Friday, August 31, 2007

Volleyball Match #4: Missouri 3, Notre Dame 0

Greetings from the Twin Cities...a quick summary of tonight's match: Mizzou learned how to close out tight games and started off the 2007 home season with a sweep of Notre Dame in front of 1,300. Game One saw Mizzou turn a 26-22 lead into a 29-29 tie, then win two points (and the game) on kills by backups Amanda Hantouli and Lindsay Smith (their only kills of the match). Game two was back-and-forth all the way to 20-20 before Mizzou distanced itself with a 5-1 run, then cruise to a 30-25 win. Na Yang had six kills down the stretch. Mizzou seized Game Three early, going up 12-4 and coasting, 30-23.

A quick look at the box score

  • Na Yang was insane, knocking down 22 kills in 42 attempts, with only ONE error, a kill % of .500.
  • Julianna Klein had another double-double--quite impressive in a 3-game sweep--with 13 kills (.306 kill %) and 11 digs.
  • Tatum Ailes had 20 digs...a pretty sickening number for a 3-game sweep.
  • The two teams combined for only 15 total blocks, which suggests there was some free swinging going on. Mizzou's .276 kill % was impressive considering Notre Dame's a decent team.
  • Amanda Hantouli struggled again, with 1 kill and 2 errors in only 8 attempts (-.125 kill %). Luckily, her one kill set up a game point in Game One.
  • The freshmen had mixed results today. Catie Wilson had 3 kills in 7 attempts (.429). Weiwen Wang had 8 kills, but only a .156 kill %. Caitlyn Vann had only 6 digs and 1 assist.
Mizzou's other Tiger Invitational match comes Sunday afternoon against Florida International. And I realize that didn't end up being much of a 'quick summary'...

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Mizzou-Illinois Preview

It is time. Thank God. I am ready for just about anything this year—from a conference title to another crushingly disappointing season. It’s all up for grabs, and I’m just ready to see what happens.

For each game this year, I’ll use the following 11 criteria to evaluate matchups:

MU QB vs Opp Defense (as a whole)
MU RB vs Opp LB
MU WR/TE vs Opp DB
MU OL vs Opp DL
Opp QB vs MU Defense (as a whole)
Opp RB vs MU LB
Opp WR/TE vs MU DB
Opp OL vs MU DL
MU Special Teams vs Opp Special Teams
MU Coaching vs Opp Coaching
Karma

I like this more than just comparing O-line to O-line, RB to RB, etc., because well...one team's O-line will never go up against the other team's O-line.

So with that, let’s jump in, shall we?

MU QB vs Illinois Defense

Illinois has some good things going on here, and they frustrated Troy Smith last year, but...yeah, I don’t see Mizzou losing this matchup too much this season. Edge: Mizzou.

MU RB vs Illinois LB

Man oh man, could a healthy, nasty Tony Temple make a difference this year. Temple showed flashes in the first 11 games last year, but he kept dropping the damn ball at inopportune times. His overall fumbles weren’t terribly numerous, but he made ‘em count. However, after fumbling in the first quarter of the Iowa State game (when another score for Mizzou could have pretty much ended the game immediately), something clicked. Temple just DESTROYED Kansas and Oregon State to end the season, setting a Sun Bowl rushing record (before losing six yards on his final carry, that is).

Meanwhile, the LB corps is Illinois’ most proven strength. J Leman, Antonio Steele, and Brit Miller will anchor the defense, and Illinois’ only chance in this game comes from these LB’s (and the DL) slowing Temple down and making Mizzou one-dimensional. Just to challenge Mr. Tony, I’ll say Edge: Illinois.

MU WR/TE vs Illinois DB

I can’t name a single Illinois defensive back, but even if I could, it just wouldn’t matter. Edge: Mizzou.

MU OL vs Illinois DL

You’ve probably read about how much of a freak freshman DE Martez Wilson is...but how often do true freshman defenders do amazing things in their first collegiate game? Even Justin Smith emerged slowly in 1998. Wilson or no Wilson, the Illini have a solid, experienced front line...an unsung strength. Just like Mizzou’s O-line. Edge: Push.

Illinois QB vs MU Defense

‘Upside’ is the easiest thing in the world to overestimate. You see NBA GM’s do it every single year in the draft, and you see college football prognosticators do it almost as much. Juice Williams has “upside.” He “had a great game against _____.” He’s got “such a strong arm.” All true. And he completed 39.5% of his passes, had a 9-9 TD-INT ratio, and was dominated by Northwestern, Iowa, etc. Sure, he’s got upside, and he likely has more weapons to work with this year than he did in his freshman season. But still. Until he verifies the upside, he is only what he’s been. Edge: Mizzou.

Illinois RB vs MU LB

Aside from Tony Temple, the troika of Sean Weatherspoon, Brock Christopher, and Van Alexander could make the biggest difference between Mizzou being a good-but-shaky team and being a great one. We’ve all read how Pinkel thinks Christopher can be a superstar. We’ve all read the raving reports about how hard Weatherspoon hits. We’ve all read how Van Alexander has all the ‘tools’ to be great if he could just stay healthy. But only Christopher has proven anything so far. The other two are in the same ‘upside’ category as Juice Williams. Meanwhile, Rashard Mendenhall is pretty highly-touted himself, and he gets the chance to be the star this year. Both sides have lots of potential so far, but...untill Weatherspoon and Alexander actually deliver, Edge: Illinois.

Illinois WR/TE vs MU DB

It’s hard to make a judgment here since we don’t really know what we’re going to get from the Mizzou secondary. If everyone’s healthy, the tandem of Darnell Terrell, Hardy Ricks, William Moore, and Pig Brown are more than talented and physical enough to take control over a talented-but-super-young Illini WR corps. But Terrell’s only been practicing full-speed for about a week...Ricks less than that. Never mind their injuries...wil their stamina be where it needs to be? Hard to tell. But the banged-up secondary is still more proven than the Illini WR/TE’s, who have tons of potential--none more than Arrelious Benn--but, like Juice Williams and like Mizzou's LB, haven't actually delivered yet. I think I've made it clear where I stand on that. Edge: Mizzou.

Illinois OL vs MU DL

This might actually be a game where Mizzou’s lack of strong pass rushers could benefit them. Juice Williams makes his best plays when he’s flushed out of the pocket by a pass rush and starts improvising. Well...if you can’t get to the QB, you can’t flush him out of the pocket, right? Ri...right?

Anyway, the Illinois O-line is not exactly a dominant force. They return three-fifths of last year’s starters, which isn’t bad...only last year’s starters gave up about 250 sacks. While the OT’s-vs-DE’s matchup could be a push, I think Mizzou has the advantage on the interior. That might not make a huge difference, as I would figure Mendenhall and Williams will both run outside more often than not, but...Edge: Mizzou.

MU Special Teams vs Illinois Special Teams

Mizzou’s special teams unit was bipolar last year. Kicking was better than it’s ever been. Punting was decent. Punt returns (once Tommy Saunders took over) were quite solid. Kickoff returns were horrid. Kick and punt coverage was mediocre at best But pretty much every special teams contributor is back this season, and a few more athletes—the Jeremy Maclins of the world—are in the mix now. I expect special teams for Mizzou to be relatively solid this year (though kicking off from the 30 can’t help what was a shaky kickoff coverage team last year). As for Illinois...they were more or less bad across the board last year. Edge: Mizzou.

MU Coaching vs Illinois Coaching

Opinions vary as to just how good Pinkel and Staff are on gameday...that’s the nice way to put it. But the overall opinion, I think, is still higher than that of Ron Zook. For his strengths (and he does have some), Zook just really hasn’t proven himself on gameday, and Pinkel has at least once or twice, right? Zook has ‘upside’, we’ll say (really, who doesn't at this point?), but all we know for sure is, he’s only definitively proven himself to be a more high-profile John Blake. A recruiter, a player’s coach, a motivator...and not yet a good head coach. Edge: Mizzou.

Karma

When Mizzou played Illinois in 2002 and 2003, the underdog overachieved both times. In ’02, Mizzou used the element of surprise (i.e. Brad Smith) to hold the defending Big Ten champs at bay and cruise to a relatively easy win. In 2003, the underdog Illini fought and scratched and kept the game close before falling, 22-15. This is common in a rivalry game. No matter how things look on paper, things will be more even than you think they’ll be. I see the same thing happening here. Zook is not a masterful coach, but he appears to be a good motivator, and UI will be fired up. Zook’s also a good recruiter, and he's got a lot of raw talent to work with here. He’ll have the element of surprise in his favor as guys like Benn take the field for the first time. In other words, Edge: Illinois.

Summary

Mizzou has the edge, 7-3-1.

There is absolutely no doubt that Mizzou could lose this game. We could come up with all sorts of scenarios that lead to a Mizzou loss—turnovers, trick plays, bad bounces, coaching brainfarts, Arrelious Benn being better than anybody ever thought, etc.—but the bottom line is, Mizzou shouldn’t lose this game. Too many advantages, and too much to play for. This is a rivalry game—it will become more and more of one when these two teams are playing every season—and we’ve all seen too many MU/KU games (basketball in particular) in which the team that looks better on paper looks lost on the field (or court). Anything can happen. That’s football. But the odds are still that ‘anything’ won’t. Mizzou wins, 30-17.

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Mizzou Links, 8-31-07

Can you feel it?? I'm off to Minnesota soon (sigh), so everybody cheer the Tigers on...hopefully Mizzou TCB's early, but we'll see...

