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Sep 2

The Tailgate Review – UT Martin

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 8:28 am | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Random Notes

KY Joe

There is something very spiritual about a “first”. Whether it is the first game, the first child, a first kiss, a first beer, a first blog post after a 1,025 day hiatus from the game, or even your first run-in with the infamous, Kentucky Joe, of KSR radio fame, a “first” can be nearly orgasmic.

I remember the first Tailgate Review e-mail (the e-mail chain that started this blog years ago) like it was yesterday! I remember how I told stories and gave meaningless information about that day’s tailgate party in the red lot in our spot that we have been in for 10 years. I remember telling everyone about how that guy got so drunk and that girl was so annoying and how those opposing fans were so mad at us for calling them terrible names and I remember… Well, I don’t really remember any of that, or the first e-mail that started Tailgate Review, but I assure you, it was a lot like that.
So, let me clear my throat, and get back to what we do best…

My world has changed in a number of ways since my last Tailgate Review many years ago. Teenagers have gone from drinking purple drank, to getting all hopped up on some chick named Molly and doing shots of liquor in the eye balls. I am not here to judge, but Molly seems like a slut. This is the only change in my life I find to be note worthy.

Let me start by quoting my good friend and philosopher, Jay, “Noon games are the devil!” Less time to tailgate, hangovers, and extremely grumpy wives at 6 am are reasons to support that statement. I’m all for arriving at Commonwealth at 8:15 am, but for a 7 pm game, not a nooner!

Like I said, 10 years in the exact same spot in the red lot. But, it was predetermined this season that we were going to attempt to relocate in the red lot. I know I know, it would be a very sad day in Big Blue Nation if that were to happen, but my 2 year old has nearly been hit by a car twice in 2 years, so we are striving for safety this season. After 3 minutes of scouting the red lot for a more kid safe area, I.E. away from the road, we ended up in the exact same spot by the exact same tree we have abused for several seasons. Lil R.A. didn’t make the trip anyway, he had a meeting with a client. Might just have to look into a helmet for him for future tailgates.

A silly noon game also makes for slim pickins on the nourishment front. Sure, people try to do big things like breakfast casseroles and other things, but I will be honest… I have never met a breakfast casserole that didn’t remind me of what a college kid’s 2 am breakfast from Waffle House looks like on his bathroom floor the next morning. In other words… Not a fan. For me and my early birds on Saturday morning, it was chicken minis from Chick Filet! If you aren’t familiar with this genius of fast food breakfast cuisine, get familiar!

It was a strong showing by BBN in the lots early on. I was impressed with the RV presence as well as some of my people in the red and blue. There was definitely a buzz within the Commonwealth shadow and it felt really nice. Ryan Lemond and Jared Lorenzon were floating around the lots on their KSR-mobile, if in fact “floating” is possible with that much pay load.

But, let’s get down to the highlight of the pregame festivities… The moment Kentucky Joe made his first TGR red lot appearance. If you are a fan of the Kentucky Sports Radio radio show, you are well aware of the legend that is Kentucky Joe. At this point his fame has become more because of Matt’s annoyance with his calls, and less for his many songs he has contributed to UK lore. as we sat dreaming of Tds and Booms, TGR legend, Jay, looked up in time to spot Kentucky Joe striding toward our area. I asked how he knew it was him, and he quickly said because he is wearing a KSR t-shirt and you can just tell. Joe walks right up to us and says, “I hate to do this, but you know I have to… Do you all know who I am?” Jay, without hesitation says, “Yeah, you are John short!” and the fun began! From there, I couldn’t have been more excited about meeting “John Short” and Kentucky Joe seemed very irritated with me. To try to explain who he was he sang the hook featured on his hit song, I’m a Willie Cauley-Stein Man, which was cool, because I too am a WCS man, and, my son thinks his name is Willie Cauley-Stein.

The “John Short” joke ended there and we continued on knowing who Kentucky Joe was. He sang us his rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ that he sang to MJ last week and made it clear that he was doing a “King” impression during that segment. I then asked Joe if he was having any luck with the ladies, but I was a bit more crude than that with my verbiage and things got really weird, if things could get any more weird. Joe suddenly started speaking with an Irish accent. No idea why or what triggered the change, but it was both fantastic and troubling. Joe then uttered a line that will live for many years in our red lot spot for its randomness and brilliance… Joe said about himself, ” I am a full blooded cocker spaniel. ” We have no idea why he said that, but we don’t care, it was awesome, and t-shirts could be in the process of getting made.

Our interaction with the legendary Kentucky Joe ended with him asking us if we would like to take a picture with him (pictured above). I have never met anyone in my life who believes they are a bigger star than Kentucky Joe believes he is. I will sum up our moment with him in one word… Sadlyfunnyoddlypitiful.

We were all Big Blue fans in the morning on Saturday and it was a great return to the red lot, Commonwealth and the W column for Big Blue nation! Today, we are ALL, full blooded cocker spaniels! C! A! T! S!

Apr 3

Getting 8 Feels Gr8t!

