25 July 2011

NFL Door Unlocked

Lockout over, Mizzou players sign
by MizzMatt 7/25/11
Columbia, MO- The NFL players association (NFLPA) and the owners have come to a mutual agreement regarding the payment of their players, ending the NFL lockout. This is good news for NFL fans, as there will now be a season in 2011, but it's even better news for all the undrafted free agents.
  • Tim Barnes, center - Baltimore Ravens
  • Kevin Rutland, cornerback - Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Carl Gettis, cornerback - Cleveland Browns
Rutland will rejoin Mizzou teammate and 10th-overall pick quarterback Blaine Gabbert and a fellow Tiger alumni in Atiyyah Ellison in Jacksonville and Gettis joins former Tiger C.J. Mosely at Cleveland. The latest round of signings puts Mizzou up to six NFL-bound players. Aldon Smith, defensive end, is going to San Francisco, Gabbert, as mentioned earlier going to Jacksonville and Andrew Gachkar, linebacker is headed out to San Diego. Who will the next Mizzou great be? Tune into The Zou in 2011 to find out! Season premier is only 39+ days away!

20 July 2011

Mizzou on NCAA 12

Old traditions into new game
by MizzMatt 7/20/11
For those who are video game enthusiasts, and for those who privy sports games, one game that you need to check out is the newest edition of the NCAA Football series from EA Sports- NCAA 12. The graphics are unreal and the gameplay is a vast improvement from that of 11. More fluid tackling, realistic running and player motion makes for the best NCAA Football thus far. The Road to Glory mode is touted as the greatest game mode to be played, but the old favorites of Dynasty and Exhibition are also available for play. For the second year, Lee Corso is absent from the broadcasting booth as Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstreit bring you the play-by-play, and Erin Andrews brings you more realistic sideline reports on injuries and after the half. They've incorporated Gametracker, which helps make it feel more realistic.

Some old traditions make their way to the game, too. The Mizzou ROTC Cannon Crew with "Little Joe" and the "MIZZOU" formation by Marching Mizzou prior to the kickoff for instance. New cutaways of the marching band and more close ups of the coaches and the option of editing the head coach as well as the offensive and defensive coordinators are also incorporated into the game, as well as the depth of the stadiums make it more like a live broadcast rather than a video game.

Other traditions that have made their way into the game is the "GO BLUE" banner at Michigan, the running of the buffalo at Colorado, the "Tunnel Walk" at Nebraska, Chief Osceola at Florida State, the Gator head at Florida, the Longhorn at Texas, the Purdue Marching Drum and the "Play like a champion today" sign at Notre Dame. Other school-specific traditions, such as Little Joe, have been thrown into the mix as well.

There are drawbacks that mainly center around a lack of attention to detail. First, as you can see in the picture above, the Tiger heads on the shirts of the Cannon Crew. While it is awesome that they incorporated Little Joe, it would be even better if they were in more accurate shirts. Beggars can't be choosers though. Secondly, the inaccuracy of player appearance. James Franklin and Wes Kemp both had dreadlocks until they were edited. Another drawback is there is a slight discretion in the rosters. DT Dominique Hamilton is absent for some reason of this version, and all indications are he IS returning next year. One other drawback is that with the new conference structure, there is no longer a Big 12 championship to be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and there is still a lack of the neutral site game between Mizzou and Kansas while they include Army-Navy, Colorado-Colorado State and Georgia-Georgia Tech neutral sites.

Overall, NCAA Football 12 is an outstanding game that has minor drawbacks and flaws. The gameplay is the best I've encountered (I've owned every version since '99) and the new traditions make it more like a real game experience. There was a cannon at Mizzou on previous editions, but it was an old style cannon operated by cheerleaders rather than current Pack-75mm Howitzer operated by the ROTC. They've come a long way with the game, but they still have a little more tweaking to do before it can be considered perfect. Perhaps in NCAA 13 they'll get it all sorted out? Perhaps.