In other football news...
  • One game into the season, and Mizzou Sanity's 'unanimous' predictions are 0-for-1. Ouch. As Clone Chronicles puts it, building a program takes time (Mizzou fans should know), but still...ouch. Bret Meyer might not be starting much of his senior season.
And in other Mizzou news...

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stats Stats Stats: 2006 (RB's)

Yesterday, it was QB’s. Tonight, we take on running backs.

For RB’s, I will look at three criteria:

1. Success Rate (% of plays in which they touched the ball—rushing or receiving—that resulted in a success, as defined in yesterday’s QB post). This measures effectivness and efficiency.

2. Average % of Success (comparing what they gained on each play as a percentage of what was defined as successful for the given play...a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-4 would be 150% success. I cap the success at 1000% for any given play). This measures playmaking and explosiveness.

3. Total number of successful plays. This simply measures consistency throughout the course of a season.
By looking at these three things together, one can get an idea of who the better/best RB’s in the conference were in Big 12 play. And again, all of the following data is from only Big 12 games, and only from circumstances in which the score of the game is within 17 points. To register on the list, you have to have touched the ball at least 10 times in these circumstances.

There were 35 Big 12 RB’s who fit these criteria. Combining their ranking in each of the three criteria above, I came up with one all-encompassing ranking. Players in bold are returnees for 2007.

1. Jon Cornish, Kansas (75 successful plays, 47.5% success rate, avg% of success = 178%).
2. Michael Goodson, Texas A&M (53 / 54.6% / 171%)
3. Jorvorskie Lane, Texas A&M (63 / 56.8% / 143%)
4. Ryan Kock, Iowa State (31 / 59.6% / 169%)
5. Jamaal Charles, Texas (51 / 56.0% / 140%)
6. Shannon Woods, Texas Tech (52 / 48.2% / 159%)
7. Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma State (44 / 46.81% / 161%)
8. Leon Patton, Kansas State (44 / 46.8% / 161%)
9. Brandon Jackson, Nebraska (72 / 44.4% / 134%)
10. Cody Glenn, Nebraska (25 / 56.8% / 165%)
11. Keith Toston, Oklahoma State (29 / 59.2% / 148%)
12. Allen Patrick, Oklahoma (67 / 47.9% / 120%)
13. Chris Alexander, Texas A&M (15 / 83.3% / 256%)
14. Tony Temple, Missouri (39 / 44.8% / 155%)
15. Marlon Lucky, Nebraska (30 / 44.1% / 161%)
16. Paul Mosley, Baylor (31 / 44.3% / 143%)
17. Hugh Charles, Colorado (37 / 47.4% / 129%)
18. Selvin Young, Texas (40 / 44.4% / 125%)
19. Chris Brown, Oklahoma (27 / 46.6% / 145%)
20. Jason Scales, Iowa State (22 / 52.4% / 106%)
21. Jacob Gutierrez, Oklahoma (14 / 43.8% / 142%)
22. Mike Hamilton, Oklahoma State (15 / 38.5% / 134%)
23. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (17 / 39.5% / 125%)
24. Mell Holliday, Colorado (18 / 33.3% / 134%)
25. James Johnson, Kansas State (24 / 32.4% / 113%)
26. Earl Goldsmith, Missouri (9 / 42.9% / 119%)
27. Stevie Hicks, Iowa State (11 / 37.9% / 121%)
28. Byron Ellis, Colorado (9 / 42.9% / 106%)
29. Brandon Whitaker, Baylor (10 / 38.5% / 84%)
30. Brandon McAnderson, Kansas (6 / 28.6% / 145%)
31. Courtney Lewis, Texas A&M (9 / 32.1% / 88%)
32. Thomas Clayton, Kansas State (8 / 35.3% / 75%)
33. Josh Johnson, Iowa State (4 / 28.6% / 90%)
34. Kenny Wilson, Nebraska (5 / 33.3% / 53%)
35. Jimmy Jackson, Missouri (2 / 14.3% / 51%)

Here are the Top 5 in each category.

Successful Plays
1. Jon Cornish (75)
2. Brandon Jackson (72)
3. Allen Patrick (67)
4. Jorvorskie Lane (63)
5. Michael Goodson (53)

Success Rate
1. Chris Alexander (83.3%) – fullback
2. Ryan Kock (59.6%) – part-time fullback
3. Keith Toston (59.2%)
4. Cody Glenn (56.8%)
5. Jorvorskie Lane (56.8%)

Average % of success
1. Chris Alexander (256%)
2. Jon Cornish (178%)
3. Michael Goodson (171%)
4. Ryan Kock (169%)
5. Cody Glenn (165%)

So what does this tell us?
  • Jimmy Jackson really didn’t have a very good year in 2006.

  • Speed is good, but having a big back (Alexander, Kock, Glenn, Lane) can still pay off in the effectiveness category. Need 4 yards on 1st-and-10? Need 3 yards on 2nd-and-4? A big back’s your guy. Not that Mizzou would know anything about that. Sorry...I kid, I kid...

  • Teams really geared up on Adrian Peterson. That, and he got hurt in the second Big 12 game, so his sample size is only from the Texas and Iowa State games.

  • Jon Cornish really did make a case for being the best RB in the conference. Sometimes teams just run the same guy a million times, and that’s how he leads the conference in rushing. Cornish was consistent and effective, and he had some explosiveness as well.

  • A&M’s running attack was (and will be in ’07) really effective. Between these numbers and the fact that Stephen McGee was the most effective 4th quarter QB in the conference, you can definitely see how their gameplan took shape.

  • Just like the competition between Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing for KU QB has been kind of baffling, just as baffling is the ‘battle’ between Leon Patton and James Johnson for KSU RB. For a big back, Johnson seemed less effective in short yardage (just ask Tommy Chavis, who stoned him on 4th-and-1 in Columbia), and while he had some long runs, Patton had more.

  • Suddenly Dave Matter putting Michael Goodson at the top of his RB ratings for 2007 makes a lot more sense.
Next up: WR's and TE's

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Mizzou Roundtable: Big 12 Predictions

In just a matter of hours, Iowa State will kick off both the Gene Chizik era and the Big 12 football season. About damn time. But I pooled the thoughts and (ahem) talents of various Mizzou Sanity posters—The Beef, Michael Atchison, Doug, and ZouDave—to pull together the official Mizzou Sanity 2007 Predictions. Doug was busy at work, so he served as the tie-breaker only.

I’m calling this a roundtable, but...well, on this one I’m the only one talking.

The way it should be, if you ask me.

Anyway, here's a week-by-week rundown of the predictions. Two things to keep in mind: 1) when 4-5 people are voting, chances are there will be no major upset predictions (especially since everybody was making their picks independent of feedback from the others), and 2) all four Mizzou fans started to pick an 11-1 season, thought better of it, and picked a random loss. One picked CU, one picked KSU, and two picked ATM. Since that made Doug the tiebreaker on the ATM game, he picked ATM to win. Naturally. Anyway...

Weekend of September 1

Unanimous
Iowa State > Kent State (August 30)
Kansas > Central Michigan
Missouri > Illinois
Nebraska > Nevada
Oklahoma > North Texas
Texas > Arkansas State
Texas A&M > Montana State
Texas Tech > SMU (September 2)
Auburn > Kansas State
TCU > Baylor

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Colorado > Colorado State
Georgia > Oklahoma State

--

Weekend of September 8

Unanimous
Arizona State > Colorado
Iowa State > Northern Iowa
Kansas > SE Louisiana
Kansas State > San Jose State
Missouri > Ole Miss
Baylor > Rice
Oklahoma > Miami-FL
Oklahoma State > Florida Atlantic
Texas > TCU
Texas A&M > Fresno State
Texas Tech > UTEP

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Nebraska > Wake Forest

--

Weekend of September 15

Unanimous
Florida State > Colorado
Iowa > Iowa State
Kansas > Toledo
Kansas State > SMS
Missouri > Western Michigan
USC > Nebraska
Baylor > Texas State
Oklahoma > Utah State
Oklahoma State > Troy
Texas > Central Florida
Texas A&M > UL-Monroe
Texas Tech > Rice

--

Weekend of September 22

Unanimous
Oklahoma State > Texas Tech
Colorado > Miami-OH
Kansas > Florida International
Missouri > Illinois State
Nebraska > Ball State
Baylor > Buffalo
Oklahoma > Tulsa
Texas > Rice

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Toledo > Iowa State
Texas A&M > Miami-FL

--

Weekend of September 29

Unanimous
Oklahoma > Colorado
Nebraska > Iowa State
Texas > Kansas State
Texas A&M > Baylor
Oklahoma State > Sam Houston
Texas Tech > Northwestern State
--

Weekend of October 6

Unanimous
Texas Tech > Iowa State
Kansas State > Kansas
Missouri > Nebraska
Texas A&M > Oklahoma State

The Beaker was the tiebreaker
Baylor > Colorado
Texas > Oklahoma

North
Missouri 1-0 (5-0)
Nebraska 1-1 (4-2)
Kansas State 1-1 (3-2)
Kansas 0-1 (4-1)
Colorado 0-2 (2-4)
Iowa State 0-2 (2-4)

South
Texas 2-0 (6-0)
Texas A&M 2-0 (6-0)
Oklahoma 1-1 (5-1)
Texas Tech 1-1 (5-1)
Baylor 1-1 (4-2)
Oklahoma State 1-1 (4-2)


--

Weekend of October 13

Unanimous
Kansas State > Colorado
Texas > Iowa State
Kansas > Baylor
Oklahoma > Missouri
Nebraska > Oklahoma State

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Texas A&M > Texas Tech

North
Nebraska 2-1 (5-2)
Kansas State 2-1 (4-2)
Missouri 1-1 (5-1)
Kansas 1-1 (5-1)
Colorado 0-3 (2-5)
Iowa State 0-3 (2-5)

South
Texas 3-0 (7-0)
Texas A&M 3-0 (7-0)
Oklahoma 2-1 (6-1)
Texas Tech 1-2 (5-2)
Baylor 1-2 (4-3)
Oklahoma State 1-2 (4-3)


--

Weekend of October 20

Unanimous
Colorado > Kansas
Oklahoma > Iowa State
Oklahoma State > Kansas State
Missouri > Texas Tech
Texas > Baylor

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Nebraska > Texas A&M

North
Nebraska 3-1 (6-2)
Missouri 2-1 (6-1)
Kansas State 2-2 (4-3)
Kansas 1-2 (5-2)
Colorado 1-3 (3-5)
Iowa State 0-4 (2-6)

South
Texas 4-0 (8-0)
Texas A&M 3-1 (7-1)
Oklahoma 3-1 (7-1)
Oklahoma State 2-2 (5-3)
Texas Tech 1-3 (5-3)
Baylor 1-3 (4-4)

--

Weekend of October 27

Unanimous
Texas Tech > Colorado
Missouri > Iowa State
Texas A&M > Kansas
Kansas State > Baylor
Texas > Nebraska

North
Missouri 3-1 (7-1)
Nebraska 3-2 (6-3)
Kansas State 3-2 (5-3)
Kansas 1-3 (5-3)
Colorado 1-4 (3-6)
Iowa State 0-5 (2-7)

South
Texas 5-0 (9-0)
Texas A&M 4-1 (8-1)
Oklahoma 3-1 (7-1)
Oklahoma State 2-2 (5-3)
Texas Tech 2-3 (6-3)
Baylor 1-4 (4-5)

--

Weekend of November 3

Unanimous
Nebraska > Kansas
Texas Tech > Baylor
Oklahoma > Texas A&M

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Missouri > Colorado
Texas > Oklahoma State

The Beaker was the tiebreaker
Iowa State > Kansas State

North
Missouri 4-1 (8-1)
Nebraska 4-2 (7-3)
Kansas State 3-3 (5-4)
Kansas 1-4 (5-4)
Colorado 1-5 (3-7)
Iowa State 1-5 (3-7)

South
Texas 6-0 (10-0)
Oklahoma 4-1 (8-1)
Texas A&M 4-2 (8-2)
Texas Tech 3-3 (7-3)
Oklahoma State 2-3 (5-4)
Baylor 1-5 (4-6)

--

Weekend of November 10

Unanimous
Oklahoma State > Kansas
Nebraska > Kansas State
Oklahoma > Baylor
Texas > Texas Tech

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Colorado > Iowa State

The Beaker was the tiebreaker
Texas A&M > Missouri

North
Nebraska 5-2 (8-3)
Missouri 4-2 (8-2)
Kansas State 3-4 (5-5)
Colorado 2-5 (4-7)
Kansas 1-5 (5-5)
Iowa State 1-6 (3-8)

South
Texas 7-0 (11-0)
Oklahoma 5-1 (9-1)
Texas A&M 5-2 (9-2)
Oklahoma State 3-3 (6-4)
Texas Tech 3-4 (7-4)
Baylor 1-6 (4-7)

--

Weekend of November 17

Unanimous
Oklahoma State > Baylor
Oklahoma > Texas Tech

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Kansas > Iowa State
Missouri > Kansas State

North
Missouri 5-2 (9-2)
Nebraska 5-2 (8-3)
Kansas State 3-5 (5-6)
Colorado 2-5 (4-7)
Kansas 2-5 (6-5)
Iowa State 1-7 (3-9)

South
Texas 7-0 (11-0)
Oklahoma 6-1 (10-1)
Texas A&M 5-2 (9-2)
Oklahoma State 4-3 (7-4)
Texas Tech 3-5 (7-5)
Baylor 1-7 (4-8)

--

Weekend of November 24

Unanimous
Nebraska > Colorado
Missouri > Kansas
Oklahoma > Oklahoma State

3 out of 4 Mizzou fans agree
Texas A&M > Texas
Kansas State > Fresno State

North
Missouri 6-2 (10-2)
Nebraska 6-2 (9-3)
Kansas State 3-5 (6-6)
Kansas 2-6 (6-6)
Colorado 2-6 (4-8)
Iowa State 1-7 (3-9)

South
Texas 7-1 (11-1)
Oklahoma 7-1 (11-1)
Texas A&M 6-2 (10-2)
Oklahoma State 4-4 (7-5)
Texas Tech 3-5 (7-5)
Baylor 1-7 (4-8)

--

Weekend of December 1

Unanimous
Texas > Missouri

--

BOWL GAMES

(We didn't actually make predictions on these...just thought I'd see what the possible matchups would be...I had some fun with this.)

BCS National Championship: Texas vs USC (I doubt there will be two undefeated teams, and I'd say the only candidate more likely to make the title game at 12-1 would be LSU...and I don't think a Les Miles team is capable of losing only one game.)

Fiesta: Oklahoma vs Hawaii!
Cotton: Missouri vs Tennessee
Gator: Texas A&M vs Florida State
Holiday: Nebraska vs Oregon
Insight: Oklahoma State vs Purdue
Independence: Texas Tech vs Alabama
Texas: Kansas State vs Memphis

Kansas gets left out at 6-6 again. If Doug had picked Mizzou over ATM, I might have found a place for them.

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Mizzou Links, 8-30-07

  • I was a day early in my 'why blogs are great' sentiment. Yesterday produced the best reason yet: "Cut to the Chase." I love that Pinkel agreed to this, I love that it's going to be a weekly thing, and...yeah, I love blogs.
  • Today's player profiles: the Trib talks to Darnell Terrell, the Missourian profiles asst Cornell Ford and a couple of his prized recruits, PowerMizzou also takes on some "St. Louis sons", and the KC Star takes on Juice Williams and...Kirk Farmer?
  • In basketball recruiting (basketball? what's that?), Inside Mizzou has a Laurence Bowers update. Spoiler Alert: he likes Mizzou. Meanwhile, back to football, Tyler Wilson's still down to just two teams (Spoiler Alert: one of them's Mizzou), but he still isn't deciding...
  • Clone Chronicles takes a look at the ISU depth chart for tonight's game against Kent State.
  • Corn Nation does the same for Saturday's NU/Nevada game.
  • Looks like KU will be playing as many freshmen as Mizzou this year. Followers of Mizzou recruiting will recognize two of the names on the list...former Mizzou targets Carmon Boyd-Anderson and Dezmon Briscoe.
  • Buffs.tv previews CU/CSU.
  • Via Bring On the Cats, here's a quick (and relatively optimistic) look at the KSU season. It doesn't make much mention of the turmoil and strangeness presenting itself over the last few weeks, but...I'm not sure that makes a difference with this team. Ron Prince did a lot of things that annoyed the crap out of me last season and made me think KSU was going to stink for quite a while...then I looked up at the end of the season and they were 7-5. So whaddo I know...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stats Stats Stats: 2006 (QB’s)

So I’ve finally finished entering play-by-play information from 2006...just in time for 2007 to begin. But that’s not going to stop me from looking into numbers to see what I find.

All of the following data is from only Big 12 games, and only from circumstances in which the score of the game is within less than 17 points. What’s the point of gauging what a player or team does when the game’s not in question? Instead of elaborating further, let’s just get started...

First, we’ll look at QB’s. As you’ll see a few posts from now, I will look at “Team Defense” in the same way as I do QB’s. I could do a “Team Offense” number as well, but a) that would be repetitive, and b) the QB is so important that a team’s offense is more greatly affected by his presence (or absense) than any other player’s. In other words, if I’m looking at individual QB’s, I’m not seeing the need to also look at Team Offense.

QB Success Rate

The good people at Football Outsiders (authors of the lovely Football Prospectus books) define a ‘successful play’ or ‘quality play’ by the following criteria:

40% of the total needed on 1st down (i.e. if it’s 1st-and-10, 4 yards = success)
70% of the total needed on 2nd down (if it’s 2nd-and-10, 7 yards = success)
100% of the total needed on 3rd or 4th down
QB Success Rate will look at simply the % of plays that were ‘successful’ for each QB, no matter whether the play was a run or pass. This is an attempt to look at the overall efficiency with which a given QB runs his offense. I’m including runs because the effectiveness and efficiency of the running game is directly affected by the effectiveness and efficiency of the QB and his passing game.

Here are the QB Success Rates for 2006 Big 12 Play (for those with at least 10 plays):

1. Colt McCoy, Texas (49.12%, 399 plays)
2. Kerry Meier, Kansas (46.93%, 228 plays)
3. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State (46.58%, 73 plays)
4. Bobby Reid, Oklahoma State (46.46%, 396 plays)
5. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (46.21%, 448 plays)
6. Stephen McGee, Texas A&M (46.01%, 589 plays)
7. Chase Daniel, Mizzou (45.74%, 470 plays)
8. Paul Thompson, Oklahoma (45.20%, 542 plays)
9. Todd Reesing, Kansas (42.86%, 42 plays)
10. Jevan Snead, Texas (42.42%, 66 plays)
11. Bret Meyer, Iowa State (40.68%, 381 plays)
12. Zac Taylor, Nebraska (40.41%, 584 plays)
13. Shawn Bell, Baylor (39.93%, 268 plays)
14. Bernard Jackson, Colorado (38.18%, 385 plays)
15. Josh Freeman, Kansas State (37.93%, 406 plays)
16. Blake Szymanski, Baylor (34.58%, 107 plays)
17. Adam Barmann, Kansas (31.03%, 174 plays)
18. Dylan Meier, Kansas State (28.57%, 42 plays)

What a strange list. I mean...STRANGE. A few comments...

