Missouri

Back in November, for sale I followed the story about the Missouri football team boycott which ultimately led to the resignation of the university’s President and Chancellor.  The team’s boycott was in response to a student movement, tadalafil including a hunger strike by one student, advice claiming that the school had not done enough to deal with racism on campus.  The story garnered little national attention until the football team united together and threatened to boycott all football activities, including the upcoming game against BYU, unless the President resigned.  I was conflicted about the story then, and I remain so today.

The power this college football team had to instantly grab attention and cause the resignation of two of the university’s highest ranking officials was stunning. Not only did the story dominate the headlines once the football team got involved, but the issue of racism on college campuses was instantly brought to the forefront of the news cycle. The President and Chancellor’s resignations were not in response to a major address by a civil rights leader, political figure, or world scholar.  This was a football team threatening a boycott of a game that some argued had little meaning to the team’s season since Mizzou was not in the hunt for the SEC title. And we have to wonder, would the team have boycotted if the season had been on the line?

It is no secret that Mizzou would have lost $1 million if the football team boycotted the game.  That had to get university officials, the athletic department, boosters, and season ticket holders anxious – to say the least.  So this week a Missouri legislator introduced a bill  in the state legislature that would have caused university athletes to lose their scholarships if they refused to play in a game for any reason other than injury. Let’s think about this:  If the bill passed, it would have been illegal under Missouri law for student athletes to have refused to play in a game for any reason other than an injury.  What could possibly go wrong under a law like that?  There are so many problems I don’t know where to start.

Think the NCAA might want a say in what would constitute a student athlete losing his or her scholarship rather than a state law dictating such terms? Are student athletes now considered university employees?  Somehow I think that NCAA is going to have a problem with that one. And what about the First Amendment?  Yes, no issues there. Thankfully, that bill was withdrawn later this week. But its introduction has done exactly what its sponsors had wanted – created a discussion about how much power is too much power to hand to student athletes.

We know the athletes in this country have a tremendous amount of influence given their endorsement deals, access to mainstream media, and wealth.  But it is not only professional athletes that have this platform.  At a school such as Missouri where the football team is such an integral part of that school’s identity and tradition, when they unite for a cause, there is an instantaneous response.  Their platform is enormous on a college campus – and even nationally.  This Missouri football team clearly identified with and was passionate about their united mission.  The question then becomes, where do we go from here?  Are college sports teams now in a position to threaten to boycott over larger political issues that they feel passionate about?  What if they are all not united?

I don’t have an answer for this, and I suspect most university officials do not either – yet.  The consequences, both financially and structurally, could be devstating for a program if it actually had to forfeit money into the millions of dollars because its team would not take the field.  Entire recruiting strategies would suffer if a program’s instability was evident. Therefore, this is not an easy issue and it will undoubtably develop over the next several months and years.  But one thing is for sure:  Sports are powerful and influential well beyond the actual game.  But then again, we all knew that, right?

 

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Category: NCAA

As the 2013 season winds down seven SEC teams are still stealing the hearts of football fans, tadalafil but only one team remains the undisputed favorite. Alabama still leads the nation at #1 with 1,495 points and a 10-0 record on the season.  So who’s heading to the conference title game with Bama? That my friends, is still up for debate.

The question of who will face ‘Bama on December 7th in Atlanta is exactly why it’s crucial to keep your eyes on the southern guys this weekend. Georgia loss to Auburn last week 43-38, but both South Carolina and Missouri won against last week’s opponents.  This week’s match ups include the last two teams that may potentially stand in Alabama’s way of taking home another SEC trophy this year.

Like any good coach… you’ve got to size up your opponents before you dive in for the plunge. This is the perfect weekend to do that. The Tigers and Gamecocks are on the chopping block but trust me… everyone is buzzing about the Texas A&M vs. LSU game.

#12 Texas A&M at #22 LSU on Saturday at 2:30 pm on CBS

Photo Credit: reddit.com

What you need to know: Texas A&M heads into this game with a one-game-advantage but LSU has seen stiffer competition then the Aggies this season, so the odds of one team demolishing the other are slim to none.

