A Letter to Lynn Bowden Jr., Thank You!

Lynn Bowden Jr. has come a long way in his three years at Kentucky and has sacrificed himself for this program and for his “forever home” in Lexington.

On behalf of the BBN, I want to respond to Lynn with this.

Lynn “Come See About It” Bowden,

After a 10-win season, this season had unmatched anticipation from the Big Blue Nation. After Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith were both sidelined with injuries, that excitement turned into doubt and a 2-3 record before you took over, in what we all thought would be a waste of a season.

Yeah, we seen you return kicks, punts, and make some insane catches and plays as the best playmaker on the team, but it would be a lie to say that we didn’t have a little doubt when a wide receiver was named as the quarterback prior to the Arkansas game.

Those doubts were gone in 60 minutes when you literally carried Kentucky to a win on Jared Lorenzen Night with 176 rushing yards, 78 passing yards, ending a three-game skid with a 24-yard run to win the game.

The next eight games to close out the season were some of the most exciting games and impressive performances Kentucky football has ever seen. We seen moves quarterbacks don’t make and things quarterbacks aren’t supposed to do, but you did, and you led this team to a 6-2 record with you under center including a bowl winning pass.

Lynn, you manufactured a season to remember, when we did not think there was a chance of that, and you did so in only EIGHT games as quarterback, when EVERYONE knew you were going to run. I mean just look at this year’s accomplishments.

    • Paul Hornung Award (Nation’s Most Versatile Player)
    • SEC Leading Rusher (1,468 yards)
    • NCAA Leading Rushing Average Per Attempt (7.9 yards)
    • Consensus First Team All-American
    • First Team All-SEC
    • Belk Bowl MVP

As a quarterback who ran the ball 20+ times a game, you sacrificed yourself and took some hard hits, but you showed heart and grittiness and always found a way to stay in the game. We can play the what if game and wander what would have been if you had played 12 games at quarterback, but one thing is for sure, you will live in Kentucky football folklore for a loooonnnnngggg time.

Let’s come see about it in the NFL!

Thank you,

The “Best Fans in the Damn Land” aka Big Blue Nation

Nate Sestina is Back In Practice 👀

Exactly three weeks ago, Nate Sestina suffered a fractured left wrist in practice. At the time, Calipari announced that Sestina would be out “three to four weeks.”

It looks like Sestina is right on pace to return soon and is back to practice!

Sestina is still currently listed as day-to-day, but it is promising to see him back on the court on the earlier side of his recovery timetable.

I would not expect Sestina to play in Veagas this week, however, I would think he would be ready to go when the Dirty Birds roll into town on the 28th.

Benny Snell Jr. Shining for the Pittsburgh Steelers

While Kentucky’s running game is strong with Lynn Bowden Jr. under center, Benny Snell Jr. just started in his second consecutive game for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Before starting last week’s game against the winless Cincinnati Bengals, Snell missed nearly a month due to a new injury.

Snell was named the starter upon his return, as Pro-Bowl running back, James Conner, has yet to return from a shoulder injury.

Snell was run for 98 yards on 21 carries against the Bengals last week. This past Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Snell ran for 63 yards on 16 carries, including his first NFL touchdown.

Not to mention, he brought back the spinning mouthguard.

After winning both games with Snell as the starting running back, it’s safe to say Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, is a fan of “Benny Snell football”.

Former Cat Jarred Vanderbilt is Showing Out

Former Wildcat, Jarred Vanderbilt, is on one of the NBA’s premier teams, the Denver Nuggets.

However, with the team being so talented, Vanderbilt has struggled to get any meaningful minutes in his first two years and has played seven games in the G-League the last two seasons and has shown out, particularly this season.

Just this past Saturday, Vanderbilt stuffed the stat sheet with  24 points (10-17 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 1-3 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 block

Thus far in his three-game G-League stint, Vanderbilt is averaging 17.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, on 61.1% FG and 50% 3P.

Not to mention, one crazy circus shot

Keep it up Vando! 😎

Kentucky Basketball Has A Special Opportunity to Make History

If the month of November showed us anything about college basketball, it showed us that it’s going to be a weird season.

In just four weeks, three No. 1 teams have already been beaten, and Kentucky has been on both sides of that.

Not too long ago, the Cats put on an impressive performance and beat a No. 1 Michigan State team in impressive fashion, but then turned around and lost to Evansville a week later.

