Aug 30, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats safety A.J. Stamps (1) celebrates after intercepting the ball against the UT Martin Skyhawks in the first half at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Athletics: Dog Days of Summer

August is usually a slow month for sports, particularly on the college level. But August 2014 has the possibility of being the best August in the history of University of Kentucky athletics.  The men’s basketball team put on a show in the Bahamas, the soccer teams opened a brand new stadium and the football team put on a clinic against UT Martin.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014-15 men’s basketball team is shaping up to be one of the deepest, most talented teams in UK history. With the 1996 NCAA title team being the measuring stick for dominating Wildcat teams, the current edition showed flashes in the Bahamas that they might be able to compare favorably to that team. This team doesn’t just have the chance to be good, this team has the chance to be historically great.  For the first time since he arrived in Lexington, head coach John Calipari is returning a lot of upperclassman talent. With Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee all returning for another run, the addition of another top group of freshmen has the Big Blue Nation chomping at the bit for October’s Big Blue Madness.

The men’s and women’s soccer teams opened the Bell Soccer Complex at the end of August. The Bell Complex was officially dedicated on Sunday, August 31. With Wendell and Vickie Bell, UK president Eli Capilouto, UK AD Mitch Barnhart on hand, head coaches Johan Cedergren (men) and Jon Lipsitz (women) celebrated the opening of the new complex with Big Blue fanfare. Despite the rain, a crowd of dedicated soccer and Wildcat fans visited the new facility, touring the grounds and showing everyone that the Big Blue Nation is more than just men’s basketball.  With Barnhart and Capilouto’s commitment to the growth of the overall athletic department and generous benefactors like the Bells, the soccer teams have the facilities they need to help them continue to represent the university well.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, August 30, the football Wildcats took the field to open the 2014 season and showed why the BBN should be excited about the Stoops era. Admittedly, UT Martin isn’t the toughest program the Wildcats will face this year, but that doesn’t mean that the fans shouldn’t be excited about where the Cats are right now.  Coming off back to back 2-10 seasons, Kentucky needed a game like this, opponent not withstanding. The offense looked crisp, particularly quarterback Patrick Towles who was really comfortable running the show. The defense made plays, something that has been missing over the last few seasons. There’s a swagger coming from the sidelines that we haven’t seen for awhile. The question will be how long the swag lasts once the Cats go through the brutal SEC schedule.

The past month has been very good for the University of Kentucky. Across the board, the sun truly is shining bright in My Old Kentucky Home.

Tags: Kentucky Wildcats

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