Hope everyone had a great Christmas. I know Team McD did, what with the Chargers’ 42-17 win (even though Mrs. McD is a Colts fan) and the amazing amount of baby-related presents people bought us despite the recession. Now it’s back to ignoring the family watching football all day and enjoying the last few college football games until next August/September. And no, I haven’t been to an Indiana University spring game since I was still in college, so that doesn’t count.
Today, it’s the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. I thought they were against that kind of thing in the South.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
8:30 pm ET
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Kentucky (7-5) vs. Clemson (8-5) (-7)
C.J. Spiller is going to have the spotlight all to himself on Sunday. Well, except for the NFL and the fact that this game is at 8:30 on a Sunday night when most people have to work the next day. But hey, I’m sure people will care about this game. Right? C’mon, we gotta make these kids feel like they’re playing for something even though they’re not.
Spiller is far and away the best player in this game, and the sixth-best player in the country, if you’re going by the Heisman voting. People, including me, have been saying he’s amazing pretty much his whole career, but he spent three years of that behind James Davis. Instead of both of them raising Clemson to the next level and being the premier thunder/lightning duo since Bush/White, neither was able to be particularly effective and it pretty much directly led to Tommy Bowden being fired. Or was it Terry? I really ought to remember a little better since I kind of campaigned for it last season.
Regardless, Clemson’s entire offense revolves around Spiller, and thus, so does Kentucky’s defense.
As for the Wildcats, the most important thing about this game is the glimpse of the future they’re continuing to get with Morgan Newton under center. The true frosh started the last several games of the regular season for Kentucky, though that included a killer loss to Tennessee on November 28, which is how they ended up in the Music City Bowl instead of somewhere nicer.
In any case, the talented Newton is the future for the team, so his development will go a long way toward maintaining the moderate success the program has had recently (four straight bowls) and cementing Rich Brooks’ legacy for turning the program around from a team that was every bit as bad and pathetic as their northern rivals, Indiana. I saw Newton play in high school a few times, and I’m shocked he’s become this effective a passer…oh wait, he hasn’t. Oh well, he’s still a freshman.
Expect Newton to make some plays but to struggle too as Spiller goes crazy all over the Wildcats in his last chance to impress NFL scouts in a game.