Play for Pay

Should NCAA athletes be paid?
by MizzMatt 7/20/11
To pay or not to pay. That is the question. With all the scandals breaking about NCAA athletes being involved in "pay-for-play" scenarios (Reggie Bush, Cam Newton [acquitted], and Terrell Pryor just to name a few), the question has been raised if we should just pay them for their services. Many people would say yes, because it would cut down on NCAA investigations and the amount of players being ruled ineligible due to wrongdoing. Others who oppose the idea would simply say no, they're already being paid..they're called SCHOLARSHIPS.

But now, what if they were paid? Would the female athletes be paid as much as the men? According to Title IX, they would have to be paid equally if not more than the men's sports. (Title IX requires a school to have an equal or greater amount of women's sports to that of men's, which is why major universities like Mizzou will participate in 14 sports all together, 8 women's and 6 men's.) In the spirit of equality, they are supposed to be paid equally, but in the case of the professional ranks, the WNBA is not paid nearly as much as the NBA, and now with the lockout, that pay gap will get wider. Women's Professional Football League (WPFL) and the NFL have a HUGE pay gap, along with the WHL and the NHL. MLB has no comparison because there is no professional softball league, only the US National Team and the Olympics.

Average salaries for men's professional sports:
  • NHL- $1,906,793 (07-08 season)
  • MLB- $3,297,828 (2010 season)
  • NFL- $1.1 million (09 season)
  • MLS- $117,299* (08 season) *David Beckham was paid $5.5 mil in 2008
  • NBA- $5.59 million (08-09 season)
And now for the women's side:
  • WNBA- $55,000 (1999-2000 season)
  • Golf- Annika Sorenstram: $2.5 mil in winnings, Tiger Woods: $11.9 mil (2005)
  • Tennis- Maria Sharipova: $3.8 mil winnings, Roger Federer: $8.3 mil (06)
  • WPFL- $100 per GAME, compared to Vick's $23.1 mil salary (05)
So if we are going to start paying NCAA athletes, which pay scale do we go by? The salary-capped men's scale, or the glass-ceiling women's? Where would that money come from? Mizzou has a cap on their student enrollment being proposed by interim president Steve Owens because of the lack of state funding. Would the pay come from ticket sales? Wouldn't that be a NCAA violation in and of itself? The questions are endless on how a legalized pay-for-play would work out and still have schools making money off the sporting events.

For those who aren't NCAA athletes, meaning those with 9-5 jobs, the average pay for women is .70¢ for every dollar a man earns. Again, according to Title IX, if the amount of sports must adhere to it, even though there isn't a provision for it in Title IX, the pay would probably have to be equal to or greater than that of the men's. That's not likely to ever happen, so brace yourselves for more NCAA scandals to surface over the coming years, because there's sure to be more players like Reggie Bush and Terrell Pryor trying to make an extra buck.

sources: http://www.ehow.com/about_6464393_average-salaries-professional-sports.html
http://www.askmen.com/sports/business_150/190_sports_business.html

17 July 2011

The Catch That Never Was

2010 Insight.com Bowl, reluctantly revisited
by: MizzMatt 7/17/11
ESPNU has been replaying football games for a long time, and nothing seems to be able to change that. From the highlight reel grabs to the game films you study to improve next time, they show it. They've shown Mizzou vs Oklahoma a couple of times already, but today was a heartbreaker to watch. Mizzou vs Iowa in the Insight.com Bowl. Iowa led the entire game until Mizzou took the lead late in the third quarter. That would be the last time the Tigers would score.