With Louisville being named the No. 1 team, Kentucky could very well have the opportunity to redeem themselves and make history in the process.

Since 1949, there have only been seven instances where a team has beaten the No. 1 ranked team twice in the same season (Sports Reference).

  • Pittsburgh (2009)
  • North Carolina (1998)
  • Missouri (1990)
  • Oklahoma (1990)
  • Duke (1965)
  • Georgia Tech (1955)
  • City College of New York (1950)

If the Cardinals are able to win out till December 28th, they will come into Rupp as the No. 1 team and the Cats would have the chance to become the eighth team on that list.

In that span, the Cardinals have to play No. 4 Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Texas Tech, which is no easy task.

Whether or not Louisville comes in as the No. 1 team, it will most likely be the first time both teams will be ranked since the 2016 season, which is the also the last time Louisville won in the series, 73-70.

Let’s make history and beat those Dirty Birds on the 28th!

NBA Cats are Absolutely Killing it from Three this Season

John Calipari loves his dribble-drive offense, but consistently the biggest knock on his teams is their inability to shoot from the perimeter.

However, there are some former Cats in the NBA dispelling that notion.

  • PJ Washington: 1.4 3PM-3.0 3PA; 46.3% 3P
  • Karl Anthony Towns: 4.9 3PM-9.0 3PA; 44.4% 3P
  • Devin Booker: 2.3 3PM-5.3 3PA; 42.9% 3P
  • Shai Gilegous-Alexander: 1.6 3PM-3.9 3PA; 40.3% 3P
  • Patrick Patterson: 1.3 3PM-3.2 3PA; 39.6% 3P
  • Kevin Knox: 1.4 3PM-3.5 3PA: 38.3% 3P
  • Tyler Herro: 2.0 3PM-5.3 3PA 38.0% 3P

Based on game averages, NBA Stats

Since its inaugural event in the 1986 season, the NBA three-point Contest has featured three former Cats and one winner (Kyle Macy 85′, Antonie Walker 03′, and Devin Booker 16′, 18′ (winner), & 19′).

Could we add a few more to that list this season?

John Calipari Tests His Survival Skills

John Calipari is unapologetically himself, and the BBN loves him for that, and that includes his fascination with the TV show, Alaska: The Last Frontier.

In recent years, Cal has talked about his love for the show and given them plenty of free publicity. Including, last March when Cal said he could live off the grid “easily”.

In response to the tweet, the survivalists from the show decided to tests Calipari’s survival skills, with the help of Ellen of course!

You can catch that video here!

Calipari also received a gift almost as big as his personality, a BIG King Salmon.

Gotta love Coach Cal, hopefully, he can put those survival skills to use in March later this year!

Is Auburn Transfer, QB Joey Gatewood, the Missing Piece for UK Football?

This season, Kentucky has lost nearly every real and capable quarterback option they had coming into the season.

With Terry Wilson returning and four-star, Kentucky native, Beau Allen coming in, that’s going to change quickly next season.

That’s not even mentioning a BIG TIME potential transfer, QB Joey Gatewood.

Gatewood was a four-star and No. 49 overall recruit in the 2018 class, holding offers from virtually every major program in the country before committing to Auburn.

Could he be the missing piece to taking UK Football to the next level? Coach Stoops and Company seem to believe so, as Gatewood posted this on his Instagram story.

The 6-5, 230 pound, quarterback was initially compared to Cam Newton due to his size and even draws a resemblance to Newton’s herky-jerky jukes when he runs.

As for his passing game, Gatewood is a pre-snap, read quarterback, which results in a lot of quick two-step dropback tosses, usually on quick hitch routes or slant. However, Gatewood has the arm to exploit mismatches with the deep ball.

Gatewood took a visit to Lexington as they played Tennessee in early November, and despite the brutal loss, sources have said the visit went extremely well.

Gatewood would be a huge get for the program, and if the season has taught us anything, it’s never a bad thing to have too many quarterbacks.

History Shows Losses to Unranked Teams Can Lead to Success

Kentucky is not the only top-ranked team to have suffered an embarrassing loss in the regular season.

With that being said, it does suck when your team is embarrassed early in the year, especially to a team like Evansville

The reaction on social media to the loss hasn’t been surprising. Of course, all of the other fan bases are making fun of us, so if you get into a Twitter fight with a Tennessee fan, just be ready for the “Evansville” reply.

