Here are some talking points for what should be a lovely Saturday in Columbia.
1. Divorce is none of our business. As I'm sure you've all seen by now, it was announced late yesterday that Gary Pinkel and his wife are separating after 40 years of marriage. This being the Internet and all, there will probably be all sorts of unseemly rumors about how this came about ("Was he where he was supposed to be the night he got the DUI?", etc.), but it really is none of our business -- it shouldn't affect his ability to coach football, after all. It is disappointing just from an "I've grown to like Coach Pinkel, and I wish him happiness" kind of way, but that's about it. Here is the statement he personally released yesterday:
I am saddened to say that my wife and I separated at the beginning of this year. Thank you to family and friends who have shown us support. I would ask that you please respect the privacy of the entire Pinkel family during this difficult time.
2. Mizzou Softball is 3-5 in one-run and extra-inning games this season. Team Stubble lost another heartbreaker last night, 2-1 in 10 innings to first-place Oklahoma. You don't expect a losing record in close games with Chelsea Thomas on the mound, but with freshmen accounting for 49 percent of Mizzou's at-bats in 2012, it makes some sense. We knew this would be a ridiculously young team; we just hoped the upside and pitching were enough to overcome it. Mizzou is still clearly very good this year, but they are a bit lacking as compared to last season. They will still have a chance at a nice postseason run (this is still probably a better team than the one that made the WCWS in 2009), but the odds of either winning the conference or hosting a Super Regional (barring upset) are quite slim at this point. Win the next two in Norman (next game: today at 2:00 p.m. CT), of course, and we'll talk.
3. Should the State of Missouri implement Spring Football? PowerMizzou's Pete Scantlebury has an interesting article up today.
Missouri officially becomes an SEC state in July, as the Tigers become full members of the Grand Ol' Conference. While there's plenty of on-going conversation about the Show-Me State's ability to blend in with SEC culture, there's one fact that can't be disputed:
Missouri is the only state in the SEC without spring practice for high school football teams. […]
While Pinkel's staff has found plenty of success in Missouri, the lack of spring football brings about some problems.
Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost, who is also the Tigers' recruiting coordinator, said the biggest issue stems from coaching.
"That's one thing you have to be aware of in recruiting," Yost said. "When you're recruiting a kid from Texas, a lot of times they're very, very well coached. First thing is their coaches do a good job coaching. Football is very important down there.
"But on top of that, they've been coached more, so you have to understand their technique is naturally going to be better than most kids from Missouri or Iowa or wherever you don't have spring football."
Interesting weekend conversation topic.
4. Mizzou Baseball's bats woke up yesterday! The Tigers scored a 13-4 win over Kansas State at Simmons Field, giving Rob Zastryzny quite a bit more run support than he is used to receiving. Game Two of the series is today at 1:00 p.m. CT, and the weather should be great.