The fourth quarter was full of suspense, as Micah Hines returned an interception off of Blaine Gabbert 72 yards for a TD. That would be the last points scored in the game, but it'd prove to be the most costly. The Tigers did threaten late, but it just wasn't meant to be. Mizzou's final drive:
  • Gabbert to Moe for 7 yards to the 26 yard line
  • Moore rush for 6 yards to 32 yard line and first down
  • Gabbert incomplete, intended for Egnew
  • Iowa holding penalty accepted for 10 yards. Ball on Mizzou 42 yard line
  • Gabbert to Jerrell Jackson 4 yards to the MU 46
  • Gabbert to Moe for 5 yards to the IA 49
  • Gabbert 2 yard rush to IA 47, 1st down
  •  Kendial Lawrence 1 yard rush to IA 46
  • Gabbert 3 yard rush to IA 43
  • Pass incomplete to Rolandis Woodland, ball on IA 43.
  • *Pass incomplete to Moe, turnover on downs - 10 plays, 38 yards, 3:17 TOP
I put an asterisk by that last play to Moe, because the call was originally ruled a catch, later reviewed, and overturned as incomplete. You be the judge:

Was it a catch? Incomplete? Everybody on the side of Mizzou would say it was a catch, while those on Iowa's sideline would say that there was no way he caught that. Either way, that was MU's last-ditch effort to try and regain the lead they surrendered at the 8:25 mark. As we all are aware, Iowa defeated Mizzou, handing us our third loss of the season as the game ended with a 27-24 Hawkeye victory. We fell to 10-3, 6-2 for the 2010 season.

14 July 2011

Post 100: "Six Years Later, Still a Tiger"

AO25 April 1, 1986 - July 12, 2005. Always a Tiger.
AO25- Always a Tiger
by MizzMatt 7/14/11
Six years. That's how long its been since Mizzou linebacker Aaron O'Neal collapsed during a preseason workout on Faurot Field. July 12 marked the official "anniversary" of his passing, and the weeks that followed were met with harsh criticism on the way the workouts were conducted. The official ruling from the Boone County medical examiner (ME) stated that AO died from viral meningitis, and it could've taken his life during any regular activity such as walking through the mall or sitting on the couch at home.

It was just out of sheer coincidence that he collapsed on that July afternoon, but when he did, trainers said "There was nothing that could be done." Aaron was driven to the hospital by then-medical director Rex Sharp where he was pronounced dead.

The team, however, took the loss hard. 19-yr old O'Neal was a prodigy on the field, despite being redshirted his freshman year. The University took measures to ensure he would be honored throughout his would-be career at Mizzou.
  • Moment of silence before multiple games, including having the team line up on the 25-yard line.
  • Preserving his locker behind plexiglass.
  • Helmet stickers with "25".
  • No player issued the number 25 through the 2008 season, when members of the senior class took turns wearing the number in honor of their classmate.
  • AO25 printed along the sidelines of Faurot Field.
Though the ME had already given his determination, years would go by without any closure. It wasn't until 2009 when closure finally came. The O'Neal family sued head coach Gary Pinkel, Athletic Director Mike Alden, medical director Sharp and 11 other trainers and coaches in a wrongful death case, and in May 2009, the University of Missouri reached an undisclosed settlement (at the time) with Aaron's mother, Deborah. The case was brought in response to the way the medical staff handled Aaron's hereditary sickle cell trait, and failing to fully recognize the condition.

The loss is six years old, but the hole he leaves is still fresh in many minds. Aaron was described as being a good friend to all, being an outstanding and gifted athlete and someone who cared more about others than himself.

AO25- Always a Tiger.

08 July 2011

I rank the Big 12

Mizzou, OU, OKST, TAMU top my list
by MizzMatt 7/8/11
I'm a diehard Mizzou fan, there shouldn't be a question about that. I've even had Wes Kemp and Trey Hobson say that I'm possibly the biggest Mizzou fan ever (screenshots at right in case you don't believe me). That being said, for this post I'm putting my bias on hold to give you how I think the Big 12 will play out in 2011.