But, inside the BBN, the response on social media has been 50/50.

A fair amount of people are losing their minds and overreacting, while some fans are staying level-headed and know that when March comes around, the Cats will be right in the mix.

If the Calipari era has taught us anything, it’s that the losses in November and early December (embarrassing or not) don’t really matter.

Now, they certainly help if you win, but they don’t hurt nearly as much as they would in January or February.

A loss like last Tuesday will probably come back to haunt Kentucky with seeding come tournament time, but it will definitely help the team.

With that, let’s take a look at embarrassing losses by some top teams and where their season ended.

No. 1 North Carolina/Northern Iowa: November 21, 2015

Kentucky lost to a sub-.500 UCLA team early in 2015-16, but Kentucky’s loss was not nearly as bad as this one.

Justin Jackson dropped 25 points for the Tarheels but their next leading scorer was Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson both with 10.

Northern Iowa’s starting five combined for 69 of their 71 points that night, including 11 three-pointers, which gave them the 71-67 win over the Tarheels.

So close, just as they were to a national title that year.

Season results: NCAA Tournament Runner-Up, Record: 33-7

No.4 North Carolina/Santa Clara: January 19, 2004

Santa Clara’s most prominent alum is former NBA MVP, Steve Nash, but this game happened far after Nash’s time, and the Broncos were now a borderline .500 team.

Santa Clara outright won this game 77-66 as the rebounding battle shows, as the Broncos controlled the glass 40-37 overall, and dominated on the defensive boards 24-16.

Following this game, the Tarheels won 19 of their next 20 including three ranked opponents and went on to win Roy William’s first national title.

Season Results: NCAA Champions, Record: 33-4

No. 8 Michigan State/Wright State: December 30, 1999

Coined the “Upset of the Millenium”, a Wright State team that finished the season 11-17, beat the eventual national champion, Michigan State Spartans, 53-49.

In the words of Tom Izzo, the Spartans, “were totally outplayed from start to finish.” However, the Spartans weren’t outplayed many times following this game, going 23-3 en route to a national title victory over Florida.

Season Results: NCAA Champion, Record: 32-7

Syracuse/Rutgers: January 29, 2003

Carmelo Anthony is considered to be one of the greatest freshmen in college basketball history, but on January 29, 2003, he was not the best player on the floor.

That title belongs to Jerome Coleman who scored 31 points (12-23 FG) and helped an eventual 12-16 Rutgers team to upset the Orange.

Jim Boeheim and Company followed this game with a victory over No. 2 Pittsburgh and won 14 of their last 15 games, including a national title victory.

Season Results: NCAA Champion, Record: 30-5

No. 23 Butler/Evansville: November 27, 2010

Evansville may have just won their first game against a No. 1 AP team, but they are no stranger to upsets, beating an eventual NCAA Runner-Up Butler team 71-68 in overtime back in 2010.

The game was close but Butler’s 17 turnovers cost them the game. This Butler team turned it around and was a shot away from winning a title over Duke.

Season Results: NCAA Runner-Up, Record: 28-10

What did we learn?

In all of this, these losses don’t mean much. Like I said, really all they do is embarrass you, humble you, and make you better (Dang, I should be a head coach).

Kentucky will be just fine.

Cats Regain No. 1 Recruiting Class, Five-Star Commit Says “We ain’t done”

The early signing period started on Wednesday and over the course of these past two days, four of Kentucky’s five commits have officially signed: Terrence Clarke, Lance Ware, Cam’Ron Fletcher, and reclassification Devin Askew, leaving only BJ Boston yet to sign.

With the official reclassification of Devin Askew today, the Wildcats reclaimed the No. 1 recruiting class in 2020, and according to Terrence Clarke, they’re not done.

The big and obvious hole in the 2020 class is the frontcourt, with four-star forward, Lance Ware, being the tallest at 6-9. U

Two prospects to watch for are Greg Brown and Isaiah Jackson. Jackson will be committing tomorrow at 2:30 CT. If Cal isn’t able to get a commit out of either, expect him to look for a transfer even if any of this year’s big men were to stay.

If the Cats are able to hold on to the No. 1 recruiting class, it would be their first since the 2015 class, which included Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere.