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RIVER RAT: Change is good

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First college games not a pretty sight

By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor

It’s taken a couple weeks, but I’m starting to finally settle in to the rhythms of the new season of Zubaty and Crew Sports Week.

In the first two seasons, the program was set up as a half-hour weekly program featuring interviews, information and other fun stuff about sports in the area.

We found, however, that in that formation we were still missing out on some of the day-to-day goings-on in the world of sports in our coverage area.

That led to the changes we implemented for the third season, as the program took a radical change from the one-day-per-week show and instead took on a greater role within the nightly newscast on PLG-TV 13.

Thus far, I think the changes have been for the better.

We’ve identified two of the strengths of the show — the fun segments for Team of the Week and Student-Athlete of the Week — and carried them over to Season 3, giving them each their own day within the broadcast, as the Team of the Week feature airs on Tuesdays and the Student-Athlete of the Week feature goes on Thursdays. Scheduling them that way allowed us to be a little bit more reactive to what was going on in the sports world in terms of on-field results from week-to-week, and it also helps the Student-Athlete feature remain associated with its brother in print, as we have set up the Friday edition of The Kentucky Standard as the regularly-scheduled date slot for the print Q&A.

The new format also opened the door for two new segments.

The Wednesday Wrapup is my chance to do a quick rundown of events from the past few days in the local sports world, especially highlighting events from the previous weekend and letting folks know what key matches are coming up.

The Friday Clipboard is similar to the Wednesday Wrapup, with an emphasis on recent scores and highlights, while also drawing a focus to that night’s big high school football games. Some of you who track us on the Zubaty and Crew Sports Week page on Facebook will have noticed this segment is uploaded a few hours in advance of the air time for Friday’s nightly news. Our hope is to have that up on the Web just after lunchtime on Fridays if all goes well, and definitely no later than 3 p.m., so you can check us out when you get home from school, or earlier if you have a smart phone.

We’ll be looking for other ways to enhance the program in this mercurial Season 3, so stay tuned.

 

Football?

The nation didn’t get much of a positive impression of our college football landscape Thursday with the ESPNU doubleheader featuring Louisville-Murray State followed by Kentucky-Western Kentucky.

Louisville rolled out to a 21-0 lead on the I-AA Racers, and apparently looked strong in doing so. I didn’t get to start watching until after halftime of this game, and it wasn’t impressive, as the Cardinal offense ground to a halt in a flurry of four turnovers. The only thing saving them from an ugly upset was Murray committing three turnovers of its own.

After that game, I recall saying to myself, “Man, Kentucky is going to kill Louisville in two weeks.”

And then I started watching the Wildcats, and was moved to cover my eyes in much the same way I had to for the Louisville-Murray game.

Yeesh.

At one point, WKU was up 3-0, and if the Toppers could’ve gotten some decent play out of their passing game, should have been up 17-0 at worst as Kentucky’s offense sputtered out just 75 yards of offense through three quarters.

To give you an idea of how bad it was, the punting was the only bright spot for both teams, as Ryan Tydlacka (UK) and Hendrix Brakefield (WKU) combined for 15 boots and 687 yards, a 45.8 average. At one point, the punting yards outpaced the actual offensive yards by a ratio of about 2.5:1.

The offenses “exploded” late to close that final gap to 687-424.

After watching that debacle, I began rethinking my earlier prediction about the Louisville-Kentucky game. It actually figures to be a tight game, it seems, but may prove excruciating to watch unless the Cards and Cats do some serious improving between now and the Sept. 17 meeting coming up at Commonwealth Stadium.

I used to give Rich Brooks a hard time about him pushing to have the game moved back to a lower-profile spot on the weekly game calendar.

Turns out, the old man was right, for all the wrong reasons. While his goal was to give his team time to get their feet wet against some suspect competition, what it will end up doing this season is to spare the nation of the agony of having to watch some really bad football.

Here’s hoping both teams can improve tremendously, or it could be a long season for college football fans in the Bluegrass.

Oh yeah, don’t forget, the NFL season begins Thursday, so get your lineups set in your fantasy football leagues. I’m trying to tackle three this season, including my first money league in some time. We’ll see how that turns out.

 

Peter W. Zubaty can be reached at pzubaty@kystandard.com or at 348-9003 Ext. 115.