Both LSU and Texas A&M quarterbacks have been performing at their best but the momentum of this game will only be determined by two factors. The equation is simple: LSU defense vs. Texas A&M offense (lead by Johnny Manziel) = Damn Good Football. LSU is ranked No. 4 in the conference for defense. They’ve statistically had the best defense this year, then they’ve had in the past two years. Remember, this is the same defense that held Manziel to 27 yards the last time these two teams met.  And they’re even better now?

Take it from me, I suspect egos will come out to play for this matchup as one of the newest members of the SEC tries to seal the crown on the old schooler’s stomping grounds. The only two losses that the Aggies have picked up have been on the road, making some say that their talent may be tainted away from home when facing heavy hitters like LSU.

What to watch for:  He’s called Johnny Football for a reason;  Manziel leads his team in passing and rushing yards and I’m sure that if he could find a way, he’d lead Texas A&M in receiving years as well. LSU will have to find a strategy that will halt Manziel’s ability to rush the ball, forcing him to pass much more often then he’s had to against any other team.  He has 3,313 total passing yards and has rushed for 611 yards. It sounds humanly impossible I know… but his shinny Heisman Trophy lays in his dorm room as we speak.

Alabama beat Texas A&M, which is a great sign for LSU from the outside looking in but Manziel still managed to rush 464 yards for 5 TD against the best team in the nation… AND Texas A&M only loss by 7 points. LSU on the other hand loss to Alabama 38-17. You pick your side.. I’ll pick mine.  Prediction: Texas A&M 28  LSU 21

Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

#8 Missouri at #24 Ole Miss on Saturday at 6:45 pm on ESPN

What you need to know: Ole Miss is creeping up into everyone’s fave five. You can’t help but to love their underdog rep and ability to innocently kill teams. The Bleacher Report is calling this one an upset for Mizzou.

Photo Credit: college-football-si.com

Missouri’s starting QB, James Franklin’s performance could be the key to the Tigers’ win this week. If he comes off of this recent shoulder injury with a stellar performance, Ole Miss will be packing their bags, but if Franklin struggles to make a successful come back… it’s the Tigers that’ll head to the losers dean and most likely kiss their chances of playing in the conference title game goodbye.

 

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Photo Credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

The number seven has always been a special number. God created the world in seven days, seek there are seven colors in the rainbow, the ancient wonders of the world total seven and there are SEVEN SEC teams in the Top 25 AP Polls this week.

More than a third of the best college football teams in the nation are elite members of the Southeastern Conference leaving no question as to which conference is dominating this season.

Last week a severely injured Georgia team, barely pulled out a win over Tennessee in overtime, which has people patiently waiting to see whether or not they’ll be able to adjust for the Missouri game this week. Missouri stunned the conference when they blew out Vanderbilt away from home in the school’s first conference showdown. Ole Miss fell out of the rankings after falling out of the groove in their matchup against Auburn.

Things are starting to really heat up in week seven of college football… (yes it’s a sign, this is the week of champions for SEC teams.) Two top ranked matchups face off on Saturday and the anticipation for conference play is over. They say the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice… so welcome to the dark side. Strap in though, things may get a little sticky.

Photo Credit: nytimes.com

#17 Florida at #10 LSU, Saturday at 2:30pm on CBS

Why you should care:  This is long standing rivalry dating back to the 1960s. Seniors look to finish off strong for Florida after losing 2 of last 3 meetings with LSU. As of late, the home team doesn’t seem to have an advantage, so it’s a toss up. It’ll be a battle to the end to see who the victor of these two powerhouses will be.

What to watch for: Every body is talking about the LSU Tigers’ defense.  To match with the snarling defense of the Tigers is a superior offense with LSU QB Zach Mettenberger. In five games, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Could he be a Peyton Manning in the making? (You heard it here first…)

Photo Credit: washingtonpost.com

#25 Missouri at #7 Georgia, Saturday at 11:00am on ESPN

Photo Credit: sbnation.com

Why you should care: After moving into the toughest of all conferences just a year ago, Missouri has proven to be quite successful so far this season. They look to continue their streak of perfection and advance to a 6-0 record.  Fall has officially made its stamp and with that comes the smell of an upset. With some key injuries, Georgia hopes to prepare a strategy that will put them in the best position to win this weekend. They lost two wide receivers, two running backs, a safety, and their star quarterback with only five games under their belt this season due to injuries. With all of the injuries, Georgia has still been able to secure a 4-1 record; and after the overtime win against Tennessee, fans are anxious to see if the Bulldogs will be able to stay competitive despite their recent drawbacks.

