Rick Bozich is back from Fayetteville. Eric Crawford is back from Pittsburgh. It's time to convene the weekly WDRB Monday Morning Meeting, with a look back at football and a look ahead to the Final Four:
1. Kentucky was embarrassed, 49-7, by an Arkansas team that had been embarrassing itself all season. Was that loss the beginning of the end of Joker Phillips?
RICK: As somebody who was in Fayetteville, it certainly felt like it. Arkansas is not a good team. And that game felt like it was over after about five plays. OK, it didn't feel as if it was over. It was over. Arkansas folks were shocked by how uninspired UK looked.
It was the only time this season when Kentucky never looked engaged in the game. Teams are supposed to be improving, not checking out, in mid-October. (See Louisville, Western Kentucky and Indiana for evidence.)
Now Georgia comes to town, favored by four touchdowns. After that, Kentucky's only two remaining home games are Samford and Vanderbilt. The enthusiasm is gone from Commonwealth Stadium. Not sure how Joker can get it back.
ERIC: I think the beginning of the end came a while back for Joker. The question now is when the actual end will come, and you're starting to hear rumblings that the Wildcats' bye week could actually be Goodbye week, with multiple SEC programs figuring to be depleting the available talent pool for coaches.
I don't think that's going to be the case, because of the mitigating circumstances of injury and youth. As bad as UK looked, I don't think the players have packed it in. I just think there's only so much injury and youth one team can absorb, especially in the SEC.
That doesn't give Phillips a pass into next season, however. The end is, in fact, near.
2. Louisville tuned up its offense, rolled Pittsburgh and made it to the halfway mark of the season 6-0. Who's the Big East favorite -- Louisville, Rutgers or Cincinnati?
RICK: Here is my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write. Because I'm going with Rutgers.
I can explain: 1. The Scarlet Knights have already won three league games; 2. Rutgers is ranked ahead of Louisville in the BCS standings; 3. Rutgers gets to play Louisville in Piscataway; 4. Rutgers ranks first in the nation in turnover margin and kickoff returns and second in rushing defense.
ERIC: I still think U of L's offense is better than Rutgers' defense, so I'm still giving U of L the edge in the league, though playing in Piscataway is going to be difficult.
Where I will give Rutgers the edge is in current ranking. The Scarlet Knights made their debut one slot ahead of U of L in the BCS ratings, and they earned it by playing a more difficult non-conference schedule.
Also, don't leave Cincinnati out of the mix. The Bearcats have the offense to match U of L, and could pose lots of problems before that game at Rutgers ever happens.
3. College basketball practice has started. What are you waiting for? Predict the Final Four.
RICK: Here is my email address: email@example.com. Please keep writing. Because I'm going with Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and Murray State.
Just kidding. But only about the Murray State part. I'll go with U of L, UK and IU, plus North Carolina. Go ahead and book your hotel rooms in Atlanta now. I don't expect to see a super-steam in college basketball this season. But the three locals will keep everybody entertained all season.
ERIC: No way I'm picking a Final Four that doesn't include U of L, IU and UK. Does there need to be a fourth team when you have three like that? But just to make it a nice even number, give me Michigan in the fourth spot.
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