years straight. Before they can refuel next week, the Cats would love to make it three.
We’ll be blogging live from the press box high above Kroger Field. Join in with your comments, questions, insights, complaints, etc. Surely you have Facebook or Twitter. Use your log-in from one or the other so your brilliance is shared automatically. Otherwise, if you use the regular comments box, your contribution must be moderated for safety reasons. And your user name may be duplicated. It happens.
While passing the long day before kickoff, you can listen to my Friday podcast with Jennifer Smith. No bourbon (there is a mention) or grasshoppers talk this week, but for those who make it through to the end, Jennifer Smith is fine. As far as I know, she’s made a full recovery.
Also, my thanks to Alex Schiffer of the Kansas City Star, aka @TheSchiffMan. He’s both new and not so new to the Missouri beat. Just hired by the Star, he’s covered Missouri athletics for the Missouri student newspaper. Missouri’s journalism school is regarded as one of the best in the country. Tim Sullivan and Pat Forde say it is the best, but then they went to school there.
Anyway, Alex was nice enough to give us a Missouri scouting report for my podcast. He also went to high school with Karl Anthony-Towns. Still exchanges text messages with him.
That’s it. Enjoy the game.
MISSOURI AT KENTUCKY
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kroger Field in Lexington
TV: SEC Network with Taylor Zarzour, Andre Ware and Olivia Harlan
Radio: UK Network witth Tom Leach, Jeff Piecoro and Dick Gabriel