Big Blue Links for Wednesday:
▪ It’s official, Kentucky has hired Cincinnati assistant and old Mark Stoops friend Eddie Gran to run the offense. Actually, Gran will have the title as associate head coach for offense. He’s bringing along Darrin Hinshaw as his co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Gran will coach the running backs. Chad Scott will move from running backs coach to wide receivers coach.
▪ I spent my Tuesday afternoon in Richmond watching old friends Dan McHale and Steve Masiello try to beat the other. McHale is the head basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky. Masiello is the head coach at Manhattan. The two were together at UK in the late 1990s when Masiello was a walk-on and McHale a team manager. They coached together at Manhattan and later Louisville. When McHale got the EKU job this past spring, he and Masiello agreed to a four-year contract. McHale won round one.
▪ Bad news for former UK basketball star Eric Bledsoe. The Phoenix Suns guard will miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury. The 26-year-old underwent surgery Tuesday.
▪ Over at CoachCal.com, Metz Camfield has some New Year’s resolutions for Kentucky basketball. The Cats return to action Saturday when they open SEC play against Ole Miss at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.
▪ Top-ranked Michigan State fell at Iowa 83-70 on Tuesday night in the Spartans’ Big 10 opener. It was a tough 48 hours for MSU head coach Tom Izzo, who lost his 90-year-old father on Monday.
▪ Here’s a spreadsheet tracking the AP college basketball poll.
▪ Louisville plays its bowl game Wednesday night as the Cardinals take on Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl. WDRB’s Rick Bozich gives five reasons why Bobby Petrino’s club needs to come away with a victory. No. 1, the Cards could use a signature win.
▪ Texas A&M has suspended receiver Speedy Noil for the bowl game. You really have to wonder what in the world is going on in College Station.
▪ LSU rolled in its bowl game. Behind five touchdowns from Leonard Fournette, the Tigers trounced Texas Tech 56-27 in the Texas Bowl.
▪ Speaking of LSU, the basketball Tigers took their fifth loss of the season on Tuesday night. Wake Forest beat Ben Simmons and Company in Baton Rouge. LSU committed 17 turnovers. Simmons turned it over five times.
▪ Rain could be an unwelcome visitor for Wednesday’s Birmingham Bowl between Auburn and Memphis. At 6-6, Auburn needs a win for a winning season.
▪ Mississippi State takes on North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl. Mississippi State is 8-4. N.C. State is 7-5.
▪ We’re just a day away from the College Football Playoff national semifinals and Yahoo’s Pat Forde writes on Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, who will lead the Spartans against SEC champ Alabama.
SEC bowl schedule
- Dec. 29 - Texas Bowl: LSU 56, Texas Tech 27
- Dec. 30 - Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis (12:00/ESPN)
- Dec. 30 - Belk Bowl: Mississippi State vs. N.C. State (3:30/ESPN)
- Dec. 30 - Music City Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Louisville (7:00/ESPN)
- Dec. 31 - Cotton Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan State (8:00/ESPN)
- Jan. 1 - Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs. Northwestern (12:00/ESPN2)
- Jan. 1 - Citrus Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan (1:00/ABC)
- Jan. 1 - Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State (8:30/ESPN)
- Jan. 2 - TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia vs. Penn State (12:00/ESPN)
- Jan. 2 - Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas State (3:20/ESPN)