• Notice anything interesting about the top of the list? Kerry Meier? Really? Now...a majority of Kansas’ “successful” plays last year were due to Jon Cornish, but...Cornish was the RB when Todd Reesing and Adam Barmann were behind center too, and that didn’t stop their success rates from sucking. I realize Meier was injury-prone and had some very untimely turnovers last year, but...a) he was only a redshirt freshman, and b) he still moved the ball better than the other two. I just can’t see how naming Todd Reesing the starter is anything but counter-productive for the future of Kansas football. I’m not sure Kerry Meier’s anything but a slightly-glorified Kirk Farmer, but he’s still a better option than Reesing, I would think.

• Adam Barmann’s horrid numbers make his explosion against Nebraska that much stranger. Gonna have to go with the "Blind Squirrel and Nut" theory there.

• Yes, that’s Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Zac Taylor finishing behind Todd Reesing, Jevan Snead, and Bret Meyer. Taylor was good for 1-2 bombs to Purify or others a game (and they obviously still won games), but as a consistent game manager, it appears that Taylor was a bit lacking.

• I think it’s pretty easy to see why Baylor’s QB job was up for grabs once again this offseason.

• I think it’s pretty easy to see why a redshirt freshman (Coach’s Son Hawkins) might be a better option for Colorado.

QB Success Rate by Quarter

Same as above, broken out by quarter. At least 10 plays needed once again. I’ll just do Top 8 by quarter

First Quarter
1. Paul Thompson (56.41%)
2. Jevan Snead (50.00%...on just 12 plays, all against K-State)
3. Chase Daniel (49.07%)
4. Colt McCoy (48.03%)
5. Graham Harell (46.45%)
6. Zac Taylor (45.22%)
7. Bernard Jackson (42.34%)
8. Blake Szymanski (40.91%)

Second Quarter
1. Graham Harrell (60.19%)
2. Kerry Meier (57.65%)
3. Stephen McGee (53.25%)
4. Colt McCoy (52.46%)
5. Bobby Reid (50.00%)
6. Bret Meyer (41.59%)
7. Chase Daniel (41.07%)
8. Zac Taylor (41.06%)

Third Quarter
1. Chase Daniel (52.53%)
2. Colt McCoy (52.22%)
3. Shawn Bell (52.00%)
4. Todd Reesing (50.00%...on just 16 plays)
5. Paul Thompson (48.12%)
6. Bret Meyer (46.46%)
7. Zac Robinson (45.83%)
8. Bobby Reid (43.33%)

Fourth Quarter (I’m listing all of them here, with total plays)
1. Bobby Reid (55.21%, 96 plays)
2. Stephen McGee (50.31%, 159 plays)
3. Zac Robinson (48.39%, 31 plays)
4. Jevan Snead (47.37%, 19 plays, all against K-State)
5. Kerry Meier (45.45%, 22 plays)
6. Todd Reesing (42.11%, 19 plays)
7. Josh Freeman (41.12%, 107 plays)
8. Adam Barmann (40.35%, 57 plays)
9. Colt McCoy (40.00%, 60 plays)
10. Paul Thompson (39.42%, 104 plays)
11. Chase Daniel (38.78%, 98 plays)
12. Zac Taylor (37.31%, 134 plays)
13. Shawn Bell (37.04%, 54 plays)
14. Bernard Jackson (36.67%, 60 plays)
15. Graham Harrell (35.29%, 85 plays)
16. Bret Meyer (34.43%, 61 plays)

Poor Blake Szymanski only had 5 snaps in the 4th quarter when games were within 17 points. This despite playing over half the Big 12 season. Ouch.

Oh, and just so you can compare...

Overall Success Rates by Quarter
First Quarter: 43.33%
Second Quarter: 43.24%
Third Quarter: 43.10%
Fourth Quarter: 41.84%

Now...I’m not totally sure what this says—and I realize we’re dealing with a lot of small sample sizes here—but I’m fascinated.

Comparing their success rate to what’s expected, here are the major QB’s and their rates by quarter...

• Chase Daniel: Q1 = 1.13 (his rate divided by Big 12 rate), Q2 = 0.95, Q3 = 1.22, Q4 = 0.93. Fantastic in the first and third quarters and below average in the second and fourth. Among many other things, this does highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Mizzou’s offensive coaching, something of which we’ve already had our suspicions. They were great in the first quarter, when plays were scripted, and in the third quarter when they were able to make adjustments at halftime. But once the scripts have expired, the play-calling gets a little shakier.

• Meanwhile, Stephen McGee (Q1 = 0.87, Q2 = 1.23, Q3 = 0.91, Q4 = 1.20) was the exact opposite. I thought that might say something about how more physical offensive attacks (like ATM’s) wear opponents down as the half progresses, but Graham Harrell’s strange line (Q1 = 1.07, Q2 = 1.39, Q3 = 0.93, Q4 = 0.84) might prove me wrong. Or does it prove me right? Harrell’s second halves were significantly worse than his first halves. I’m all for the spread offense, but it does show, I guess, that to win with the spread, you better put quite a few points up early because the defense probably won’t wear down against you.

• Paul Thompson’s line (Q1 = 1.30, Q2 = 0.81, Q3 = 1.12, Q4 = 0.94) shows that OU tended to assert itself early, then rely on its defense to pull through. Looking back at certain games (Missouri, Nebraska in the Big 12 title game), that sounds about right.

• For some reason, while McGee thrived in the fourth quarter, the QB’s for the other top teams in the conference (Taylor, McCoy, Thompson) were all below average in the fourth quarter. Part of that is sample size (the QB’s of crappy teams didn’t take nearly as many fourth quarter snaps in close games, so a few good plays could significantly affect their totals), but only part of it. Can’t really explain that.

Here’s the last thing I’m going to look at today...

QB Success Rate in Red Zone

Same as above, only limited by plays taking place inside the opponent’s 25 yard line. I use the 25 instead of the 20 because a) in OT, you get the ball at the 25, and since every play in OT is vita, I’m thinking your odds off scoring had better be just as good from the 22 as it is from the 18.

Conference-wide average was 43.84%.

1. Kerry Meier (60.98%, 41 plays)
2. Bobby Reid (58.06%, 62 plays)
3. Todd Reesing (54.55%, 11 plays)
4. Paul Thompson (53.85%, 91 plays)
5. Bret Meyer (47.22%, 72 plays)
6. Stephen McGee (45.38%, 130 plays)
7. Zac Taylor (44.44%, 90 plays)
8. Zac Robinson (42.86%, 21 plays)
9. Colt McCoy (42.39%, 92 plays)
10. Shawn Bell (41.94%, 62 plays)
11. Chase Daniel (41.24%, 97 plays)
12. Graham Harrell (40.58%, 69 plays)
13. Josh Freeman (32.76%, 58 plays)
14. Adam Barmann (31.03%, 29 plays)
15. Bernard Jackson (23.73%, 59 plays)

A couple interesting things about this...

• First, it does show that the spread offense isn’t amazingly effective in the red zone—Daniel, Harrell, and Bell/Szymanski were all relatively unimpressive.

• However, it doesn’t show that a particular style of offense works better than another. McGee and his ‘cloud of dust’ offense, fared only marginally better than the spread QB’s. KU was great in the red zone (at least with Meier and Reesing at the helm...not so much Barmann), which makes sense because of Jon Cornish. However, why was Cornish effective when other big RB’s (Lane/Goodson at ATM, Brandon Jackson at NU) were just slightly above average? Or in the case of ISU's hoss Ryan Kock, quite below average? (That one can be explained by the fact that Kock only played well against Mizzou...ahem).

Alright, that’s enough for today. I’m going to go position-by-position over the next week or two, pointing out interesting things I find. It stinks that I couldn’t have finished entering the data earlier in the offseason, but...oh well. Better late than never.

Tomorrow: RB’s.

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Mighty Missouri

That's headline on the front page of BaseballAmerica.com today, with an article about the Top 30 prospects in the Cape Cod League, lead by Tigers Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson in the Top 3.

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Mizzou Links, 8-29-07

I'm back from the east coast and ready to do some hardcore linking!

  • The season starts about 81 hours from now, baby. Go to mutigers.com to find out what Lorenzo Williams and Gary Pinkel are saying.
  • Ticket sales looking to end up around 60K for the Illinois game. Not great, not terrible.
  • So I guess Colin Brown has overtaken Dain Wise at RT.
  • Dave Matter's got a nice feature on Jeremy Maclin, while the Missourian takes on Hardy Ricks. Mike Dearmond looks at the starting DEs--man oh man, could we be good if Stryker Sulak steps up this year.
  • Gabe Dearmond reminisces about Braggin' Rights past, while PM's Jeff Johnson previews the Illinois offense.
  • Another reason why blogs are great: Dave Matter goes 'inside the numbers' on Illinois. Graham Watson doesn't dive into the numbers, but she does go in-depth as well.
  • Well, here's a little extra motivation for Tony Temple: he was left off the Doak Walker Award Watch List, while Shannon Woods and Marlon Lucky were not.
  • Lots of Big 12 teams have comfortable QB situations...and a few don't. I'll be posting some numbers tonight to show just how big a mistake Mark Mangino might be making with his decision.
  • On the recruiting front, here's the latest on Texas CB Kip Edwards (PowerMizzou) and Houston ATH Michael Thomas.
  • MU Soccer also opens the season this weekend against Illinois. Bryan Blitz says “I think we’re super talented, we just need to be more consistent." Seems to be the case more often than not with this team. We'll see what happens.
  • Here's a look at former Tiger WR Brad Ekwerekwu and his attempt to make the Chiefs roster.
  • Finally, Corn Nation wants you to vote for Lil' Red for the Mascot Hall of Fame. I'll make you a deal, Lil' Red: if you come back over to the Tigers' Lair student section on October 6, I'll vote for you. When was it, '99 when he got a little too close to the Lair and almost got ripped to shreds? Gotta say, that was one of the funniest things I've ever seen...rumor has it, the dude was yelling inside the suit...I imagine he was making making a sudden reevaluation of his life and priorities with the thought of dying inside an inflatable rubber suit...pretty sure The Beef didn't think that incident was as funny as I did.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mizzou Links 8-28-07

Going to be a short set today....The Boy should return tomorrow....

  • Coach Pinkel is still mulling over the options he has in terms of redshirting true freshman, specifically Derrick Washington at RB. If you ask me, Pinkel looks like a mulller...........anyway, read about it from Dave Matter here:
  • While you are there, check out Dave Media Day notes here:
  • Meanwhile, Mike Dearmond over at the KC Star talks about the defense here:
  • And back in STL, Graham Watson talks about the defense as well and the need to increase stamina here:
  • From the Missourian, a little bit more on the soccer team and their lack of senior...well...anything....here:
  • And finally, Gabe with a smattering of notes in case Dave Matter missed anything...read about it at Powermizzou here:

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Greetings from Baltimore...

...one of the greatest cities in the world...as long as you don't stray more than 2 blocks from the harbor. So far I've had crab cakes...crab soup...crab wraps...mmm...

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this text message I just got from a friend of mine from OK:

"That OU fan that grabbed the ball sack is a church deacon."

Somehow that just seemed fitting.

UPDATE, 2:15pm - Yup. But apparently it was in self-defense. Uh huh.

UPDATE, 4:23pm - So I have an official "a friend of a friend of a friend told me" story...apparently the buddy who texted me earlier knows a guy whose wife works at the Henry Hudson's in question...and said that the scrotumless Texas fan in question was being quite the jackass to everybody in the bar--not quite the total innocent he portrayed himself to be--and was in the face of the OU fan when he was de-sacked. Now, nobody probably deserves, as Atch put it, "walking out a steer", but I guess the 'self defense' thing might have at least a smidge of truth to it.

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Monday Musings

So, I suppose in my own effort to keep up with The Boy and Atch...I figured I would try to start a weekly thing for myself, if for no other reason to compell me to write more here. I will try to use it each Monday to go over my thoughts on the week that was in ALL Mizzou Sports (sort of like my all-sports report from back in the day). And of course...next week's will be on Tuesday since I don't work on the holidays :-)

It is game week for Mizzou Football, and the excitement is slowly building. Truth be told, summer is my least favorite season. Not a big fan of the heat, and not a big fan of only one sport (baseball). We have covered the pre-season and the hype, so no need to go back over that. And I am not big into prediction pieces, so I will just say from what I have read, the offense of Illinois does not scare me all that much, and I believe our defense will show better in this game than people think. Not that I am EVER a betting man on anything Mizzou, but the 5 to 5.5 points here seems VERY inviting, as I think we win by 17+ points.

Volleyball got off to a decent start this past weekend down in Oxford, MS at the Magnolia Classic. TWO five-set matches in about 18 hours had to be tough, but the ladies showed some gumption in the second of the two to pull out the win. Weiwen Wang had a great debut, but the ladies will need better production from Amandan Hantoulli and likely better team digging production (Tatum Ailes not withstanding) to improve on last year's effort. Home tourney this weekend.

Finally for today, the soccer team. Not worth repeating what life of nine Bryan Blitz is on, but as they typically do, the ladies have looked good to start the season. SLU was an NCAA team last year, and to play them in STL and tie them is a nice, however uncounted finish. The team has zero seniors....ZERO. I guess that likely buys the coach another year if this year does not turn out positive, but we shall see...they open with Illinois. Remember last year Mizzou tore through their non-con....will see how it goes this year.

Short report for this Monday...have a great week everyone.

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Mizzou Links 8-27-07

The Boy is in Baltimore for a few days...so I get to use this space to say happy 3 month anniversary to my wife ;-)

  • Mizzou soccer completes its preseason schedule (albeit two days late) with a 1-1 road tie at St. Louis University. After crushing Indiana 5-0 in the first preseaon contest, Mizzou needed a late goal to get the tie. Read all about it from MUTigers.com here:
  • More stuff from MUTigers.com....and especially for The Boy...but a schedule change to the upcoming home volleyball tournament is posted here:
  • Sanity friend Dave Matter with a nice piece here about Coach Pinkel and his, shall we say, ever evolving red-shirt plan
  • Also from Dave...did you know there was such a thing as a seven year ditch?
  • From the KC Star....I dont even know what to say about these glasses on Lo Williams
  • A couple of nice pieces from Graham Watson and the STL P-D in their Sunday edition yesterday...one on Pinkel...um...feeling it and the other on the offensive line. The entire section can be viewed in pieces here: (and get it while you can since it seems the P-D is going to be cutting back a bit on coverage)

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Volleyball Match #3: Missouri 3, Arkansas State 0

Well, my morbid curiosity is a bit disappointed that I don't get to find out what happens when Mizzou plays 15 games in 24 hours, but after a tight first game (32-30), Missouri's depth won out, taking the last two games, 30-20 and 30-13.

After helping to carry Mizzou against Jacksonville State, it appears Weiwen Wang didn't do much (only 6 kills on 12 attempts), but Julianna Klein was once again on her game (12 kills, .297 %, 6 digs), and Na Yang finished off a great day with 18 kills (.289). Megan Wilson, who hadn't done much of anything offensively in the first two matches, kicked butt with 10 kills on 17 attempts (.529), while freshman Catie Wilson got quite a bit of playing time and responded with 4 kills and 5 blocks. Amanda Hantouli struggled once again, with 0 kills and 1 error on only 3 attempts (-.333).

Mizzou's next match is Friday night, the home opener against Notre Dame. Sounds like it'll be fun...but I'll be at a wedding in Minnesota, missing both that and the MU-Illinois game. Bitches man.

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Volleyball Match #2: Mizzou 3, Jacksonville State 2

Well, Mizzou's figured out one way to get as much experience as possible out of their non-conference slate: play nothing but 5-setters. Now they just have to figure out how to close games out. Mizzou made this one impressively tense, turning a 9-5 lead into an 12-11 deficit to a decent Jacksonville State team in the 5th game before rallying to win the last four points. It was your run-of-the-mill 30-16, 28-30, 27-30, 30-23, 15-12 win. In two matches, Mizzou has lost 5 games by a combined 11 games (10 would be the minimum), but they pulled this one out.

It's hard to imagine Mizzou losing too many matches when Weiwen Wang and Na Yang combine for 39 kills and only 6 errors (Weiwen added 7 blocks, while Na had 4 of her own), but Jacksonville State was great at the saves, keeping points alive and out-digging Mizzou 83-72. Julianna Klein now has 117 kill attempts in about the last 21 hours; she finished with a double-double--16 kills, 13 digs.

The other notable thing about this match is that, likely out of pure necessity, the Kreklows played 12 different girls. I'm sure you'll see the same thing in their next match, which is against Arkansas State in, like, an hour or something. Arkansas State took a dead-legged Ole Miss to 5 games this morning before falling.

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Condolences to OU...

...and, of course, the family of OU commit Herman Mitchell, who was stupidly shot dead after a
stupid argument with a stupid former friend. Ugh.

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Volleyball Match #1: Ole Miss 3, Missouri 2

Well...the 2007 season began exactly how the 2006 season ended--with Mizzou losing on the road in dramatic fashion. Ole Miss took out Mizzou 30-28, 27-30, 34-32, 13-30, 16-14. Mizzou actually outscored the Rebels (total points: MU 134, UM 120), outhit them (kill %: MU .176, UM .152), outpassed them (assists: MU 66, UM 65), and out...uh, dug them (digs: MU 95, UM 91) but Ole Miss was clutch, winning games 1, 3, and 5 by a mere 2 points each. Imagine a baseball team losing 3-2 after stranding 17 runners, and you'll probably get an idea of how this one feels for Mizzou. It's not a terrible loss by any means--Ole Miss made the tourney last year--but it always stings to come that close and lose. And after that exhausting affair, Mizzou has to play twice today to finish up the Magnolia Classic--playing Jacksonville State at 1:30 and Arkansas State at 4:30.

A quick look at the unofficial box score shows...

-- Sophomore Julianna Klein's legs are probably sore today. She had 73 kill attempts, finishing with a kill % of .233 (anything over .200 is decent, over .300 is great).

-- Senior Na Yang struggled, with 12 kills and a poor 10 errors (.041). Sophomore middle blocked Amanda Hantouli also struggled, with 11 kills on only a .148 percentage...middle blockers should be closer to .300.

-- The two 'do a little of everything' tigers--sophomore Megan Wilson and freshman Weiwen Wang--did relatively well. Wilson was decent with 9 kills (.179), 4 assists, 3 digs, and 2 blocks. Wang had a strong first collegiate match, with 11 kills (.286), 6 blocks, 4 digs, and a service ace.

