Monday, October 11, 2010

New at Rivals: To Skin A Cat

Here's my post-game column for Kentucky, at Rivals'
I'm going to run out of superlatives to describe Cameron Newton long before this season is over. That ridiculous first-half sideline pass is already one of the season's top highlight clips. It'll take a much better writer than me to accurately describe just how dominant Newton was in the first half and in the game-winning drive. To severely mix my movie metaphors, the stomp of Godzilla's feet was the sound of inevitability for the Wildcats; he just absolutely could not be stopped. Gene Chizik's call to go the safe route by running down the clock and kicking the field goal was absolutely the right decision, but if for some reason kickers had been outlawed for this game, is there any doubt that Newton would have found the end zone anyway?

You've got to be impressed with the combined job former coach Rich Brooks and current top 'Cat Joker Phillips have done in Lexington. It's still hard to picture the Wildcats as perennial contenders, but they've come a very long way since the days of Bill Curry and "You can't spell 'sucks' without UK." Phillips certainly got the most out of his guys on Saturday, and his staff deserves a lot of credit for one hell of a rally after getting dominated over the first half. Defensive coordinator Steve Brown looked clueless during Newton's initial barrage, but he made a dynamite halftime adjustment. All-everything back Randall Cobb and Boone-from-Lost look-alike QB Mike Hartline both had great games against the Tigers. It won't surprise me one bit if they upset a still-celebrating South Carolina next week.

It would have surprised me, to say the least, if they'd managed to beat AU on Saturday night, though. Auburn's game-winning drive was the kind of feat, when been performed by certain other teams more beloved by the media, that's described as 'a gritty comeback' and 'the measure of a championship team' and other such cliches. I don't care to jump on that particular bandwagon this morning--Auburn shouldn't have needed to make a game-winning drive in a game the Tigers had under control--but it really was something to see.
The rest is on the subscription side, but Rivals is offering a free first month to new subscribers coming over from FTB.

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