Monday, October 19, 2009

Lessons Commodores can learn from the Kentucky Wildcats

I love this Kentucky Wildcat team. They lose their starting quarterback and then go down to Auburn, a team they can never beat, and punched the Tigers in the mouth and won.

Now they're in perfect position to go to their FOURTH straight bowl. They just need to beat La-Monroe and Eastern Kentucky and then beat either Miss State at home or Vanderbilt in Nashville.

How have they done it? Get ready to take notes, Commies:

1. An absolutely crappy non-conference schedule. Kentucky won half as many SEC games as Vanderbilt last season, yet finished with the same record. The trick? Kentucky schedules awful teams, and also benefits from the fact that their rival, Louisville, is down.

2. Win the games you're supposed to win. Kentucky needed two SEC victories last season and got them. How? By beating Arkansas by a point and Miss State by a point. In other words, they were two points from being winless in the conference.

3. Recruiting linemen. Kentucky can hang with big-name teams because it's been successful recruiting massive defensive linemen. And the Wildcats beat Auburn because of the strength of its offensive line.

4. Get the ball to the playmakers. Randall Cobb plays quarterback and the Wildcats win. Then he plays receiver. Then he plays quarterback. He does whatever it takes.

5. Keep plugging away. Before their current bowl run, the Wildcats had a 2-win season, and had averaged three wins a game for three years.


Anything but Gatorade said...

I agree, of course. I think Vanderbilt really hurt itself with the schedule this year. There's no reason for them to schedule the likes of a home-and-home with Georgia Tech and Army away - they're both pretty much lose-lose situations.

Kentucky catches a lot of flak for scheduling in three or four easy wins every year, but if you want to catch recruits and other folks' attention, you've got to play in the post season. Sure, I'd like to make things tougher by adding in some of the dregs of the BCS conferences, but if you lose those non-conference games, you don't go to a bowl. Bowl is the goal, and if you have to have a schedule that looks just like FLORIDA'S or better to do it, then go for it.


Yes, and why schedule a good non-conference team when you're playing eight SEC teams?

While he was at Navy Paul Johnson made his mark sprinkling truly terrible opponents around the other service academies and his annual high-profile matchup with Notre Dame.