-- The freshman did well. Wang was solid, and defensive specialist Caitlynn Vann stepped in well (24 digs, no dig errors) next to Tatum Ailes in the back row.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Walks in a Longhorn, walks out a steer

Who hasn't this happened to? You walk into a bar on a rival's turf wearing your school colors. One of the patrons taunts you about your collegiate affiliation. After a while, you decide that it's not worth it, and you get up to leave. And then that other fella rips your scrotum off.

Just another day in the Big 12 South.

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Mizzou Links, 8-24-07

A quick one today, for two reasons: 1) I'm running a bit late, and 2) I'm running a bit late because I spent way too much time trying to find an Illinois blogger for some news. Hate it when that happens.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

It finally surfaces...

Best video ever...

...starring a Mizzou wide receiver, out of position, in a residence hall.

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Mizzou Links, 8-23-07

  • I'll admit it: I didn't see this coming. Gettis? Yes. Lambert? Yes. Moye? Maybe. Gachkar?? Not a clue in the world. Mutigers.com covers the news too. With his speed, it's not altogether surprising that he'd be fantastic on kickoff coverage, but still...surprised me a bit. I never really gave him a chance...just figured he would need to put on about 15 pounds before having a chance. Pinkel's attitude toward redshirts definitely took a 180 beginning in 2005, and I'm not totally sure what to think. Guess it's okay as long as we recruit somebody just as good to replace them in 2011, and it really might be a sign that the program is in better shape--they don't have to hoard every resource as long as humanly possible. We'll see. Pinkel will decide on the other borderline players after today's scrimmage. Not surprisingly, Dave Matter has some pretty solid analysis.
  • Got any questions for Lorenzo Williams?
  • Today's feature stories: Dave Matter takes on giant and former walk-on Colin Brown, while the Missourian takes on Tommy Chavis. “Winning is No. 1 and if we are winning the sacks will come eventually." Maybe, Tommy, but if the sacks come, the winning might be easier. Meanwhile, Mike Dearmond goes after "The Chosen One," Mr. Temple. Can't decide...is he going for 'stoic' or 'regal' in that picture?
  • Inside Mizzou talks to Mizzou commit Steve Moore about...well, Mizzou commit Marcus Denmon. Meanwhile, Steve Walentik interviews Denmon.
  • Mutigers.com has a nice preview of this weekend's volleyball season-opening Magnolia Classic.
  • Also: "NCAA Taking Academic Reform Seriously."
  • And finally, GOOD FREAKING LORD. I...wow. Pretty sure my Pirates didn't score 39 runs in June. By the way, Orioles...don't think I'm not noticing what you're doing. You will not steal the Pirates' claim to "Most Hopeless Franchise," so stop trying. Next thing you know, they'll be passing up a Ryan-Howard-for-Kris-Benson trade or something...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Big 12 Round Table

Alright, this has made its way to Sanity...guess that means we’re official Big 12 Bloggers now, huh? (Any other Sanity posters who want to contribute in comments, feel free. I’ll get the ball rolling...)

Pick a team (other than the one you blog about) from the north and south divisions and explain why they may be the best team in the division.

There’s always room for a surprise, I guess, but considering the current state of Iowa State, Colorado, Kansas, and Kansas State, you have to consider the North a two-team race this year. And being that my team is Mizzou, I guess that means I have to pick Nebraska. Why? Look at the other four teams.

As for the South...OSU and ATM could both be darkhorses, but their road schedules will prevent them from contending...as will Texas Tech’s front seven. That leaves, of course, UT and OU. I go back and forth on them, so let’s look at things this way:

QB: UT
RB: OU (though this one’s a tossup)
WR/TE: OU (simply because they’re healthy...otherwise, tossup)
OL: OU
DL: UT
LB: UT
DB: OU
Special Teams: OU
Coaching: OU

That’s a 6-3 advantage for OU. So naturally I’m picking UT. I trust my own predictive abilities that much.

If the Big 12 Conference had a Heisman trophy candidate who would it be and why?

I guess Colt McCoy. Chase Daniel will put up bigger numbers, and there’s at least some chance that Mizzou has a really really good year, but Texas is more likely to be at the top of the polls in December, and that obviously means a lot.

If you had to place a $100.00 bet on a current Big 12 head coach being fired at the end of the season who would you pick and why?

Guy Morriss’ house is for sale already. No contest.

The one non-conference game, not involving your school, you would pay money to see would be?

My sense of morbid curiosity makes me think KSU-Auburn might be a good one to watch, simply because I’m an MU fan and enjoy watching KSU get pummeled. But from a sheer entertainment standpoint, OU-Miami will be a lot of fun, as will ATM-Miami. Plus there would be the draw of watching a game (OSU-UGa) Between the Hedges...but I’ll go with OU-Miami, simply because I grew up in Oklahoma in the ‘80s, and this reminds me of those games.

Which of the four Big 12 schools currently ranked in the AP Top 25 doesn't belong there?

Technically Nebraska did lose the “Offensive Player of the Year” and have a rough schedule, so they’re probably the least deserving, but that doesn’t mean they’re not actually deserving. Besides, I want them ranked as high as possible come October 6—it’ll be that much more fun beating them that way. All four of them deserve to be there, though due to ATM’s brutal schedule, I’ll be impressed if they’re there at the end of the season.

Make a case for one of the 8 Big 12 schools not ranked as to why they should be.

Well, the obvious choice is Mizzou, and they almost are, but I’m a homer, so I’ll avoid that argument. I’ll say OSU. Their defense will be at least marginally improved, and their offense is the most explosive in the conference. They can go three-and-out for four straight possessions, then rip off three straight 70-yard TD’s. They should be a lot of fun to watch this year. Too bad (for them) they’re not in the North Division.

Prediction Time:
Tell us the offensive and defensive players who are going to make the biggest impact on the conference this season.


Offense

Biggest numbers: Chase Daniel or Graham Harrell
Best pro prospect: Adarius Bowman
Best newcomer: Demarco Murray or (gag) Sam Keller
Could make difference between good season and great: Jamaal Charles, Marlon Lucky, Tony Temple, Michael Goodson
Most overrated: Martellus Bennett. Sorry. I'm not letting this one go just yet.

Defense

Biggest numbers: Alvin Bowen (tackles), Ian Campbell (sacks)
Best pro prospect: Frank Okam
Best newcomer: just because I love his name, Tang Bacheyie
Could make difference between good season and great: Bo Ruud (he was fantastic in about 3-4 games last year, disappeared entirely in others), Stryker Sulak, Chris Collins
Most overrated: Until he brings it every game, Bo Ruud.

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Mizzou Sanity, 8-22-07

  • So it's hard for me to think any higher of Dave Matter now that he's pointed me to a fun stat nerd website, CFBstats.com. I expect to have some fun with this one before the season starts.
  • Practice reports! Here's Dave Matter, telling us about Jeremy Maclin's emergence. Here's Graham Watson, telling us about the injured RB's...a hint that Derrick Washington might be on the field in 2007. Here's Gabe Dearmond, telling us that Washington took some snaps with the first team.
  • Speaking of true freshmen, the Missourian has a profile of Gilbert Moye, who's apparently moving up the ranks in the safety rotation. Not sure what I feel about him playing this year.
  • It's Like Father Unlike Son time! Woohoo! God bless family bickering...
  • So apparently Marshall Brown was playing with a pelvic fracture toward the end of last season?? Ouch. Meanwhile, here's the Trib's article about Marcus Denmon and Zaire Taylor.
  • Well, it was only an exhibition, but a 5-0 win for Mizzou soccer over Indiana is better than a 5-0 loss, right? For the record, Indiana went 9-7-4 last year. I'll wait to get my hopes up, but this is nice.
  • And finally...Nolan Richardson shouts "Rapido!" My sense of morbid curiosity had a lot of fun watching that crazy old man rooting for Mizzou last year, so in return I will now root for Mexico...to finish 2nd, anyway.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Positive Pub on Denmon

While out and about earlier today, I caught the beginning of Soren Petro’s show on WHB in Kansas City. For those who don’t know him, Petro is the best thing going in sports talk – smart, opinionated, exceptionally well-informed, and steadfastly opposed to engaging in fake controversy. On a day when there’s much to talk about – the Chiefs’ quarterback battle, the Royals’ blowing a lead last night, Michael Vick’s guilty plea, the renewed possibility that the Nashville Predators might relocate to KC – do you know what he led with?

Marcus Denmon – the best basketball player in the city – has committed to Missouri.

His words, not mine. That’s awfully high praise, especially considering that Travis Releford, a Kansas commitment and an elite national recruit, is in the same class in the same town, and Michael Dixon, a prime point guard prospect from Lee’s Summit, is just a year behind.

Petro indicated that Releford will be a fine complementary player as a collegian, but he predicted stardom for Denmon because of his blinding quicks and his ability to dominate a game with the ball in his hands. Petro says that Mizzou is getting a physical ballplayer, who despite less-than-imposing size, can get into the lane and finish. Petro said Denmon is perfectly suited for Mike Anderson’s relentless style of play.

Petro also labeled this as something of a statement moment for the Missouri program, because it’s proof that Anderson is fulfilling his stated goal of locking down the state’s best talent. Now, I think that overstates the case a bit – it looks like the Tigers will be shut out in St. Louis this year, where there are two or three elite-level prospects, and MU also targeted Releford – but it’s still a cogent point. Denmon and Steve Moore – two homegrown talents – have a shot at being cornerstones of Anderson’s first big recruiting class at Missouri, and most indications are that Mizzou sits in good shape with Dixon and St. Louis big man Tyler Griffey, two highly regarded prospects in the class of 2009. To get where he wants to be, Anderson needs for the state’s best talent to grow up thinking of Missouri as a destination location.