Dave Ubben over at espn.com, a Big 12 blogger in the Sportsnation section of the website gave the readers his predictions for the Big 12 layout at the end of the 2011 season:
  1. Oklahoma
  2. Texas A&M
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Missouri
  5. Baylor
  6. Texas
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Kansas State
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas
I agree somewhat with these rankings, but given the performance of last season and the players returning this year, I'd have to rank them like this:
  1. Oklahoma State. We didn't play them last season, but Mike Gundy has a lot of returning talent in his roster, including returning Groza Award winner Dan Bailey. I think the Cowboys really could take it all this year.
  2. Missouri. We proved to never count Mizzou out last year with our upset of Oklahoma. If we can do it this year in Norman, we could be Big 12 Champs without any problems. Only thing I could see holding us back is the inexperience of sophomore QB and first year starter James Franklin. Still, watch out for Mizzou being the underrated, under-the-radar darkhorse of the Big 12 in 2011.
  3. Oklahoma. Really any of these top four could be the champs. OU went on to a BCS game last year behind the arm of Landry Jones. The Sooners could run the table in the conference, but the major tests will be against Mizzou as they seek revenge for 2010, Oklahoma State and also look for retribution against Texas A&M.
  4. Texas A&M. The Tigers traveled to College Station last year and routed the Aggies 30-9, but that was with the experience of Blaine Gabbert under center. After that loss, the Aggies won out the regular season, including a 9-6 win over Nebraska and a big 33-19 win over Oklahoma. They did give OSU a run for their money, losing by three 38-35. Again, any of these top four could be the champions in 2011.
  5. Texas. The Longhorns were in a rebuilding season last year, and after one of the most bizarre turnarounds in the NCAA (going from national runners-up to bottom of the South division), they'll show that the Iowa State game was a fluke. If they have another mediocre season as they did with last year's dismal 5-7 performance, Mack Brown could find himself in the hot seat.
  6. Baylor. Didn't really get a chance to see these guys a whole lot last year, but they do have a talented squad. If the top four are interchangeable as champs, these middle three are interchangeable for each other as well.
  7. Texas Tech. Ubben put the Raiders in the same position. Last year against Mizzou, they won the game in the first two possessions with long runs of 69 and 71 yards, respectively. The Tigers' D will try to show that they do know how to stop the run when they meet this year in Columbia.
  8. Iowa State. These two words can make any Longhorn fan be quiet in no time flat. Their 28-21 win last year in Austin was the first in school history against Texas. The Cyclones also took Nebraska down to the wire, but ended up falling short on a failed 2-pt conversion at the end of the game, losing 30-31. Them being shutout by Mizzou was a testament to the Tigers tenacity on D, but they'll probably post a couple touchdowns on the Tigers this season.
  9. Kansas State. Of course I'd have one of the "K" schools ranked toward the bottom. Sonny Coffman got his cage rattled last year against Mizzou in Columbia, but with the Tigers traveling to Manhattan this season, they could pull out an upset on their home turf. I have to give it to the Wildcats again for the Sunflower Showdown, because Kansas is just going to be that bad.
  10. Kansas. This is a no-brainer. Any Mizzou fan would want Kansas at the bottom. Second-year coach Turner Gill is still working the kinks out of his team, and after losing 6-3 against North Dakota State and nearly getting shutout against Mizzou in 2010, I really don't see those kinks getting worked out this season.
There are my picks, and a brief reasoning behind them. The Tigers could theoretically go undefeated this season, but opening conference play in Norman will be tough. If the Tigers can find a way to win there, we have a very good shot at a Big 12 championship. Beating Texas is a must for Mizzou, but the difficult games I can see will be the other three of my top four- OU, TAMU and OKST. I predict no worse than an 8-4 season, but anything from a 9-3 to an 11-1 can't be ruled out.

Watch Out for Mizzou

Six players named to watch lists
by MizzMatt via mutigers.com 7/8/11
Columbia, MO- NCAA preseason doesn't mean much as far as rankings are concerned. Last year, Texas was a preseason favorite and finished 5-7 along with Florida. Oklahoma was considered a contender until Mizzou snatched their hopes of a perfect season. Nobody predicted Auburn and Oregon to go as far as they did. Preseason also allows for the players to watch for on respective lists.

