Football has spot in Bluegrass state

Football has spot in Bluegrass state

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:02 pm

By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Even though basketball tips off this week in this hoop-crazed state, Kentucky tight end Nick Melillo insists there are three good reasons to keep watching fall football — the Wildcats, Louisville and Western Kentucky are all closing in on bowl eligibility.
“We’re not done yet,” said Melillo, who grew up in Louisville and has always been a Wildcats basketball fan. “We have three more games left and we’re going to do our best to make the best out of it that we can. It’s going to be three big battles and hopefully we come out the victor.”
• Kentucky (4-5) needs two wins with games at Vanderbilt and Georgia before playing at home against Tennessee.
• Louisville (5-4) plays Pittsburgh before road contests at Connecticut and South Florida.
• Western Kentucky (5-4) has won five in a row, but has the most daunting challenge of them all at No. 1 LSU before conference matchups at North Texas and home against Troy.
“You can just tell, it’s getting better within the state,” Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. “There’s some really good football players within the state, we just all three need to continue to build our programs. We have a long ways to go, we all understand that. But it can be built.”
It was just last month that watching quality football in the state meant watching the opponent.
The Wildcats lost three conference games in a row by a combined 117 points, the Hilltoppers dropped four straight, including a 44-16 drubbing by FCS Indiana State, and the Cardinals dropped three in a row.
“We’re just playing better football. That’s what it comes down to. Football — everyone tries to make it so complex. But if you win your 1-on-1 battles, you’re going to make good plays, and I feel like that’s what we’ve been doing,” Western Kentucky tight end Jack Doyle said.
On Saturday, all three teams won for the first time since Western Kentucky moved up to FBS in 2009.
 The last time the three schools won on the same day before that was Sept. 6, 2008, when all three beat FCS teams, according to STATS, LLC.
Published in The Messenger 11.8.11

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