It’s a long way from last week’s doom and gloom, huh?

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Good Luck to Clemson

From ESPN.COM

Clemson ties season tickets to donation levels
Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. -- The holders of nearly two in every five Clemson season tickets will have to increase their donations before the 2008 football season or lose their seats.

Clemson and its booster group, IPTAY, outlined a "Seat Equity Plan" they say is necessary to fund scholarships and to reward "those who've been a little more generous," said Bill D'Andrea, the school's senior associate athletic director for external affairs.

The plan means people who have bought about 37.1 percent of current season tickets would have to up their IPTAY donation levels to keep their spots, according to an athletic department study.

D'Andrea said the change would increase revenue by as much as $3 million. But "our objective has never been to raise money," he said.

D'Andrea acknowledged that may be a hard sell with some longtime donors who feel "they've been loyal, sitting here in the rain and in the snow when we were two-and-nine."


So yeah....Mizzou did this when they moved from the Hearnes to Mizzou Arena...and it went over....well...about as well as the last paragraph indicates they believe it will in Clemson.

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Pinkel’s Problem

Mizzou Sanity’s been in existence for a hair over six months now (First post: February 19), and we’ve begun the process of networking. I’ve found some pretty strong blogs—a lot of them belonging to SB Nation...enough to where I’ve dipped my toe into the water to see about joining SB Nation ourselves—and have begun linking to some. Now, it’s not good to possibly burn a bridge before it’s even built, but...I can’t resist...it’s time for some trash talk.

Define irony: a Nebraska fan making fun of Georgia fans for foolishly thinking their school is a national power.

ZING.

Also...from that same post...this one's not quite as witty:

Sam “Jesus” Keller is not a Heisman candidate. He just isn’t.

Alright, all other trash talk will wait until the season has started. I’m scarred enough by previous sporting failures to know that the Sports God hates me, and I’d like to avoid any excess wrath. That, and I'm no dummy...I realize that Nebraska owns historical trash talking rights. And beyond that, I suck at trash talk. I’ll leave that to others.

Anyway, the Corn Nation post above, and a similar one at Barking Carnival (which, by the way, is a very humorous site when they’re making fun of teams you dislike...just check out this K-State writeup...hilarious AND equally racist across all racial and ethnic boundaries) point to a hardened perception among fans of other schools (and a ton of Mizzou fans to boot) that Gary Pinkel is not a good coach...in particular, he’s a decent recruiter and a horrendous gameday coach. From Barking Carnival:

Gary Pinkel (37-35 in Columbia) has a reputation as a bit of a bonehead and a poor game manager, but that’s what they said about Lee Corso at Indiana and he’s on television now. So don’t listen to the critics. I think he and Bill Callahan may cancel each other out here. Let’s just hope he’s not outwitted by that slick fox Mangino. Similarly, he should remove any snacks secreted in his jacket pockets before the post-game handshake as Mangino will pin him down, sniff them out with his moist, probing nose, and feast on them, wrapper and all, while contentedly cooing and rendering soft belly pats.
A different Corn Nation post also predicts that Pinkel is somehow the most likely coach in the conference to get fired.

I can point out all the different ways that this overriding perception is unfair—and trust me, I almost spent 1,000 words doing exactly that—but there’s really no point at this stage in the game. The bottom line is, despite the fact that Mizzou has improved in five of six seasons under Pinkel, the one season they didn’t (2004) has defined Gary Pinkel’s tenure to this point. And it will continue to do so until Mizzou overachieves in the same way they underachieved that year. Simply exceeding handicapped expectations isn’t enough.

If you haven’t noticed, Mizzou’s exceeded expectations each of the last two seasons (and really, in four of the last five). The 2005 Tigers were picked by most to crash and burn and quietly finish off the Pinkel Regime. They lost to New Mexico and Kansas in beyond-aggravating fashion, but thanks to some Chase Daniel magic against Iowa State and some Brad Smith magic against South Carolina, they finished 7-5. At the beginning of the season, 7-5 would have been a welcome bounceback to 2004. At the end of 2005, 7-5 seemed disappointing.

In 2006, Mizzou was picked preseason #5 in the North. They were supposed to struggle to make a bowl game while turning the page on the Brad Smith era. As I’ve pointed out, the Sporting News picked them to lose to Ole Miss at home. Well, they went 8-5, exceeding preseason expectations...and it felt a bit disappointing. In other words, Gary Pinkel’s teams are experts at exceeding expectations in the most disappointing way possible, even going back to 2002 (predicted to suck, but Brad Smith emerged...and went 5-7) or 2003 (8-5 was quite a lovely step forward, but it still came with super-annoying losses at Colorado and Kansas). Mizzou flashes more potential than others thought they had, then pulls a Lucy Van Pelt (or, I guess, a Tony Romo) with the football.

Pinkel needs to win and win big in 2007. Not necessarily because he’ll get fired otherwise (it would probably take a 5-7 season for that to happen, possibly 6-6) and not necessarily because Nebraska is about to distance itself from the rest of the North. I’ll believe that when I see it (how are the four Heismans for Harrison Beck and Marlon Lucky coming along?). No, he needs to win big because, as I’ve mentioned before, we’re one or two steps away from the dreaded Glen Mason Territory, where a coach at a mid-level school establishes his program enough to go 7-5 every year but never turns a corner. To me, 7-5 this year is the worst-case scenario because he won’t get fired, but he’ll have missed another opportunity to turn a corner and prove himself to future recruits.

That, and he needs to win because this year’s team is the most talented Missouri team in 25 years. Chase Daniel > Brad Smith and Corby Jones. Tony Temple > any Mizzou RB since Devin West. Will Franklin, Danario Alexander, Jared Perry, Jeremy Maclin, etc. > any Mizzou WR corps I’ve ever seen. All-world TE Chamartin Ruffman > Kellen Winslow (combined, not individually...and yes, Barking Carnival, Coffman and Rucker are as good as people say...in fact, the ‘lazy media’ is why Martellus “Rivals 5-star” Bennett is being rated above either or both of them in most publications despite all on-field evidence to the contrary).

Yes, the defense will be the team’s Achilles heel. That’s obvious. But the defense just has to be competent, and a defense with Darnell Terrell, Brock Christopher, Lorenzo Williams, Ziggy Hood, and William Moore on it has no excuse not to be at least that. Great? Not with the question marks at DE. Competent? Yes.

For the last three years, I’ve constantly defended Gary Pinkel from attack...mostly from Mizzou fans. Which is funny, because I still have no idea if he’s a great coach or just a pretty decent one. As I’ve said before, he’s extremely classy, and he does everything the exact way I want a coach of my school to do...other than win big. Now it’s time for him to check that one off the list as well.

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Mizzou Links, 8-21-07

  • Here's Mike Dearmond's story about Marcus Denmon's commitment. Seriously, we've now got commits from a skinny, 6'1 PG and a skinny, 6'2 SG...playing fast doesn't even cover what Anderson's trying to do here.
  • MU soccer starts its exhibition season tonight by hosting Indiana. Bryan Blitz begins his 108th season as MU soccer coach...they're picked 8th in the Big 12.
  • Meanwhile, MU gymnastics welcomes a stud transfer...former Columbia native--and now former Ute--Sarah Shire.

And since there really was no MU football news yesterday, here's a look at the Big 12 South..

  • Here are some stats from OU's rainy Saturday scrimmage. Yeah, if it weren't confirmed before, it pretty much has to be confirmed now that Sam Bradford is the starting QB. When one guy completes 70% of his passes with 4 TD's and the other two guys combine for a 33% completion rate with 1 TD and 1 INT? Yeah, game over. In all, the offense torched the defense in this one...wonder if OU fans are fretting about their defense? Probably not.
  • So Limas Sweed sprained his wrist, Jordan Shipley has a gimpy hamstring, and now Billy Pittman has a sprained shoulder. Lucky for UT, there's not an Ohio State hanging around the beginning of the schedule this season...they can take their time getting these guys healty.
  • Fox Sports and CFN's Pete Fiutak has an Oklahoma State preview up. There's no question that they'll be much improved over last year, but...a road schedule of Georgia, Troy, ATM, Nebraska, Baylor, and Oklahoma? I think they're going to be pretty hot stuff this year, and I have them going 8-4. Ouch.
  • MySA.com says ATM's not satisfied with just beating Texas this year. They want more. Well...good luck. With the only road schedule tougher than OSU's--Miami (FL), Texas Tech, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska--they'll do well to go 8-4 as well.
  • Double T Nation takes a look at Tech's secondary. They've got some experience and play-making ability, and they're going to need it...their front seven isn't going to be too hot.
  • And finally...poor Baylor. Rumor has it Guy Morriss has sold his house in Waco. Best to get a jump on that, I guess.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Marcus Denmon commits, Zaire Taylor arrives

Here's a little pick-me-up after the disappointment of losing Scott Suggs. Marcus Denmon, a lightning-quick 6'2" scoring machine from Kansas City, has committed to Missouri's basketball team. Scout and Rivals both have stories. Denmon joins Miguel Paul (who is similar in size and style) and Steve Moore as early Tiger commitments for the class of 2008. Getting Paul and Denmon in the same class confirms what we already know about Mike Anderson: He wants to play fast. With three scholarships left to give, look for Mizzou's staff to target one bigger wing player and two more interior athletes. I suspect that one (and perhaps two) of those remaining three scholarships will be filled with junior college prospects.