NAGURSKI- Given to the most outstanding defender. Two Tigers have been named to this list so far, linebacker Zavier Gooden and defensive end Brad Madison. While Madison wasn't a full-time starter, he led the squad in tackles for loss (TFL) with 11.0 and sacks with 7.5. Mizzou and Texas are the only Big 12 schools with two players on the Nagurski list. Madison's total numbers were 21 solo, 11 assisted, 32 total tackles, with one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles.

BEDNARIK- Given to the best defender nationally. Zavier Gooden was named to this list earlier this week. Gooden topped the defensive stats last season with 85 total tackles, 50 solo and 35 assisted. He added 3 sacks to his totals and grabbed 2 interceptions, including the key INT against Oklahoma. Gooden also forced one fumble and recovered two others.

MACKEY- Given to the best tight end. Michael Egnew has the chance to join former Mizzou player and previous Mackey winner Chase Coffman. Egnew finished second on the team last season in receiving yards behind T.J. Moe. Michael finished 2010 with 90 catches for 762 yards and 5 TD.

BILETNIKOFF- Given to the best wide receiver. T.J. Moe was named to this list after having a stellar season in 2010, snagging nearly 100 passes for 1,045 yards and 6 TD. Moe also finished with 12 rushes for 81 yards and a TD.

OUTLAND- Given to the best interior offensive lineman nationally. Dan Hoch has been named to this list. Hoch has started 26 consecutive games as right tackle and was named to the 2nd-team All-Big 12 in 2010.

GROZA- Given to the best kicker. Grant Ressel has the opportunity to join Jeff "Money" Wolfert as a recipient of this award after only missing four total kicks- 17-19 on field goals and 45-47 on point after touchdown attempts in 2010.

07 July 2011

Comittments, Watch Lists

Mizzou lands 4-star recruit
by MizzMatt 7/7/11
FOOTBALL- He's not a household name in Missouri, yet, but he very well could be in the near future. Maty Mauk (Kenton, OH), a 4-star caliber quarterback from Ohio has verbally committed to Mizzou. He's currently on pace to break his older brother's high school records, and is listed in the ESPN 150. His announcement came earlier this morning, with Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com reporting the his intent on Twitter (we all know how accurate Twitter is, but multiple sources confirm it's legit).

Mauk's numbers through four years (record in parentheses):
  • 13,519 yards passing (17,634)
  • 151 passing TDs (178)
  • 1,981 rushing yards
  • 35 rushing TD
  • 15,500 yards and 186 TDs total offense
Even an average season and he'll surpass his brother, Ben Mauk.

Mauk also has reportedly made friends with one of the nation's top wide receivers and Missouri native, Dorial Green-Beckham (Hilcrest, MO). So far, Mizzou is low on DGB's interest list, as he is eying Auburn and Oklahoma, but with the capture of Mauk (and with Mauk's befriending him), Mizzou may earn a second look from the 6'6, 230-lb phenom who's landed 4,102 yards and 51 TDs in three years, as well as double-lettering in basketball.

GYMNASTICS- Rebecca Johnson (Waukesha, WI) commits to Mizzou after playing volleyball for her Pewaukee High School team as well as competing in level 10 gymnastics since 2007.


Watch Lists:
Biletnikoff- The award for the best receiver in the country, and the Tigers' T.J. Moe is on the list. Last year's 1,045-yard performance is going to be built upon as this reliable receiver will be on the receiving end of sophomore QB James Franklin.
Bednarik- The award for best defender has LB Zavier Gooden on the watch list, which surprises most experts, but not Mizzou fans. Gooden has been relatively under the radar, but gained attention when he snagged a key interception last year against Oklahoma.
Mackey- The award for best TE in the country, previously won by Mizzou's Chase Coffman, contains current TE Michael Egnew. Egnew was second on the team in receiving last year behind Moe, and finished in the top five of 2010 Mackey voting.

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