What in the world happened to Kentucky?

955879.jpg

What in the world happened to Kentucky?

From Comcast SportsNetIndiana, Duke and Michigan remained the top three teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll. Look all the way to the bottom and you won't see Kentucky's name for the first time since John Calipari became coach of the Wildcats.Indiana, which has been No. 1 since the preseason poll, saw its lead over Duke shrink a little bit. The Hoosiers (8-0) received 45 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel, two fewer than last week.Duke (8-0) for the second straight week had the other first-place votes. The Blue Devils beat Ohio State last week giving them wins over teams ranked second, third and fourth in a span of 15 days. The other such run was Arizona beating teams ranked first, fourth and fifth from the regional semifinals to the NCAA championship game in 1997, a span of 11 days.Kentucky (4-3) lost to Notre Dame and Baylor last week, the latter a loss that snapped the Wildcats' 55-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation. Kentucky had been ranked in the last 61 polls, 11 of those weeks at No. 1. The run started with the preseason poll of 2009-10, the start of the Calipari Era when the Wildcats started young lineups which were usually gutted the next season by the NBA draft. The Wildcats won Kentucky's eighth national championship in April then had six players taken in the draft including Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the first two picks.Duke has the longest current run in the poll -- 101 weeks which started with the preseason poll of 2007-08. Kansas has the second-longest run at 69 weeks.Syracuse was fourth followed by Louisville, Florida, Ohio State, Arizona, Kansas and Gonzaga.Colorado (6-1) was the other team to drop out of the rankings, falling from 19th after losing to Wyoming.Notre Dame (7-1) moved back in to the poll at No. 22 after a two-week absence. Wichita State (8-0), which beat Tulsa and Air Force last week, moved in at No. 24. The Shockers were ranked for the last five weeks of last season.Cincinnati was ranked 11th followed by Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgetown, Creighton, San Diego State, New Mexico, Michigan State and North Carolina.The last five teams were UNLV, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Wichita State and North Carolina State.

Cooper 'didn't stumble' on deep incompletion, NBC says pass didn't hit camera cable

Cooper 'didn't stumble' on deep incompletion, NBC says pass didn't hit camera cable

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had pass rushers all around, but evaded them just long enough for Amari Cooper to do his thing.

He put an extra move on Marcus Peters and came free over the top. Carr saw his favorite target wide open, stepped up amid the chaos and let it fly. His volley went skyward, and Cooper veered right, tracking it as gravity brought the ball back. The pass ended up falling left, too far for Cooper to catch it.

“That’s a play we typically make,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Thursday. “We didn’t make it tonight.”

The Raiders were down 21-13 in the fourth quarter when that opportunity came about. Neither team scored again, and that result moved Kansas City over the Raiders and atop the AFC West.

There were other chances to score, including a long drive that stalled at the Kansas City 19-yard line with two minutes remaining. The deep incompletion came on 3rd-and-7 on the Raiders’ penultimate series, and a missed connection proved costly in their comeback efforts.

The whole exchange was uncharacteristic. Cooper doesn’t believe he misread the pass or took a false step to his right. He said it altered course and the worst time.

“I didn’t stumble,” Cooper said. “The ball, as it was coming down, moved at the last minute. That’s why it looked like I might have stumbled. I was running in the right direction and it kind of moved inside at the last minute, and I didn’t have time to get it.”

That has led many on social media to claim Carr’s pass hit a cable supporting a Skycam, a mobile camera that gets aerial shots during a game. The technology uses a series of cables to give the camera free motion over the field.

There is no conclusive video to show whether a ball hit the cable. Carr’s pass leaves the frame and doesn’t come back into view until it’s already off course.

NBC is certain the camera didn’t play a role in one of many missed opportunities to complete a comeback and beat the Chiefs.

“The camera is always behind the play and cables are really high over the surface,” NBC executive producer Fred Gaudelli said in an email to Deadspin. “Look at the replay we showed from sky cam - if anything hits the wire it would effect a bump in the camera and you would see that on the air.”

Punts have hit camera cables before, and NFL rules mandate a down be replayed if interference occurs.

The NFL mandates the camera always be behind the play. On the third down in question, the camera was in the Raiders backfield as it should’ve been.

There’s no solid evidence that the ball hit a cable, it’s entirely possible Carr’s pass simply went awry. The typically accurate quarterback struggled with touch all night, and never found the passing rhythm characteristic of his MVP-caliber season.

Arrowhead Stadium often has unpredictable wind gusts that could’ve changed trajectory upon descent. No Raiders or official questioned the play at the time, which fell harmlessly incomplete when the Raiders needed a big play.

Here’s the play in slow motion, courtesy of Deadspin.

Torrey Smith confident 49ers will turn it around -- with or without him

Torrey Smith confident 49ers will turn it around -- with or without him

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have made one big-money, first-day splash in free agency under embattled general manager Trent Baalke.

That came in March of 2015, when the team signed wide receiver Torrey Smith to a five-year, $40 million contract.

The 49ers brought Smith to the organization because of his character and production as a much-needed deep threat in the passing game. Smith has lived up to his promise off the field. This week he was named the 49ers’ nominee for the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

But the 49ers have gone 6-22 during that time. In the 27 games in which he has appeared, Smith has 53 receptions for 930 and seven touchdowns. He spoke on the 49ers Insider Podcast about the frustration and disappointment he has experienced since coming to the organization.

“There are times when I’ve handled it well and there are times I’ve been horrible,” Smith said. “As bad as things may have been, I just got to look at the light on the other side of the tunnel. I’m trying to be more positive. I was just talking to my wife about it. I feel like it’s a professional test for me.

“That’s why they signed me to come here. And I haven’t been doing that, for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s myself. Sometimes it’s opportunity. And sometimes we flat-out miss. The combination of those drives you crazy, but there’s only one thing I can control, and I haven’t been doing a good job of controlling that.”

Smith and safety Antoine Bethea are the only players on the 49ers who have won championships. Smith, whose Super Bowl win came as a member of the Baltimore Ravens against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, said he trusts that coach Chip Kelly has the team heading in the right direction – despite the 1-11 record and the franchise-worst 11-game losing streak entering Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

“We played at a very high level for three of my four years there (with the Ravens), and you know what it looks like when it’s right,” Smith said. “It’s a feel you get. It’s the way things are operating. It’s the way leadership is. I can’t really describe it, but you know what it looks like. It’s like a well-oiled machine.

“I feel like we have that, but we’re just not performing. There are mistakes involved in that. There’s a youth issue, as well. We’re not getting it done. But I think in terms of the way you’re taught, the way you prepare – which is how you can judge a coach – I don’t feel like we ever go into anything where we weren’t prepared.”

With Baalke’s future with the organization in a tenuous position, the 49ers will have a lot of offseason decisions. One is whether to bring back Smith at his $8 million annual price tag. Smith said he realizes his future is uncertain, but he said he believes the 49ers will eventually turn things around.

“People think Jed (York) and these guys just don’t care or whatever, like they’re trying to tank or blow this thing up,” Smith said. “That’s not the case. Guys are trying to prepare from the top to the bottom to win. Everyone here is working their tails off. We’re just aren’t performing well. When that happens, there’s a lot of criticism that comes from a lot of different directions – as it should. Everyone gets paid to do a job.

“But I feel like when we get it right -- and I can say we, and I’m not even guaranteed to be here next year. You know how the business works. Anything can happen. But I feel like it’s going to be right. I don’t know how long that’s going to take. But it’s not that far away. I’m just going keep saying that. It’s just a few pieces there that we got to get together and be more consistent.”