Posted by: Ryan Fertig at 10:36 am | Leave a Comment (33)
Category: Basketball

Mar 19

WE’VE TAKEN A BREATHER

Posted by: Ryan Fertig at 12:01 pm | Leave a Comment (39)
Category: Random Notes

We’ve gotten old, have kids and day jobs and there just isn’t enough time or money rolling in to support blogging on TGR for now….. But, we have one hell of a Facebook Page. Check it out:

Feb 10

Kentucky vs. Vandy Preview

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 11:42 am | Leave a Comment (86)
Category: Basketball


Tomorrow the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats (24-1) will head down to Nashville to do battle with the Vanderbilt Commodores (17-7) in a key game in the hunt for the SEC Title. The Cats will enter this game on a roll as they come off a pasting of the #8 Florida Gators on Tuesday night while Vandy is fresh off of a victory over the sliding LSU Tigers. The Cats appear to have rounded into form over the last 2 weeks and they will not easily be derailed as they prepare to head down the home stretch of this college basketball season. Freshman Anthony Davis (14.0 ppg, 10 reb., 4.8 blk & 1.5 stls) continues to be the centerpiece behind a defense that is just downright frightening at times. The Cats are still looking for a total effort on offense but there is no denying the way they play defense. Davis is literally the front-runner for not only “Defensive Player of the Year” but also “Freshman of the Year” as well the possible “Player of the Year”; no player has ever won all three awards in his first year of playing college ball. But Davis will need help from Terence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller if the Cats are to come away from Nashville with a “W” tomorrow night. Marquise Teague will also have to have an excellent floor-game to allow those guys to be able to produce.

For the Commodores, the season has been a combination of ups and downs, injury filled and sometimes a lack of passion and intensity. This is a veteran team that some thought could win the SEC and at times they have looked very good (i.e. a 17 point victory over a then “hot” Marquette squad in late Dec.); however the ‘Dores have inexplicable losses (home losses to Cleveland St. and Indiana St.). So it is hard to get a read on a team that had high expectations coming into this season. John Jenkins leads Vandy averaging 19.7 ppg but he will need help from Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor if they hope to topple the Cats. Coach Kevin Stallings knows this is a chance for his team to build some momentum as they head toward March, something they sorely need after being bounce in the 1st round of the big dance each of the last two years. Vandy still has at the very least “Elite 8” talent but they will need to at least try and add another marquee victim to their list (Marquette is the only ranked team they have beaten).

My thoughts for this game are simple, the Cats routinely have problems playing in down in Vandy and that is usually atypical of any visiting opponent to Nashville. However, the friendly confines have not been all that friendly as mentioned previously. The Commodores need this victory badly, if for nothing else, to pad their resume. #1 going on the road for a tough conference game usually smells of upset but I am not so sure the Commodores believe in themselves the way UK does; give me UK 72 – Vandy 68.

Jan 11

UK Visits Auburn

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 12:33 pm | Leave a Comment (153)
Category: Basketball

Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats (15-1) will pay a visit to the state of Alabama to play the Auburn Tiger (10-5). The Cats are fresh off of a good victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday while Auburn was thoroughly beaten by Vanderbilt (65-35) in its SEC opener over the weekend.  Kenny Grabiel (6’8’’ forward) leads the Tigers in just about every important offensive & defensive category (11.9 pts per game, 7.8 reb. per game, 1.5 steals per game and 2.7 blocks per game. While Auburn had a pretty good start to the season with their non-conference record of 10-4, they really didn’t beat anybody worth speaking of. Their best win on paper appears to be against South Florida, but only because the Bulls are in the Big East Conference. Auburn had bad losses to Seton Hall (81-59), Long Beach St. (64-43) and Florida St. (85-56). The Tigers really have trouble putting the ball in the basket, even more than UK’s last opponent, the Gamecocks. Usually home-court advantage means something for a team (worth between 5-10 points possibly) but for the Tigers, it just means there will be no long bus ride after this “mercy killing”.

For the Cats, this game will be about focus and not letting up on the road against an inferior opponent. Terrence Jones finally re-emerged as he had maybe his best game of the season against South Carolina. Anthony Davis continues to give opposing players fit when they attack the rim. The Cats cannot come out sluggish and uninterested because much like the Commodores did, you want to take the heart and breath away from a team like Auburn early because that will lead to them hanging their heads and being frustrated.

This one should not be a challenge except if you are betting whether or not the Tigers score more than 40……….I’m betting they will, but barely; UK 70 – 45.

Jan 10

Cousins Gets A Mention On SNL

Posted by: Ryan Fertig at 9:49 am | Leave a Comment (2)
Category: Basketball

Dec 27

Coach Cal and the Cats Get Ready for ___________

Posted by: Ryan Fertig at 3:02 pm | Leave a Comment (26)
Category: Basketball

 

Dec 20

Rumblings With Ralph

Posted by: Ralph Lee at 2:21 pm | Leave a Comment (1)
Category: Basketball

Well we are about 1/3 of the way through the College Basketball season and we have seen a lot of different things up to this point. We saw a mammoth clash between UNC and UK that went right down to the wire before the Cats pulled out a victory. We seen a great group of teams assembled for the Maui Classic, including Duke, Kansas, Michigan, Memphis and Georgetown but when it was all said and done, the “Dukies” continued their mastery of the islands and brought home the championship. We have already had 3 teams stand atop the polls at #1; we started with North Carolina, then we had Kentucky and now we have Syracuse. We have been surprised by some teams while disappointed by others but thru it all, we are prepared to witness even more great things as each team quickly approaches conference play. So with that being said, let me hand out a few honors as well as a few “head-smacks” for what has transpired thus far.