Photo Credit: pregame.com

What to watch for:  The high-powered (passing and rushing) offense of the Missouri Tigers is not only helping them win games, but in good fashion. They have been blowing teams out, including their 51-28 victory over Vanderbilt last week. The Tigers are second in combined rushing and passing yards in the SEC. Missouri QB, James Franklin, has fully recuperated after a season-tainting injury last year and is a force to be reckoned with now that he is in full swing.

 

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Category: NCAA

Last weekend was a big one for the SEC with exciting play and shocking shutouts. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ole Miss fans are still shedding tears this week after their 25-0 loss to Alabama. And after a high-scoring slug-fest, store Georgia pulled off a 44-41 win at home against LSU . Clearly the LSU and Georgia game stole the show and some are saying that it was one of the best matchups that college football fans will see all year. If you missed last weekend’s fury, viagra don’t freight. This week’s SEC teams to watch will offer a matchup that may not bring the glamour and glitz of last weekend, sildenafil but is sure to bring fans back for more. My picks for the weekend are as follows:

Missouri at Vanderbilt, Saturday at 6:30pm on ESPN3

Photo Credit: dakdillonphotography.com

Why you should care: Neither team is ranked going into to this game on Saturday and the dynamics between the two will really say a lot about the future of both of these team’s success as we get closer and closer to more SEC conference games.

However, this game is unique because last year the Commodores unexpectedly beat the SEC newcomers and BIG 12 football heavyweights, Mizzou Tigers. Missouri looks good on paper right now with a 4-0 start to their season but the Tigers have yet to play a conference game. This matchup will showcase Missouri’s real talent when placed amongst tough competition. Vanderbilt will have to prove that they can hang with the big dogs as they face the SEC fresh meat.

Vanderbilt is heading into this matchup with a 3-2 record, with both losses resulting from an SEC face-off. Bottom line, both teams have a lot to prove to their Southern Eastern Conference counterparts. Whichever team losses this game risks the chance of losing a lot of respect for the rest of the season. Vanderbilt will have to take advantage of Missouri’s slow road to recovery after suffering major losses due to injury last year.

Vanderbilt QB, Austyn- Carta Samuels
Photo Credit: usatoday.com

What to watch for: Both teams matchup statistically pretty well but the key to winning this game is going to be determined by who takes initiative on the field. Vanderbilt’s got a firecracker in senior wide receiver, Jordan Matthews. He’s fast, he’s efficient and I would say that he is arguably one of the best WRs in the conference. With only four games down, Matthews has received for a whopping 586 yards for four TD (touchdowns.)

Be sure to keep you eye on James Franklin.

Missouri QB, James Franklin
Photo Credit: kansascity.sbnation.com

Who is James Franklin you ask? A damn good quarterback I tell you. The irony that comes with this game is that the Commodores’ QB Austyn Carta-Samuels is just as good. These two compliment each other extremely well and are the only two SEC quarterbacks other than Georgia and LSU that have thrown over 1,00 yards. Yes you heard it right. That’s more than Florida’s Jeff Driskel, Alabama’s AJ McCaron AND more than South Carolina’s Connor Shaw. Either the big champs are a little slow getting on the ball or the underdogs are plotting for the kill.

#24 Ole Miss at Auburn, Saturday at 6:00pm on ESPNU

Why you should care:  Similar to the Missouri, Vanderbilt game, these two teams match up nicely on paper. The Rebels and the Tigers will meet Alabama on Saturday with a mirroring 3-1 overall record and a 1-1 conference record. On the surface nothing screams WATCH ME…WATCH ME but at the core this is  a great game to catch.

Photo Credit: usatoday.com

What to watch for: Ole Miss has got a great group of freshies that have got the entire country’s attention. Ole Miss just loss to the number one team in the nation last week after a 3-0 run to start their season, I’d be surprised if they let Auburn slide by them that easily. Auburn didn’t play last week with a bye but may be seeking revenge after last year’s 41-20 loss.

