John Clay

John Clay: Miss. State's Sidney gets yet another chance

Random notes:

■ It's hard to shake the perception a school will do anything to keep a talented player even after the talented player embarrasses himself, his team and his school by getting into a public fistfight with his teammate in the stands during a holiday tournament.

This is the same talented player, by the way, who was forced to sit out all of last year, and part of this year, for taking extra benefits, and who upon his return got himself suspended again for team violations.

No matter what Renardo Sidney does, they just won't kick him off the Mississippi State basketball team.

And Elgin Bailey, a team captain who was engaged in the punch-up with Sidney, is transferring.

No wonder Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury always sounds as if he never gets any sleep. Guess he's busy trying to find more excuses for Sidney, the 6-foot-10 center who even after 18 months doesn't appear to be in playing shape.

■ By the way, Sidney's punishment for that boxing match in the stands: a two-game suspension.

■ Amazing to me that DeMarcus Cousins was branded to be such a villain last year by those who didn't cover the UK basketball program on a daily basis, yet Cousins never engaged in anything anywhere close to Sidney's shenanigans.

■ Seems ex-Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt made the same decision a lot of Kentucky and Pittsburgh fans apparently have made. He has no interest in going to Birmingham for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

■ That said, there are plenty of reasons to watch Saturday's bowl game. Morgan Newton. Rick Minter. And potentially Randall Cobb's final game.

■ Perception is this Kentucky basketball team is a better shooting team than last year's edition. The numbers belie the perception. Last year's team was shooting 50.5 percent through 14 games. This year's team is shooting 47.4 percent.

■ Ah, but as an avid reader argues, last year's team was more apt to take twos, given its size. True. Of its shots through 14 games last year, 72.5 percent were two-point shots. This year, that number is 66.8.

■ Who is less likely to get a Christmas card from Jeannine Edwards? Ron "Sweet Baby" Franklin or Billy "Bad Question" Gillispie?

■ Used to be New Year's night you could toggle back and forth between the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls. This year, it was just the Fiesta Bowl, with Oklahoma, as expected, drubbing Connecticut. The BCS should be scrapped for that.

■ As for the Rose Bowl, why do I think Wisconsin could have beaten TCU if the Badgers had given my namesake the ball more often?

■ This weekend, give me Jets over Colts, Ravens over Chiefs, Eagles over Packers and Saints over Seahawks.

■ Outside of Kentucky, of course, Vanderbilt is the SEC basketball team that impresses me the most.

■ John Calipari said, "And it's already sold out!" of the Kentucky-Georgia game on Saturday. Of course it's sold out. UK-Georgia almost always sells out. And there will be plenty of blue in the stands.

■ Remember this is the first year the NFL playoffs are not sudden death. Each team will get at least one possession. So if you have possession first and face a fourth-and-one at the opponents' 10-yard line, do you kick the field goal, or do you go for it?

■ Mississippi State did not score 52 points on a team all season, until it got Michigan in the Gator Bowl.

■ I guess now that Charlie Weis is in Gainesville, the Gators will have a schematic advantage.

■ Now that the real Mike Singletary has been fired, he has time to fill in for the fake Mike Singletary on Letterman.

■ After no playoff wins in eight years, how does Marvin Lewis have the leverage to make demands of the Bengals? After a history of losing football, how do the Bengals have any leverage to make demands of Lewis?