The Five Most Disappointing Teams:

  • UCLA Bruins (5-5) – Began the year as a Top 15 Team; they have won 3 in a row just to get to .500. Howland’s seat in Westwood is starting to get warm.
  • Vanderbilt Commodores (7-4) – Began the year as a Top 15 Team; the Commodores are struggling with injuries in the post and they have been abysmal at times on both ends of the court.
  • Villanova Wildcats (7-5) – While most people knew Jay Wright’s program would be rebuilding most could not have thought it would be this painful.
  • Memphis Tigers (6-4) – Began the year as a Top10 Team; now to their credit, Memphis has lost to some good teams but they better get it turned around quickly.
  • Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish (8-5) – Much like ‘Nova, fans in South Bend knew this team was not as good as the last couple of seasons but the loss of Tim Abromaitius may be more than this team can withstand.

The Five Most Surprising Teams:

  • Missouri Tigers (11-0) – Currently #9 ;Despite the changing of coaches over the off-season, some wondered if the Tigers were getting the worse end of the deal with former Miami coach, Frank Haith………..I think the record says it all
  • Indiana Hoosiers (10-0) – Currently #17; Tom Cream finally looks to have what he wanted in Bloomington, a team that is solid on both ends of the floor.
  • Georgetown Hoyas (9-1) – Currently #16; many thought the Hoyas would be scuffling just to get wins but they have beaten Alabama and Memphis already.
  • Virginia Cavaliers (9-1) – Currently #24; The Cavs are one of those “under the radar” teams with no big-name player to speak of, but they have already beaten Michigan.
  • Harvard Crimson (9-1) – Currently #25 (USA Today) – Tommy Amaker has a solid ball club whose only loss thus far was on the road at Connecticut.

The Best Conference: The Big 10 – After the Big 10 destroyed the ACC in their annual conference clash, there is no reason not to believe that this conference can put 8 or 9 teams in the “Big Dance” in March.

The Most Scrutinized Team: The Louisville Cardinals (10-0) – Some people are saying the Cardinals are the worst Top 5 team they have seen but the numbers show different. The have beaten Vanderbilt, Memphis and Butler but they have only played 1 game outside of the friendly confines of the YUM Center….that game was right up the road in Indianapolis.

The Most Scrutinized Conference: The PAC-12 – This conference does not boast ONE single team in the Top 25 in any poll at this point and that quite frankly is reason for concern. Stanford (10-1) and California (10-2) have the best records but when they have played a team of caliber, both have lost. The third best team at the moment is Oregon State………., yes I said Oregon State (9-2).

The Most Improved Player: Dion Waiters (Syracuse) – Waiters has gone from a guy that barely saw action last year to a star in the making. Waiters came out of high school highly acclaimed but then struggled to understand the offensive and defensive philosophies that Jim Boeheim teaches. Waiters even considered transferring this summer. But he seems to have a renewed spirit and dedication and he is one of the reasons the ‘Cuse are #1 right now.

The Conference Most Likely to Turn MMA: The Big East – Between the Georgetown Hoya’s brawl with the Chinese National team over the summer and the fight the Cincinnati Bearcats had with Xavier, the Big East referees must be fully prepared for anything once conference play begins. Factor in other physical teams like UCONN, PITT, Syracuse and Seton Hall, some of the conference games could resemble a match in the caged “Octagon”.

Conference With the Most to Prove: The SEC – Because John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have ruled the recruiting and the conference for two consecutive seasons, it has overshadowed nearly every other team. This season, Alabama, Florida, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are considered to be contenders to the throne but more importance will be placed on what they do in March.

The Best 5 Teams I Have Seen Up to This Point:

  • Syracuse Orangemen – This may be Boeheim’s best team since Carmelo Anthony was in the Orange.
  • Kentucky Wildcats – The Cats have tremendous talent at every position but one, at the point. While Teague is quick and explosive, he is not in the Caliber of former PGs, Wall and Knight so he will have some growing pains along the way.
  • North Carolina Tar Heels – The Heels are similar to UK in that they have talent all over the floor but Marshall must become a factor offensively if UNC wants to be a complete team.
  • Missouri Tigers – The Tigers are truly “high octane” at the highest level. They push the ball on offense and will even press you 94 ft. on defense.
  • Duke Blue Devils – The Blue-Devils have a good inside / outside combination that makes it hard to key on anyone facet of their game.
Dec 20

Happy Holidays From the Turtle Man

Posted by: Ryan Fertig at 9:45 am | Leave a Comment (168)
Category: Random Notes

Dec 19

The Cats On the Chattanooga Win

Posted by: Ryan Fertig at 9:30 am | Leave a Comment (107)
Category: Basketball