Kentucky Quarterback Will Skip Bowl Game and Head to the NFL Draft
Who remembers all that summertime silliness between UK hoops coach John Calipari and his football counterpart Mark Stoops? You know...the exchange that began with Calipari referring to the University of Kentucky as a basketball school?
BASKETBALL SCHOOL? FOOTBALL SCHOOL? WHY NOT BOTH?
In his verbal campaign to get the ball rolling on a new practice facility, the hall-of-famer referenced Alabama and Georgia and called them football schools. Now...has he said anything, thus far, that isn't true? The answer is no.
But Stoops was a little agitated. The second-longest-tenured football coach in the SEC has good reason to be very protective of his program. He's already become the winningest coach in UK gridiron history and can boast a pair of 10-win seasons in the past five as proof that he was the right hire.
The two coaches have since ironed everything out, and Stoops has probably forgotten about. And he should as he prepares his 7-5 Wildcats for a Music City Bowl tilt against the Iowa; it's the second consecutive season UK has faced the Hawkeyes in the post-season. The Cats came away with the Citrus Bowl victory 20-17.
KENTUCKY QUARTERBACK SKIPPING THE MUSIC CITY BOWL
But this year, Kentucky will face Iowa WITHOUT its star quarterback, Will Levis, who is bypassing Nashville and entering his name in the NFL Draft.
My initial reaction ended so quickly, I've almost forgotten what I started to think...if that makes any sense. Yes, for a split second, I was a bit peeved, but that went away, and I wish him well.
He's taken a lot of heat on social media for this decision; you'll see that among the myriad replies to his tweet. And who knows if it's a wise decision, but it was his decision to make, and he made it.
THE NATURE OF THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL POST-SEASON IS WHY LEVIS LEFT
In my opinion, being unhappy with Levis is misplaced. I blame college football and its increasingly meaningless post-season. Yes, a 12-team playoff is right around the corner--a huge step up from the current and measly four. But there ARE 131 teams in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision). That just means that in 2024, there will be 119 instead of 127 teams playing in bowl games that don't really mean a whole lot other than pride and an extra win in the record books.
PLAYERS WILL PROBABLY CONTINUE SKIPPING MEANINGLESS BOWL GAMES
And there's not much anyone can do about that. You CAN'T have a 68-team tournament field in football; that is logistically impossible. But you maybe you CAN see why certain players opt out of non-playoff bowl games out of fear they might hurt themselves and damage their professional careers.
I totally get it. And it does happen every year, and fans do scoff. But there really isn't an answer outside of what has already been inked--an expansion that includes more teams. And maybe there will be another expansion in the future. But I can't really see it getting any bigger than 16 teams.
And THAT'S why we'll see more and more guys skipping bowl games that offer no chance at a national championship.
They have to protect themselves, and who can blame them?
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