3 and Out with 1340 The Ticket’s Norm Haney. Covering WKU vs. LSU, KHSAA High School Football Playoffs and WKU, UofL and UK Hoops.

By Norm Haney, BuyLocalBG.com, BuyLocalBg@gmail.com/
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 9:00 AM CST

Here’s another installment of Three and Out for BuyLocalBG.com – giving you a look at what’s going on in the southcentral Kentucky sports scene.

Up fir st – the leaves are falling and the chill in the wind simply means the football fever is taking over Bowling Green and for good reason. Not only are the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the midst of a five-game winning streak, but also there’s reason to believe that some local schools might be playing at Houchens Industries L.T. Smith Stadium in the KHSAA Gridiron Bowl Championship games in December.

The Hilltoppers picked up another big win at home against Florida International this past weekend after Bowling Green High School product Casey Tinius booted a 34-yard field goal on the final play in regulation to lift WKU to a 10-9 victory. Tinius, who’s struggled this season, having missed his last eight field goal attempts, was mobbed by teammates after the hitting the game winner, providing a nice redemption shot for a young man who’s put in a lot of hard work during his time on The Hill. Nice little side note to the field goal. The long snapper, Ryan Wallace and placeholder Ryan Beard are both BGHS products, like Tinius. So, the game winner had a true local feel to it.

Up next for WKU – No. 1 ranked LSU in Baton Rouge. Is it all right to give WKU a mulligan this week and let the win streak carry over to the Nov.19th date at North Texas? My vote is ‘Yes.’ WKU is just one win away from being bowl eligible and if they win out in Sun Belt play, will be very likely to receive a bowl bid. Go get ‘em Willie!

On the high school football front, Bowling Green and Warren Central appear to be headed toward a rematch in a few weeks. The Purples will host Greenwood this week while Warren Central travels to Hopkinsville to take on Christian County. The Dragons will have a tough road test, but in my opinion are the better team and should win.

No offense to Greenwood, but Bowling Green might be the best team in the state of Kentucky not named Trinity (who’s ranked #1 in the nation by Rivals.com). With that said, it would be epic to get round two of Bowling Green-Warren Central, which the Purples won 21-0 just four weeks ago. Also, don’t be surprised if Edmonson County makes a strong run at the state title game. The Wildcats have a super star in junior Jacob Tobias and Kyle Pierce is turning in an outstanding coaching job this season and should be considered a candidate for Class 3A Coach of the Year.

Secondly – when the leaves fall and the temperature drops, it also means basketball season is quickly approaching. I realize that hoops are a 12-month ordeal in the Bluegrass, but the teams are actually in the process of preparing for the upcoming season.
This will be short and sweet, but here are my prognoses for the local college teams.
WKU – very young and will be a work in progress. Topper fans need to be patient and save judgment on coach Ken McDonald and the team until March. They should show steady improvement and be ready to roll come Sun Belt tourney time. UK fans – get ready for one heck of a ride. The Wildcats are worthy of their preseason No. 2 ranking and look primed for another run at a Final Four and possibly national title number eight.

This is the most talented team John Calapari has probably ever had, not just at UK, but since he started coaching. Louisville is also a preseason Top 10 team and with one of the best coaches in the business in Rick Pitino you can bet the Cardinals will be ready to compete in the Big East, which of course means they’ll be on the short list of teams that are capable of a Final Four run. Look for Bowling Green High School product Chane Behanan to be an impact for U of L in his freshman season.

Last but not least – here’s a shoutout to the Bowling Green girls soccer team, who made a run to the state semifinals before losing 3-0 to Sacred Heart. The Lady Purples won the Fourth Region title and finished the season 19-4-2. With only three seniors on the roster the team should be set for another run at a state championship game next season.

– Norm Haney is the Programs Director at 1340 AM – WBGN and the host of The Sports Guys, which airs weekdays from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. You can also listen to the show streaming live at 1340wbgn.com

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