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Kentucky picked to beat Georgia, plus more Big Blue Links

Kentucky guard Taylor Murray (24) battled for a rebound during UK’s exhibition win over Union on Thursday November 3, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky guard Taylor Murray (24) battled for a rebound during UK’s exhibition win over Union on Thursday November 3, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Friday:

▪ Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution picks Kentucky to beat Georgia in a “mild upset.” Over at SEC Country, Alex Shirkey makes Kentucky his upset pick of the week for the third game in a row. Gridiron Now says game with Georgia could tell if surging Cats are for real. Could Mark Stoops be in the SEC Coach of the Year conversation? asks Sea of Blue. Be sure and check out our podcast previewing the Cats and Dawgs clash on Saturday night.

▪ Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader writes on the UK defensive line, which has turned from question mark into a bright spot. Alex Forkner of the Cats Pause also writes on the depth Kentucky has developed on the defensive line. The emergence of nose guard Naquez Pringle has helped in that regard. Pringle is now ahead of Matt Elam on the depth chart. In the defensive backfield, Pro Football Focus says UK cornerback Derrick Baity is one of the 18 most improved players in the nation.

▪ Lafayette’s Walker Wood wants to give Kentucky a hometown starter at quarterback, writes Mark Story in the Herald-Leader. Meanwhile, current UK quarterback Stephen Johnson may not always look pretty, but he’s making plays.

▪ Fletcher Page of the Courier-Journal remembers when both Derrick Henry and Boom Williams committed to Georgia. Is Benny Snell the best freshmen in the nation? Almost, says Nick Roush of KSR.

▪ The Macon Telegraph reports Georgia is trying to encourage its struggling offensive line. The Bulldogs have rushed for just 96 yards over their last two games. The Telegraph also reports that Georgia hasn’t decided on a punter for Saturday night. The Bulldogs are averaging just 38 yards a punt. David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press writes that Georgia is still seeking fun in a sub-par season. Saturday Down South thinks Georgia could be primed to slow down Kentucky’s ground game. But two Georgia starters appear doubtful for Saturday, reports the Athens Banner-Herald.

▪ Writing for USA Today, Steve Jones argues that Louisville football fans should root for Kentucky. Bobby Petrino isn’t worried about the College Football Playoff rankings. Louisville was seventh in the initial rankings, released Tuesday. Brad Senkiw of the Anderson Independent Mail wonders if Clemson will play to win or play to avoid losing?

▪ AL.com gives seven reasons why Alabama will beat LSU on Saturday night. Duane Rankin of the Montgomery News also thinks Alabama will handle the Tigers. Tommy Deas of the Birmingham News says stopping LSU’s Leonard Fournette is still a priority for the Tide. The Advocate in Baton Rouge reports that Fournette plans to play angry against No. 1-ranked Alabama.

▪ November will define Florida football’s season, writes Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun. The Gators are at Arkansas this Saturday before traveling to LSU on the 19th. Florida has yet to lose an SEC game to Arkansas, reports Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel. Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports that Florida’s defensive line is locked and loaded. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times says it’s time to embrace the Fun-n-Gun-less Gators.

▪ Auburn should beat Vanderbilt, says Gabe Gross of the Montgomery Advertiser. Michael Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer writes that resiliency has turned out to be Auburn’s best trait. Adam Sparks of the Tennessean writes on Vandy linebacker Oren Burks, who has grown from his family’s civil rights roots.

▪ Jalen Hurd was failed by those who should know better, writes Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean. In a surprise move, Hurd announced this week he is transferring from Tennessee. John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel writes that not everyone wants to be a Vol for life.

▪ After loss to Kentucky, Dave Matter of St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Missouri is still trying to shake up its defense. New head coach Barry Odom is playing a bigger role with the Mizzou defense.

▪ Jennifer Smith reports on UK women opening exhibition season with a win over Union. Makayla Epps scored 31 points for Kentucky. The long wait is finally over for Kentucky’s Makenzie Cann, who transferred to UK from Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Georgia women’s coach Joni Taylor has given birth to a daughter just before the season starts, reports the AJC.

▪ Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader reports that UK men’s basketball will face several top incoming freshmen this season. “The Cats’ schedule includes eight top-25 recruits from the class of 2016, and 15 players who were ranked among the top 50 prospects in that group.” Sam Bowie loves the way he is still embraced at Kentucky, writes Metz Camfield of CoachCal.com.

▪ Louisville blasted Kentucky Wesleyan 109-71 in an exhibition game on Thursday night, reports Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal. Deng Adel led the way with 16 points.

▪ Kentucky volleyball travels to Auburn on Friday night for a key SEC match. The Cats return home to face Missouri on Saturday. UK, Missouri and Florida are all tied atop the SEC at 10-1.

▪ The Clarion-Ledger reports that former UK baseball coach John Cohen is to be officially named athletic director at Mississippi State. Cohen replaces Scott Stricklin, who replaced the retiring Jeremy Foley at Florida. The NE Mississippi Daily Journal reports that LSU assistant Andy Cannizaro will replace Cohen as MSU’s baseball coach. Remember, former Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson is now State’s pitching coach.

▪ Tennessee basketball blows out Slippery Rock 83-48 in exhibition, reports the News-Sentinel. The Vols open with visting Chattanooga on Nov. 11. Georgia basketball rolled over Fort Valley State in an exhibition, reports the AJC. Missouri opens its exhibition slate on Friday, reports the Kansas City Star. LSU forward Craig Victor will miss a couple of games, says NOLA.com. Ticket sales for South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball are up 10 percent from last year, reports The State.

Georgia at Kentucky

When: Saturday, 7:30

Where: Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington

Records: Kentucky is 5-3 overall, 4-2 in SEC; Georgia is 4-4 overall, 2-4 in the SEC

TV: SEC Network with Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer and Kaylee Hartung

Radio: UK Network with Tom Leach, Jeff Piecoro and Dick Gabriel

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