Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky, Duke raise recruiting bar, plus more Big Blue Links

Kentucky head coach John Calipari advised players on the bench in the second half of UK’s 156-63 exhibition win over Asbury at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, on Nov. 6, 2016.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari advised players on the bench in the second half of UK’s 156-63 exhibition win over Asbury at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, on Nov. 6, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Monday:

Kentucky put on a highlight reel in romp over Asbury. Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader reports, “Kentucky devoured Asbury, a nondenominational Christian school in nearby Wilmore. Seldom had a final score seemed so meaningless, but, for the record, UK won 156-63. Kentucky players dunked 29 times. Kentucky players made layups 26 times. The cartoonish rout saw Kentucky reach the century mark with 17:25 left in the second half. The Cats took the first of several century-sized leads — 135-35 — with 9:23 left. “

John Calipari’s blueprint propels Kentucky to the forefront. Tipton writes, ““Organic” is what Calipari calls the process that led him to re-invent Kentucky basketball on a foundation of freshmen. By now, the merry-go-round is familiar: Calipari starts anew and meshes an effective unit out of alpha individuals; Kentucky contends for a national championship; many of those players enter the next spring’s NBA Draft; the process repeats itself the next year. “

Calipari and Krzyzewski have raised the stakes. Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes, “Every November brings new optimism spanning college campuses across the country. There is hope that this season can be different, that it can end with nets being cut down and titles won. But in two specific places — Lexington, Ky., and Durham, N.C. — there is more than mere hope. More than confidence. There are the obvious facts that the pieces are in place that the season should continue until the first week in April.”

Kentucky shows off while playing fast. Fletcher Page of the Courier-Journal reports, “Future opponents received fair warning Sunday night. Intentionally speed up the Kentucky basketball team at your own risk. The Wildcats set a school record for points in a game (exhibition or regular season) with a 156-63 exhibition victory over Asbury in Rupp Arena.”


Jalen Hurd tells why he left Tennessee. Jon Garcia of the Tennessean reports, “He also mentions how not being the best fit for Tennessee’s read offense was a factor in his decision. He said he hoped for offensive scheme adjustments to suit his strengths, and that it ‘did not happen on a consistent enough basis.’”

Can Tennessee reprise its past November glory? Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press writes, “Perhaps because the University of Tennessee’s historically front-loaded football schedule has so often allowed for warm, fuzzy late-autumn memories and plenty of painful reasons to forget the games that came before them, former Volunteers coach Johnny Majors used to say, ‘They remember what you do in November.’”

Auburn has plenty of respect for Georgia. Michael Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports, “Nick Chubb hasn’t matched the level of success he had as an underclassman when he put together a streak of 13 games with at least 100 rushing yards. The streak ended when he tore multiple knee ligaments in a game against Tennessee last year. The junior has shown flashes of his former self most notably with 35 carries for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opener against North Carolina.”

Georgia’s offense took step in right direction against Kentucky. Jordan Hill of the Macon Telegraph reports, “The Georgia offense was by no means perfect Saturday night, but the team did get closer to a concept head coach Kirby Smart has been preaching all season. The Bulldogs had arguably their most balanced game of the season in the 27-24 victory over Kentucky, finishing the night with 245 yards through the air and 215 yards on the ground. The game began with a heavy dose of runs in the first quarter before the team upped its passing attempts through each of the remaining three quarters.”

Florida’s injury list continues to grow. Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun writes, “During their late-season slide a year ago, a divide developed among the Florida Gators between the staggering offense and a tired, frustrated defense worn down from being on the field for too long. UF coach Jim McElwain said he does not think a similar fracture will occur down the stretch this season following a 31-10 loss to Arkansas on Saturday that looked eerily similar to those late losses a year ago.”

LSU determined to end Alabama hangover. Ross Dellenger of The Advocate writes, “Potentially more painful is what lies ahead: an Arkansas team that trounced Florida 31-10 on Saturday, has bashed LSU the past two seasons and gets home-field advantage in a night game expected to be played in chilly conditions. The No. 19 Tigers (5-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) visit the Razorbacks (6-3, 2-3) at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Just like when it faced Alabama, Orgeron’s group now meets another physical squad that has a winning streak going against the Tigers.”

Arkansas chomps back. Harry King of the Arkansas News writes, “Both units were superb, making the Gators look like anything but a once-beaten team with the inside track to Atlanta for the SEC championship game and legitimizing the hopes of those that believe the Razorbacks will sweep November and win nine. Alphabetically, defense — personnel changes and all — comes first.”

Tommy Tuberville apologizes for his outburst. Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, “UC (4-5) has lost two consecutive games and four of its last five. The Bearcats are in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2010, and must go 2-1 over the final three games to achieve bowl eligibility. Tuberville is being roasted on social media by those seeking his firing. Top UC insiders are divided on whether Tuberville should stay, sources say.”

SEC football schedule for Nov. 12

12:00 - Kentucky at Tennessee (SEC)

12:00 - Mississippi State at Alabama (ESPN)

12:00 - South Carolina at Florida (CBS)

3:30 - Auburn at Georgia (CBS)

3:30 - Vanderbilt at Missouri (SEC)

7:00 - LSU at Arkansas (ESPN)

7:30 - Ole Miss at Texas A&M (SEC)

SEC in Sagarin college football ratings

  • 1. Alabama
  • 7. Auburn
  • 8. LSU
  • 10. Texas A&M
  • 20. Ole Miss
  • 22. Tennessee
  • 23. Florida
  • 32. Arkansas
  • 52. Mississippi State
  • 58. Georgia
  • 69. Kentucky
  • 71. Vanderbilt
  • 72. South Carolina
  • 77. Missouri

Source: Sagarin ratings

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader