31 January 2011

Conference Realignment

We all know about it, but for those that haven't yet heard- where have you been?  The NCAA has agreed to a major shift in the conferences, only the second in nearly 20 years.  TCU is going to the Big East, which is on the verge of losing its automatic qualifying berth in BCS games.  Boise State is going to the MWC.  Colorado is on their way to the PAC10 and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are on their way out to the Big Ten.

Missouri was the original frontrunner for the Big Ten, until some shady backroom deals done by Nebraska's athletic director Tom Osborne, the university president and the commissioner of the Big Ten, Jim Delaney..as reported by the Omaha newspaper.  What if MU had been taken over the Huskers?

For starters, more airtime on TV with the Big Ten Network.  More TV exposure means better recruiting, and even more importantly, more money.  The Big Ten pays out the most of any other conference and every school in the conference gets a share of the BTN revenue.  Last year, the Big Ten paid out between $22 and $24 million to their schools, second was the PAC10 at $12-13 million.  The University would have needed a stadium renovation.  Anheuser-Busch was willing to front the money needed for such a renovation, which was estimated at $48 million.  The payout for MU's first three years in the Big Ten?  $16 mil/yr.  Stadium paid for after three years in conference.

But, the Tigers were not taken, and instead one of our fiercest rivals is on the way out, and with them, the "world's classiest fans".  No longer will the Big 12 be the poster boy for the criminally insane fans and players that play in Lincoln.  Instead, the team that wound up winning a national championship on a 5th down goes to the PAC10.

Instead of the Big 12 championship game that has been so detrimental to Mizzou, the conference will employ a round-robin style format, where whomever has the most conference wins, wins the championship.  How will Missouri fair in the new conference?  We will just have to sit back, watch and enjoy the ride.

29 January 2011

Messing With Texas

TIGERS WON'T FORGET THE ALAMO
Austin, TX- The University of Missouri Tigers traveled to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns today, Saturday, in an effort to hand Texas their first conference loss of the season.  What happened, was the exact opposite.  The Longhorns opened up with a 10-0 run to start the game, and forward Laurence Bowers and guard Kim English scored 10 of the team's first 12 points, until Bowers left the game after taking an elbow to the face.  He never returned and is still questionable for the Oklahoma State game on Feb 2.  Phil Pressey scored 12 in the 71-58 loss, and the Tigers did show great improvement in one area: free throws.  Their rebounding left a lot to be desired, and a Texas team that has struggled from the line was the reason the Tigers were able to claw their way to within 10 points.  In the end, it just wasn't meant to be for MU, as they fall to 17-4 in a year that winning on the road in Big 12 Conference play is a near improbability.

The Tigers' next game is 2/2 against Oklahoma State in Stillwater.  Tip off is set for 8p/C on ESPN2. 

24 January 2011

Tigers in the Super Bowl

How many Tiger alumni have played in a Super Bowl?

23.  So far, 19 have won, with one pending.  Pretty impressive winning percentage.

The list that was given to me:
Ed Blaine, Guard, Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl I (won)
Chase Daniel, QB, New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl XLIV (won)
Justin Gage, WR, Chicago Bears, Super Bowl XLI
Tony Galbreath, RB, New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI (won)
Michael Harden, DB, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XL
Ziggy Hood, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XLV (result TBD)
Mike Jones, LB, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl XXXIV (won)
RIck Lyle, DE, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVIII (won)
John Matuszak, DE, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl XI (won)
John Matuszak, DE, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl XV (won)
Gus Otto, LB, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl II
Phil Pettey, Guard, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XXII (won)
Andy Russell, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl IX (won)
Andy Russell, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl X (won)
Jerome Sally, NT, New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI (won)
Otis Smith, DB, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXI
Otis Smith, DB, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVI (won)
Henry Stuckey, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl VII (won)
Henry Stuckey, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl VIII (won)
Eric Wright, DB, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XVI (won)
Eric Wright, DB, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XIX (won)
Eric Wright, DB, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIII (won)
Eric Wright, DB, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV (won)


I'd like to give a major thanks to user name ZouDave that provided me with these names.

22 January 2011

Tigers Win Big, Longhorns Comeback

The Missouri Tigers basketball team hit the hardwood today for a game against the Iowa State Cyclones.  The game was close for about 5:00, then the Tigers turned electric.  Mizzou built up a 48-26 halftime lead, and continued their dominance in the second half, opening a 87-54 win over the Cyclones, the fifth straight win in the series.   Iowa State's Jake Anderson led all scorers with 20 points, while Michael Dixon, Jr led the Tigers with 15.  Ricardo Ratliffe added 12 of his own.  Five Tigers finished in double digits- Dixon, Ratliffe, Kim English (12), Marcus Denmon (13) and Justin Safford (11).  Jason Sutton came on the floor late to knock in a lone 3-pointer to allow all Tiger players to score.  The lowest scorer was freshman Ricky Kreklow with 1 point.

The Tigers shot 44% from the field, 35% from beyond the arc and improved greatly on their free throws, going 9-12 (75%) from the stripe.  The Tigers travel to Austin, TX to take on the Longhorns who were in action today against the Kansas Jayhawks...

...and this game had a lot of MU fans' eyes.  The Jayhawks boasted a 69-game win streak coming into today's game, and Texas did a sufficient job of silencing the Beakers' boasts.  The Longhorns battled back from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat Kansas 74-63 to get their first win in Lawrence in school history.  The loss marks Kansas' first of the year, while Texas continues their undefeated conference run and improves their overall record to 16-3.

The Tigers and Longhorns meet on January 29 in Austin, TX at 8p/CT on ESPNU and the Tiger Radio Network.

19 January 2011

NFL Draft/Recruiting Update

Jr QB Blaine Gabbert
According to the most recent NFL Draft forecast models, Blaine Gabbert is being projected to go 5th overall to the Arizona Cardinals.  If that holds true, he'll be only the second Tiger in school history to go in the top-5 of the draft (DE Justin Smith-4th overall, 2000).
In the rumor mill: Star junior defensive end Aldon Smith is being targeted by the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Todd McShay.
Jr DE Aldon Smith




17 January 2011

MU shows claws in big win

Columbia, MO- The University of Missouri Tiger basketball team returned home after a heartbreaking overtime loss to Texas A&M in College Station for a game against conference foe Kansas State.  The Wildcats came into the season ranked 3rd and predicted to win the Big XII Championship.  K-State has gone 4-4 in their last eight games coming into today's match up, televised nationally on ESPN.

The Tigers enter the game at 15-3, 1-2 in conference play.  Losses to Georgetown (102-111 F/OT), Colorado (66-79) and TAMU (89-91 F/OT) are the only blemishes on an otherwise excellent season.  The 14th ranked Tigers took on the 24th ranked Wildcats in front of a sold out crowd.  Mizzou struggled at the beginning of the game offensively, but opened up a 15-pt halftime lead.  The Wildcats were able to bring it to within three, but that was the closest they would get, as in the last 8:00 minutes of the game, the Tigers went on a 17-4 run, including 3-point buckets from guards Kim English and Marcus Denmon, who led Mizzou with 14 points.  Phil Pressey, who was electric in the TAMU loss contributed 10 points and became the first Tiger since Anthony Peeler to have three consecutive 7+ assist games, including a highlight reel assist to Laurence Bowers on a 4-2 Tiger break late in the game.


The Tigers win in Columbia 75-59 over the Wildcats, who have now gone 4-5 in the last 9 games.  The Tigers improve to 16-3 and .500 in conference at 2-2.  The Tigers take on the Cyclones of Iowa State on January 22nd at Mizzou Arena.  The game is to be televised on ESPNU.

13 January 2011

Michigan Finds New Coach

Brady Hoke to Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI- It was the firing heard 'round the NCAA.  A high profile coach from a high profile school suddenly fired after mediocre results.  A week is all it took.  The University of Michigan football program went without a coach for a week, after firing Rich Rodriguez.  Apparently three seasons was a couple too many, and the Wolverines were wanting to find someone a little more...productive.  Rodriguez had been a breath of fresh air coming after Lloyd Carr's 1-7 record against Jim Tressel of Ohio State, and after introducing the spread offense to the Big House, the fresh air was quickly turning stale.  Rich Rod's three years were disappointing at best, going just 3-9, 5-7, 8-5 in each season, respectfully, as well as being clouded in scandals.  Practice and recruiting violations smeared the once proud program.  Michigan's AD Dave Brandon was looking to do some house cleaning after having a defense that was ranked 117th out of 120 schools, and coming off of a gutwrenching 52-14 loss to Mississippi State, the timing seemed perfect.  Rich Rod didn't only lose his first bowl game as the Wolverine head coach, but he led the team to their first losing season since 1966, first ever back-back losing seasons and the worst of all:  an 0-3 start against Ohio State.  So Rich Rodriguez was fired toward the end of the first week of 2011, along with his entire staff.
Brady Hoke from his coordinator days
Dave Brandon had been meeting with multiple coaches throughout the week, including Michigan alumni Jim Harbaugh of Stanford and Les Miles of LSU.  Les Miles, who the university had targeted three years earlier, was a prime candidate, according to Brandon, as Harbaugh seemed to be NFL-bound.  A third and unlikely candidate for the job was a former coordinator for the Wolverines, Brady Hoke.  Hoke, who led the San Diego State Aztecs to a great season, gave traditional powerhouses and newcomer powerhouses the thrill of a lifetime.  SDSU came to Columbia and it took a 68-yard pass play known as the "Moe Miracle" to beat them.  The Aztecs also lost by 5 to the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs, 40-35.
Hoke at SDSU.
Earlier this week there had been a meeting of the minds between Brandon and Miles, and after the goodbyes were said, Miles announced he was remaining at LSU for a little bit longer.  Michigan goes 0-2 trying to get him out of Baton Rouge and up to Ann Arbor.  So, it falls on the shoulders of the unlikely candidate, Brady Hoke, and the question is not whether or not Hoke and the boosters get along, it's will Hoke and star quarterback Denard Robinson get along?  Rumors are speculating around the campus that the two may not see eye-to-eye on how to effectively run an offense, and with backup QB Tate Forcier no longer enrolled, Hoke has some recruiting to do on his own for a QB to fit into his style, which is reportedly going back to traditional Big Ten smashmouth: run between the tackles until you stop us, then we'll air it out to get past you.

Elsewhere: Florida coach Urban Meyer has resigned and former Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator Will Muschamp.  Muschamp, coming off of a disappointing 5-7 season with the Longhorns (a year after being national runner-up and the school's first loss to Iowa State), is taking over a Gator team that has struggled in their first year without Tim Tebow, going 8-5 overall.

Mizzou Conference Win

TIGERS SHUCK THE CORN
Marcus Denmon led all scorers with 27 points and also had 6 rebounds
Mizzou's Kim English (24) drives to the rim.

The Missouri Tigers men's basketball team notched their first conference victory of 2011 with a 77-69 win over rival Nebraska on Wednesday, January 12.  Nebraska is coming off of a 1-pt win over conference foe Iowa State in Lincoln.  The Tigers, coming off of a loss in Boulder against Colorado, were looking for a rebound and controlled the game from the onset.  Marcus Denmon scored 8 of the Tigers' first 10 enroute to a 27 point night to lead all scorers.  Denmon also went 5/7 from behind the 3-pt line.
Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe each added 12 of their own, with Kim English tallying 9 points.  The Tiger bench that was so potent throughout the start of the season only contributed just 17 points, with 12 from Bowers alone.  Nebraska's Toney McCray led the Huskers with 17 points.  Mizzou improves their season to 15-2, 1-1; while Nebraska falls to 13-2, 1-1.  The Tigers are on the road to College Station, TX to take on the Texas A&M Aggies.  Tip off is slated for 12p/C.  Missouri will return home for Kansas State on the 17th.  The Huskers have another difficult task as they travel to Lawrence, KS to take on the 3rd-ranked Jayhawks, who escaped Iowa State with a five point victory.

05 January 2011

Please Be Aware

Please be aware that this blog is NOT run by an official at the University of Missouri, and all the opinions and views expressed herein do not reflect the views or opinions of the University or any official at the University.  This blog is of my own accord and does not in any way, shape, or form have any legal or official ties to the University of Missouri.

Thank you,
Blog writer.

04 January 2011

Around the NCAA

Every year, there is a shakeup of some kind.  This year, we have the conference realignment and the resignation and/or firings of high-profile coaches.

We all know the story behind the realignment, Colorado to the PAC-12, Nebraska to the Big Ten, TCU to the Big East, Boise to the Mountain West...but it's the realignment of coaches that is grabbing some attention.

As Mizzou fans, we won't forget the San Diego State game for quite some time.  It was a spectacular finish at Faurot by the Tigers, and coming on the heels of an 8-5 season, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI have fired their 3-year coach Rich Rodriguez.  "Rich Rod", formerly of West Virginia, went a dismal 16-21 in his three years at Michigan, after going to four straight bowl games with West Virginia of the Big East.  He coached great quarterbacks such as Pat White, the first to have a 200 pass, 200 rush game and Michigan's Denard Robinson, who became the first to have back to back 200/200 games, and the first quarterback in FBS history to have a 1500 pass, 1500 rush in the same season.  He also went over 2000 passing yards.  Back to the original thought:  San Diego State.  The reason I mention the Aztecs is Michigan's athletic director Dave Brandon is considering Aztecs head coach Brady Hoke as Rodriguez's replacement.

What has Hoke done at SDSU that is different than what Rich Rod has done in Ann Arbor?  One word: win.  He only lost by three to Mizzou, on a last-minute TD that has become known as the Moe Miracle.  He gave the Rose Bowl champs a run for their money, losing by five to the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs.  His pistol offense was adopted from conference foe Nevada, who Missouri beat last year, and the same Nevada that ended Boise State's run in the top-5.

I am a Mizzou fan first and foremost, but my #2 team is Michigan, so this means a great deal to me, and it could mean a lot to the rest of the NCAA.

03 January 2011

Franklin is ready

I know I said it was a "dilemma" before, but after thinking and sleeping on it for a bit, James Franklin is in good shape.  He's inheriting one productive offense.  Our O-line won't be the same without Tim Barnes and Jayson Palmgren, but we'll be good to go by the season opener.  I expect Franklin to perform similar to that of Michigan's Denard Robinson..run very fast and throw very strong.

Also, we have Ashton and Tyler, along with one other QB in the mix, so any of the three could get the starting job.  We'll just have to wait and see!  Until then, GOOD LUCK BLAINE IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER!

Quarterbacks

It's the question that has been at the back of minds, but no one has dared to utter it.  "What if Blaine Gabbert goes pro?" has now turned into "What will happen now that Gabbert has gone pro?"  Looking at the depth chart for Mizzou:
Blaine Gabbert - 2011 NFL draft
James Franklin - true freshman
Ashton Glaser - freshman
Tyler Gabbert - freshman
Jimmy Costello - graduation
We have three freshman quarterbacks in the ranks, very similar to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor when they went into last season with two true frosh QBs in Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson.  We're set on the position depth, but what we're not set on is experience.

Franklin is the only one of the returning three that has any playing experience in 2010.  He went 11/14 for 101 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT for a rating of 151.5.  I expect him to be named the starter for the 2011 run, with Glaser as his backup.

The Tigers have one committed high school senior in Colin Berkstresser from Lees Summit, and one other quarterback considering attending Missouri in Cameron Coffman of Ray-Pec High School.  Both Coffman and Berkstresser are listed as 3-star prospects by espn.com.

Wide receiver T.J. Moe could also be used as a QB, that was his position in high school at Fort Zumwalt West.
















BLAINE GABBERT GOES PRO

No sooner had I finished my previous blog about Blaine Gabbert when I see that he's officially declared for the 2011 NFL draft.

Gabbert's career at Mizzou:
Year          G-GS        Passing         Pct.        Yds.     TD     INT      Rating
2008             5-0              5-13    38.5%           43        0          0       66.25
2009        13-13       262-445    58.9%     3,593     24          9     140.45
2010        13-13       301-475    63.4%     3,186     16          9     127.04
Career    31-26       568-933    60.9%     6,822     40       18     132.59

His 40 TDs are good for 3rd all-time, his 132.59 is second all-time, and his 6,822 yards passing is 4th all-time in Mizzou's record books.

Best of luck, Blaine Gabbert in your future in the NFL.
Be sure to check out Mizzou Tiger Nation on Facebook!

Also, mark down 9/3/11 - Season home opener against Miami (OH) Redhawks!!

2011

With football season an agonizing 9 months away, questions remain about the upcoming campaign.  Who will be the quarterback is the top question on Tiger fans' minds.

Blaine Gabbert has been starting for the Tigers since his sophomore year, 2009.  He's helped take this senior class to the top spot in wins, at 40...a university record.  He's been a part of the team since 2008, when he was third-string behind Chase Daniel and Chase Coffman in the 10-4 season.  He has amassed over 3186 yards on 301 completions, with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions...the last of which was the most costly (Micah Hines pick-6 in the Insight Bowl).

"Gab" is currently listed as the second-highest QB prospect for the NFL draft this year, behind Andrew Luck of Stanford.  What this means is he could be one of the highest draft picks from the University of Missouri (Jeremy Maclin is the highest).  While Gabbert is an outstanding quarterback with excellent form throwing the ball, his decision making skills are going to be what holds him out of the NFL.  The pick-6 to Micah Hines was made because Blaine was trying to force something that wasn't there, which has been his biggest flaw ever since he was named the starter for 2009.  Ever since the '09 Nebraska game, Blaine hasn't been the same as he was before.  His high ankle sprain he suffered has left him with a noticeable limp to this day.  His durability is questionable, as he went out with a hip pointer in the Colorado game in 2010 (a 26-0 win), but his recovery is what makes him a competitor.  A week after the Colorado game, he played all 60:00 of the TAMU game...much to the displeasure of the Tiger fans.

Blaine is an excellent quarterback, there is no doubt, and he will be successful in the NFL if he can stay healthy and not make the same mistakes he did in college.  Do we want him to actually declare for the draft?  In Tiger Nation, it's divided.  We don't want the stupid mistakes anymore, but he's the main reason this team did so well this year (10-3, 6-2).  His cannon of an arm allows the receivers to outrun the defense, and his legs give linebackers nightmares.  He needs to learn when to pull back on the string from time to time, as it seems in the Nebraska and Texas Tech games he was trying to throw it 80 yards on every pass.  After the Tech game, he appeared to have calmed down and wasn't so antsy in the pocket, similar to his play previous to the '09 Nebraska injury.  In the Insight Bowl, he found his rhythm and was doing well, taking the Tigers to a late 4th quarter lead.  Then the interception by Hines was when the Tigers started to show signs of their vulnerability.  On 4th down, wide receiver T.J. Moe hauled in a catch to give Mizzou a first down, but after review, the officials overturned the call and allowed Iowa to run the clock out to secure the victory.

People have been blaming Gabbert for the pick-6 play, when in reality, he isn't the one to be blamed.  Offensive coordinator David Yost is the one who develops the plays, calls them down to the field, and Gabbert runs the offense.  You can't lay the blame on one person alone.  Yost and Gabbert share the blame equally.  Yost for running that play, Gabbert for trying to force it.  As the old saying goes in football: "Live to play another down."  He should have thrown it away, but...coulda, woulda, shoulda.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

I, personally, hope Gabbert does come back for his senior year.  He's the pivot point of the offense.  When he's off, the whole team suffers (Nebraska, Texas Tech), but when he's on, there's no one in America that can stop him.

Tigers in the NFL

Half of the teams that are in the NFL playoffs this year have a University of Missouri alumni on the roster.  Sean Weatherspoon, Jeremy Maclin, Brad Smith and Chase Daniel are among the former Tiger greats that are making a name for themselves in the NFL.

Brad Smith currently plays for the New York Jets, and is one of the most electrifying return guys in the League.
Chase Daniel is presently the backup in his second season to Drew Brees in New Orleans, but he does have a Super Bowl ring to call his own.
Sean Weatherspoon plays for the Atlanta Falcons and is in his rookie year.
Jeremy Maclin also plays for the Jets and is in his second season.

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