 

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Category: NCAA

North Carolina State fans storm the court after their upset win verses then-No. 1 Duke. Welcome to college basketball season.

We’ve reached the half-way mark of the college basketball season. Yes, sales really. Louisville tops the polls this week after Duke suffered their first loss, advice but second-ranked Indiana is looking to get back in the No. 1 spot with a few statement wins against tough conference competition.

Like football, cure we’ve got some usual suspects that will always be in the conversation for a national title. You can add No. 18 Michigan State to the three mentioned above, as well as No. 4 Kansas, No. 10 Florida and No. 7 Arizona. But unlike football, there are more opportunities to bounce back from losses and the Road to the Final Four is wide open.

Must-see match ups this week:

No. 5 Michigan Wolverines at No. 9 Minnesota Gophers, 6pm CT on ESPN (Thurs.)

Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10). Photo credit: AnnArbor.com

The Wolverines recently suffered their first loss of the season to heated rival Ohio State, pushing them down three spots to number five. Minnesota’s 11-game winning streak halted in Bloomington, Ind. at the hands of the Hoosiers this past weekend. But neither team should be too ashamed of themselves; statistically speaking, the Big Ten is the top conference in the nation. Six teams (including Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State and Indiana) are ranked, and no team in the conference is under .500.

Player to watch: Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. is an explosive and athletic shooting guard who has a basketball pedigree; his father, Tim Hardaway, was an NBA All-Star.

No. 6 Syracuse Orange at No. 1 Louisville Cardinals, 3pm CT  on ESPN (Sat.)

The Orange will be meeting up with the newly top-ranked Cardinals on a full weeks’ rest and minus one of their best players. Senior forward James Southerland was deemed ineligible by the university and will be out indefinitely. For those keeping score at home, this is the second year in a row that this has happened. Last season, the Orange had to sit star Fab Melo twice in a similar situation.

Louisville guard Peyton Siva. Photo credit: Lexington Herald-Leader

Louisville finds themselves atop the AP poll this week thanks to losses by Michigan and Duke. Their defense is spectacular, holding South Florida to a 26.7 shooting percentage and only allowing one player to score in double figures.

Players to watch: Syracuse junior forward C.J. Fair has stepped up big time since Southerland’s benching; he’s had two 20-point games for the Orange. Cardinal center Gorgui Dieng is putting in serious work in the post; he picked up his fourth double-double of the season against South Florida.

Weekly Roundup

Tuesday

Photo credit: IBTimes

Wisconsin Badgers at No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers, 8pm CT on ESPN

The main thing you need to know about this game is that Cody Zeller is one of the two best players in the country. At 7’ tall and just 20 years old, the sophomore averages 16.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game on a team that has just one loss.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Photo credit: AP

Fun fact: Indiana’s head coach Tom Crean has a very big and impressive NFL affiliation.  His brother-in-laws? San Francisco 49er head coach Jim and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Jim even played team manager for Crean for the day last February.

Thursday

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. No. 3 Duke Blue Devils, 8pm CT on ESPN

The Blue Devils recently suffered their first loss of the season to ACC-conference rival North Carolina State this past Saturday, losing their number one ranking in the process.

Player to watch: Get familiar with the name Mason Plumlee because – aside from Indiana’s Zeller – he is the most valuable player in college basketball. The 6’11” senior racked up 15 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocks in the loss to NC State.

Saturday

No. 17 Mizzou Tigers at No. 10 Florida Gators, 1pm on ESPN

Southeastern Conference (SEC) newcomer Mizzou dropped seven spots in the rankings this week after losing to unranked Mississippi by 15 points. Florida has somehow managed to get into the top ten while being riddled with injuries; guards Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin; forwards Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete; and guard-forward Casey Prather are all on the mend.

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Upsets are to be expected each week in college football and quite frankly, order it adds some jazz to the blueprint of each season.  Last Saturday, illness an upset in one of the biggest SEC match ups of the year, look  the Georgia Bulldogs were demolished by South Carolina Gamecocks, proving that anything can happen on game day.

