November 23, 2014

A bold prediction that may upset Mizzou fans. Hear the reasons why one SEC reporter thinks Tennessee wins big (VIDEO)

Where the Mizzou football program is today and does it get the credit it deserves? (Google Hangout)

The Volunteers will be without the middle linebacker (photo: RockyTopInsider.com)

The Volunteers will be without the middle linebacker (photo: RockyTopInsider.com)

With college football having fans in an offensive state of mind, perhaps it is difficult to give the Missouri Tigers their due credit.  The Tigers strive off of winning the battles of special teams and field position and use their defense to shut down opponents.

That’s why I couldn’t believe when I saw the opening lines from Vegas list Missouri as three point underdogs at Tennessee.  We’re seriously talking about the SEC East leader with eight win against a team in a rebuilding year with many freshman and sophomores in the starting lineup playing for bowl eligibility only because their last two wins have come against South Carolina and Kentucky.  Prior to that, this team was 3-5.

This Tennessee team has talent, but their young.  They’ll play hard and give Missouri everything they have.  If Missouri is not focused (I mean like Indiana non-focused), they’ll be in for a surprise.

However, I’m not buying the concerns of Missouri traveling down to Knoxville.  We saw how the Tigers could handle 100,000+ fans.

To talk more about the perception of Mizzou in the SEC, Seth Merenbloom of cfbroundtable.com

He helps me understand why the Tigers still have a ways to go when it comes to earning respect in the SEC.

On top of the already young roster, the Vols are going to be thin up the middle on both sides of the ball.  According to Daniel Lewis of RockyTopInsider.com, the legal investigation and indefinite suspension of linebacker A.J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams leaves the Vols without their leader on defense (Johnson) and a key backup in the secondary (Williams).

Offensively, UT head coach Butch Jones downgraded center Mack Crowder to closer to doubtful earlier this week, meaning sophomore Dylan Wiesman will likely make his first career start there against Missouri.

Yet, Lewis is still wavering, while he says he slightly is leaning towards picking Missouri in this game.

You never know what can happen in college football, but be honest.  If you are one of those people who thinks this game is going to be close, should Missouri lose, you’ll be the first to be shocked that they lost this game.

Mizzou is focused.  Mizzou is running the football.  UT is without their defensive quarterback.  Mizzou is pressuring every quarterback they face.  UT is without one of their leaders on the offensive line.  In addition to having a more talented team, the Tigers are given an even bigger advantage with injuries and suspension.  One team is playing for bowl eligibility.  The other is playing for a trip to Atlanta.  Mizzou is tough to beat in November.  I’ve made my case for Missouri, but expect Tennessee to battle.

Why Alabama being ranked #1 could be a good thing for Mizzou, or just another dose of rotten luck (VIDEO)

Mizzou has adjusted their offensive game plan focusing more on the run and it’s starting to pay off (VIDEO)

Missouri Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk outruns the Kentucky Wildcats defense in the first quarter at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on November 1, 2014. Missouri defeated Kentucky 20-10.  UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk outruns the Kentucky Wildcats defense in the first quarter at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on November 1, 2014. Missouri defeated Kentucky 20-10. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

When Josh Henson took over as offensive coordinator, he talked about wanting the offense to become more vertical, by taking more chances downfield.  That worked last year with receivers like DGB, L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas.  With Jimmie Hunt and Darius White banged up, throwing deeper routes became a challenge for Mizzou and the offense looked pathetic during the middle of the season.

Henson has adjusted.  The Tigers are using the run game to help open up the passing game.  The results of that adjustment are starting to take shape after a 28-point third quarter against Texas A & M.  Russell Hansbrough won SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his 199 yard performance and two scores.
Gary Pinkel talked about the adjustments on offense and how the season ending injury to running back Morgan Steward impacted their ability to just Marcus Murphy as an almost full-time wide receiver, which tells me the coaching staff was concerned about their lack of depth at wide receiver.

The dark cloud known as ESPN’s OTL continues to follow Mizzou. After the football announcement at Arrowhead, health concerns raised over food handling at KC venues (VIDEO)

photo--Kansas City Health Department via ESPN's OTL story

photo–Kansas City Health Department via ESPN’s OTL story

You know about the recent features ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” has run on the University of Missouri Athletic Department.  It seems like that program can’t get away from that network’s microscope, whether directly or indirectly involved.  The latest case comes the day after the Kansas City Chiefs and Mizzou jointly announced that the Tigers are returning to Arrowhead Stadium next year (exactly one year to the date) to play a football game against BYU.

ESPN.com is running a story exposing possible food handling violations at Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium.  Some of the pictures are absolutely disgusting.

That story becomes a sidebar for me and Matt Michaels of our Columbia affiliate, KTGR, as we debate whether or not the Mizzou-BYU matchup will draw enough interest from Mizzou fans?

Will these allegations of poor food handling influence your decision to attend a Chiefs, Royals or Mizzou football game in Kansas City.  Or would it influence your buying decisions at the game?  Share your thoughts in our comments section below.