Season Heats Up So Does The Smack Talk

TONY VANETTI: Hey Matt, I love the enthusiasm of UK football fans last week who thought they had a chance against Mizzou. That school has joined the SEC and is kind of pushing the SEC around, I kind of love it. Sorry about your Cats there, bud.
MATT JONES: Probably the game that showcased the difference in talent the most of all of the UK football games. Missouri had a couple of positions where they just dominated Kentucky, on the line and their wide receivers crushed Kentucky’s secondary. Missouri and Vanderbilt are pretty good models of how Kentucky should build their program. When you have other powers of the SEC that are down—Georgia and Florida are down—then you can rise up. I still don’t think Mizzou makes it to the SEC Championship. I think they lose to Texas A&M and South Carolina ends up representing the east.

 VANETTI: I don’t know, Texas A&M looks on defense like they will give up some points. Missouri and Texas A&M have surprised a lot of people, Matt, how they have come into the SEC and won a lot of games.
JONES: Texas A&M is all Manziel. When he’s gone, I don’t think you’re going to see them. And to do well in the SEC, you have to make it to the championship game. Let’s wait to crown these schools. But for Kentucky, that was painful to watch. Yet they get a 4-star recruit commitment after they lose. It goes to show you how weird football recruiting is. Kentucky defensive backs are terrible, then a 4-star defensive back is at the game and still commits to Kentucky over Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn. It goes to show, winning doesn’t necessarily help in recruiting, losing actually does.

 VANETTI: I’m not a detective, but I’m figuring that the 4-star watching the terrible defensive backs, he’s thinking “Hey, I can play next to those guys. Where is Stoops’ number, I’m going there.”
JONES: Of course, Kentucky fans have already shifted to basketball. I like what we’ve seen so far except they didn’t look great in the exhibition games. Since then, they are playing well. I like Julius Randle. He’s hitting double doubles and still, I don’t think he’s reached his full potential yet. I think you’re going to see games this year when Randle gets 30 points and 20 boards.

 VANETTI: I agree. I think the team is clearly two different teams with Andrew Harrsion on the floor and Andrew Harrison off the floor. You have to have your court general out there. You have to have your guy who is going to run the team. Two big questions still out for Kentucky. Will they play defense like 2011? These guys can score on any guys in the country, but will they be able to stop other teams from scoring?
JONES: The best thing about this team is that they can switch on every pick. They are really equipped well with the new rules of the fouls because they are able to switch on all the picks which makes them less likely to have to foul on a straight line drive. Now, for Louisville, I expect Chane Behanan to learn his lesson to be back on the team. Because really, he is a model citizen and I think the team really needs him. Their post play is actually atrocious.

VANETTI: Saturday was obviously a big moment for Louisville fans who don’t remember the 1986 National Title. They brought the banner down, they played the music and the highlight film on the big screen and Pitino was choked up on the mic. And then the game started and it was a lot tighter than people thought.
JONES: It was beautiful to watch for me as well. Anytime you can see a team put up a banner, three of them, wow. I remember when Kentucky got their third banner in 1951; we were all excited. Because we knew there was a lot of good to come. I’m just impressed that UofL made it through the whole ceremony without having to suspend a player. That team last year had some of the more likeable players I’ve ever seen. Peyton Siva and Gorgui, were both guys you could kind of root for. I want to give Pitino and UofL basketball credit for bringing back the type of players who are very difficult to cheer for. The Chris Jones, Chane Behannans, I really like that.

VANETTI: Well yes, when Kentucky won their third national title, not many people on the planet were around then and of course there were only eight people invited to the tournament. I appreciate your sentiment on this years team, and again, we’ll move forward with a very likeable team.
JONES: In all seriousness, I don’t think this team is as good as people think. I think people are still underestimating how important Peyton Siva was to last year’s team. Siva was the guy you could count on to make the right play at the end of a game. Louisville is still a top 10 team, but not an elite team. But we won’t know all year because they don’t really play any more than four good games—North Carolina, Kentucky, maybe Memphis, maybe UConn.

VANETTI: Let’s get the season on and see who turns up to be a good team or not. We’ll hold off on how bad the schedule is until the end of the season. It’s not football, it doesn’t matter what any team does in the regular season to get their seed.
JONES: And by the way, congratulations to the UofL football team, we are now in week 10 and their best win of the season is still Kentucky.