One would think that a game pitting the top 5th and 6th ranked teams would undoubtedly be a nail bitter, right? Wrong. Very Wrong. So wrong that the Gamecocks lead Georgia 21-0 heading into the second half of the game. Georgia squeezed out one touchdown in the last 2 minutes of the game to avoid a complete shut-out and absolute humiliation. Final score: 35-7.  South Carolina walked away with clear bragging rights and as the new team to beat in the SEC.

The LSU Tigers also fell to the Florida Gators in a low scoring game. This is no surprise seeing that both teams have top-notch defenses. Florida now climbs the NCAA ladder landing in fourth place; South Carolina’s win places them at third. LSU now holds the ninth place and Georgia drops to the fourteenth spot.

With a performance like the SEC play from last weekend. Expect the unexpected this Saturday.   Here’s what to watch for:  

Saturday at 2:30pm: #1 Alabama vs. Missouri on CBS

Alabama, Crimson Tide Defense

Why you should care: Any game Alabama plays will bring high intensity and explicit talent.  The Crimson Tide has been at the top of their game since the beginning of the season…since last year. Oh hell, since forever it feels like – but, that doesn’t mean Missouri will fall over and play dead in Columbia this Saturday.

The Tigers have struggled to adjust to the SEC since joining the elite conference this year and it hasn’t helped that some of their top performers have been suffered injures this season including two captains and now starting QB James Franklin. It’s unfortunate that the two teams meet up at this stage in Missouri’s transition. Franklin will sit out this week as he recovers from a sprained MCL.

What to watch for: Missouri redshirt freshmen, Corbin Berkstresser will start for the Tigers at Memorial Stadium against one of the league’s leading defenses. Berkstresser has to step up to the plate.  He did not perform well last week at all. The redshirt only through for 189 yards, which many argue is the leading reason for the Tiger’s third loss of the season.

Missouri Head Coach, Gary Pinkel is stuck in a bit of a pickle. It will be tough for Missouri to run the ball against the Crimson Tide but the Tigers have a stacked defense of their own. Defensively, Missouri and Alabama are a respectable match.

Missouri Leading Defensive Lineman, Sheldon Richardson currently has 20 solo tackles and 3 sacks this season.

In fact, the two teams are almost identical in sacks and yards per play. If Missouri has any chance against this undefeated team, the old saying must old true. Defense will have to win the game.

Saturday at 7:00pm: #3 South Carolina vs. #9 LSU on ESPN

South Carolina’s leading rusher, Marcus Lattimore

Why you should care: Talk about a team with a vision. South Carolina continues to devour every opponent they are up against and with LSU looking to gain momentum back after losing to Florida, the Gamecocks may have another shot at a win. This is the longest winning streak we’ve seen from South Carolina in 20 years. If they started with this much enthusiasm, it’s highly unlikely that they will let up now.

Note:  LSU is no punk. Not only did they make it to the BCS Championship last season, but also they ended with a record of 13-1.

What to watch for:

South Carolina’s star running back Marcus Lattimore leads his team with 549 rushing yards and 6 TD. The closet runner-up on the Tiger’s side of the field is Kenny Hilliard holding 382 rushing yards. The key to LSU’s success will depend on how aggressive QB Zach Mettenberger can be. He has passed for 1,174 yards so far for the Tigers.

Saturday at 11:21am: Ole Miss vs. Auburn on ESPN3

Why you should care:  Both unranked teams are looking to put a W on their charts for the conference. Neither team has had much luck against the Monster squads of the Southeastern Conference thus far. Why watch the game you ask? The intensity and drive to win will be just that good.  Ole Miss heads into the game with a slight advantage; the Rebels have a 3-3 record. Auburn looks to make this Saturday their second win of the season.

Ole Miss Rebels, (3-3) 2012 season

What to watch for:  Auburn doesn’t have any powerhouse players in their corner right now.  Their team averages 56.6% of completed passes, has a total of 652 rushing yards and have received for 860 yards. This is a game of numbers. Statistics say Ole Miss has a minor jump ahead of their component, but don’t display numbers of a leading team by any measure. They have passed for just over 1,300 yards, rushed for 1,278  yards and have received for 1,356. This game may not put up great numbers but the matchup will make for an exciting game.

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