And history's worst-kept secret was revealed when Zaire Taylor, a 6'4" guard who spent two seasons at the University of Delaware, enrolled at Mizzou this week. Taylor will practice with the Tigers this season, and will have two years of eligibility remaining, starting with the 2008-09 campaign. Reported to be a stellar defender, he'll give Missouri an experienced backcourt presence after Stefhon Hannah and Jason Horton play their final seasons this coming winter.

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Mizzou Baseball alumni

Brock Bond of the Salem-Keizer volcanoes is featured in a write-up by a local sportswriter obsessed with his last name.

I received an e-mail from John Shinn, an agent who used to hang around Taylor Stadium a lot. He wants us to know that
- Travis Wendte was a South Atlantic League All-Star this year and he was promoted to Hi A Brevard County and is doing extremely well.
- Cody Ehlers has turned it around and is has been doing well for AA Trenton Thunder.
- Brad Flanders is now the catching and pitching coach at Texarkana JC in Texas.

And finally, at Jacksonville.com, Mark Alexander reflects on numerous road trips to play the Carolina Mudcats: "It beats Huntsville, where you're in the middle of nowhere," he said. "Plus, last year, we held our fantasy football draft at a bar in Raleigh and had a lot of fun with it. And with three big colleges around there, you can always find stuff to do, but hopefully nothing that gets you in too much trouble."

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Mizzou Links, 8-20-07

I'm running late on the Links now because I had to watch that Indy Bowl highlight video from top to bottom again...I take complete credit for that comeback, by the way. I was recording the game, and I turned it off about two plays before Marcus King's interception. That was obviously the catalyst.

  • Another new O-line commitment over the weekend. The Beef made a great point on the phone this weekend...with as many high schools that incorporate the spread offense now (especially in Texas), there's really no need for us to ever recruit another O-lineman who isn't fully versed on the spread's intricacies. I haven't paid attention, but I'm sure folks on the message boards are whining "Ohhhh, he's not a big-time recruit!" or whatever, but...well...tough. Meanwhile, Jeff Ermann catches up with Cahokia's finest...new TE commit London Davis.
  • Graham Watson summarizes the offense's massacre of the defense on Saturday's scrimmage. I'd like to point out that this was mostly done against the #2 defense, not the #1, and while that shows that our depth isn't very good...well...that's not as much of a problem as not having a decent #1, right? Honestly, with two weeks to go before the season starts, I'm still a bit worried about our pass rush, which was my #1 concern all along. Sounds like the run defense might get a boost from formations where Ziggy Hood occasionally works from the DE slot, and it also sounds like Sean Weatherspoon and a healthy Van Alexander will make the losses of Marcus Bacon and Deke Harrington pretty palatable. If Darnell Terrell can get back to full speed by September 1, then I'd say the #1 defense is in pretty solid shape. All the defense has to be this year is competent. That's what I keep telling myself.
  • Gabe has a nice Week Two Recap for your reading enjoyment. We bag on Gabe for always being wrong in his recruiting predictions (well, it seems that way anyway), but there's no doubting that he goes all-out on coverage.
  • LOTS of practice coverage in Sunday's Trib. Joe Walljasper has his own Week Two Recap, and then he catches up with Mr. T Rucker, while Dave Matter talks about Tony Temple's damn-impressive recovery from the bruised knee that scared the bejeezus out of everybody a couple weeks ago. Meanwhile, if Danario Alexander is the best #4 receiving option in the conference, and Jared Perry is maybe the best #5, I guess Jeremy Maclin might be the best #6? Sweet merciful crap, do we have some weapons...
  • The Missourian takes a look at Derrick Washington and his chances of avoiding a redshirt in 2007. Actually, so does Mike Dearmond. Mike also takes note of Chase Patton's impressive play.
  • Things aren't too hot in Manhattan at the moment...to say the least. Zero completions? Really?
  • Iowa State is looking into a new uniform design for 2008, and you can vote on your favorite helmet right now. I've gotta say...I'm not sure why, but I LOVE all three of those choices. Guess I'm a fan of white helmets or something...who knew? I'd say I-State is my #1 choice, ISU my #2.
  • Via Rock Chalk Talk, it appears that, as expected, Todd Reesing is your KU starting QB. Ouch. Who knows...maybe he's improved significantly in the offseason, but...I think that says more about Kerry Meier than it does about Todd Reesing.
  • Meanwhile, also as expected, Coach's Son Hawkins is officially the Colorado starter.
  • Finally, in Lincoln it looks like Zackary Bowman has begun practicing again. I don't expect much from him after 19 knee injuries, but I guess it helps with depth in a pretty thin secondary.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Because Dave won't post this himself . . .

Best highlight video ever.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Anybody out there...

...know of a good Colorado or Oklahoma State blog? I've added a small Big 12 Blogroll to the sidebar on the right, and I've found good blogs for everybody but those two.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Mizzou Links, 8-17-07

Pop quiz (hot shot): so it's about 6:45 on Thursday evening...the wife and I have finished dinner and are trying to figure out what to do with our evening (other than watching Scrubs reruns). The wife says "Hey...what night is the volleyball Black & Gold Game? That sounds like fun." What curse word immediately erupts from my mouth?

a) The f-bomb.
b) The s-word.
c) The good old reliable G-D.
d) All of the above, plus random grumbles throughout the rest of the evening.

If you said (d), you are correct, sir!

  • That's right, after promoting the volleyball team almost daily for most of the last week or so, I got my evenings (or weeks...or months...something) mixed up and missed last night's Volleyball Black & Gold Game. Luckily, over 1,000 people weren't idiots and showed up for a good time. Looking at the relatively confusing box score (players played for both teams), it appears Na Yang (41 kill attempts, .190 kill %) and Julianna Klein (36 attempts, .278) were the main focus of the offense, while freshman Weiwen Wang (30 attempts, .367) and Amanda Hantouli (20 attempts, .700!!) had the best evenings. The two setters--returning starter Lei Wang (31 assists, 5 digs) and JUCO transfer Luiza Jarocka (28 assists, 4 digs) had extremely similar evenings.
  • Oh, and for the record, one's attack % (or kill %) is (Kills - Attack Errors)/Attempts. For example, Na Yang had 14 kills, 6 errors, 42 attempts. (14-6)/42 = .190. I only explain this because it took me a while to figure it out. However, from the pop quiz above you can see that I'm slow sometimes.
  • In non-volleyball news (if there is such a thing), Jeff Ermann has some fantastic analysis of the Scott Suggs commitment to Washington. Fluky circumstances (i.e. a decade-long relationship with Romar) doomed Mizzou...it always seems like the fluky circumstances work against Mizzou, doesn't it? Oh well, I guess. Anderson will come through in the long-term, I'm relatively confident in that...
  • Oh yeah...football. Dave Matter has a good article about defensive backups and their last attempts to prove themselves, and he comes through with two solid practice reports. So does Gabe Dearmond, while Graham Watson fits everything into one report. She also comes through with a solid Martin Rucker feature. Great expectations indeed.
  • Finally, I always feel a bit uneasy when I agree wholeheartedly with Jason Whitlock, but...I agree wholeheartedly with Jason Whitlock regarding the Rutgers lawsuit (I have no opinion on the Ball State issue...hadn't even heard anything about it). Granted, he's much more of an ass in saying it than I would be, but nonetheless...this lawsuit is late and crazy...and Rutgers completely forfeits the high ground. A shame.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mizzou Links, 8-16-07

Not sure there's anything left to link to after yesterday's Posting Armageddon!!!!, but I'll see what I can find...

  • Practice reports! Practice reports! Practice Reports! Practice reports! The way Graham Watson talks, Carl Gettis getting PT is a foregone conclusion. Not surprising, but I hadn't seen that level of confirmation yet. So I guess that means it's Gettis, Lambert, and Keck (assuming health there...not a given) will likely play, and the door's still open (at least a bit) for Derrick Washington and Gilbert Moye. With the relative health of the RB's (or lack thereof), it wouldn't surprise me if Washington played. Moye, on the other hand...doubtful.
  • Dave Matter has a lovely feature on Danario "100-inch vertical" Alexander.
  • Okay, now I'm getting annoyed. The Missourian has a feature on Greg Bracey and mentions "Greg Bracey: Res Hall Linebacker"...but I can't find the frickin' thing online anywhere. Somebody help me out here??
  • Steve Walentik catches up with Demarre Carroll, while the P-D talks about Scott Suggs' decision to go to Washington.
  • Ivan Maisel's strange CFB preview is up...I can never tell if he's talented and witty or just weird. Nevermind...Martellus Bennett is his All-American TE. I know which category he's in now. Seriously, people, stop making me diss Bennett. He really is solid. He might even be in in the Top 5 in the country at his position. But he's also the #3 TE in his own conference. I'm sorry Coffman and Rucker were only 3-star recruits, but they're better. Live it. Love it. Do 5 seconds of research.
  • Lots of interesting Big 12 material at this Sunday Morning QB post...Dan Hawkins tells Gary Pinkel, "I'll see your 'cancel practice and go to the movies' and raise you one 'cancel practice and go play paintball'...Texas fans are a bit obsessive about last year's ATM loss...Jeremy Nethon is back at OSU...which is funny, because I didn't know he'd left...
  • In anticipation of tonight's B&G Game, the Trib previews 2007 MU volleyball.
  • And finally, this isn't sports-related, but...Aquafina comes from the Missouri River???? EWWWWWWW...

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