It was a great week for Mizzou sports, as the basketball team is 4-0, the volleyball team is SEC Champs and 31-0, and the football team improved to 10-1 with a solid road win at Mississippi. As the college football season closes in on the last couple weeks of the regular season, I'm back with these week's "ten thoughts".
1. A big win, but also a bit of a relief. I'm sure many fans shared my emotions of not wanting to come home to play Texas A&M at home with the division already lost. That would have taken quite a bit of luster off the game and I was honestly concerned that it would negatively impact the team, as well. The good news is that did not not occur, and in fact, the Tigers were quite impressive at what is a very good Ole Miss squad. Though there were a couple of instances where things made me nervous (when it was momentarily 24-17 prior to the out of bounds being noticed) , we were really in control the whole way.
2. Glad to have Frank the Tank back. There is just something about having James Franklin in the lineup that makes me feel more secure about winning games like this. Perhaps it is experience. Perhaps it is ability to bowl ahead for a few yards. Perhaps it is just knowing that I just want the guy to have his moment in the sun, too. I think it's a combination of all these reasons, but I'm glad he's back -- and both the opening drive and the one that got us to 24 points were indicative of this feeling.
3. Thank you, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Oregon is now out of the way (though I think we would have eventually passed them anyway) and more importantly, Baylor has lost. And though Oklahoma State (now did they lose to West Virginia, again?) is now on our heels, I don't think they pass us as long as we win, given they only play Oklahoma and we play A&M and either Alabama or Auburn. What all this means, by the way, is that if we keep winning, only two obstacles remain to us being in the National Title: Ohio State and maybe Alabama, if they would lose to Auburn (how far would they drop?) .
4. The Texas A&M result was interesting -- and what does that mean? I did not expect that score, though it certainly shows Texas A&M is quite beatable and you can hold them down on scoring. While they are certainly a huge threat, I think motivation matters at this point in the year, and what exactly is Texas A&M playing for? They are now out of the BCS race (you have to be in the Top 14 and I doubt they play into it, even with a win) and we are playing for the SEC East and perhaps a lot more. We're one win away from Coach Pinkel having the all time record for wins at Mizzou. Our crowd will be crazy. The Aggies have no defense. I am going to go out on a limb and say we roll, 45-24.
5. What a fun week this will be. Thanksgiving week is, to me, the best sports week all year because you have all the early season college basketball games, a critical week of college football, plus the NFL games. This week intensifies that more as there will be three Mizzou basketball games (Monday, Thursday night and Friday), the biggest Mizzou home football game in memory, the Broncos-Chiefs game, not to mention all the other great games on TV in the world of sports. Glad I'm not going anywhere besides the two Mizzou home games (IUPUI and A&M, of course).
Bonus Basketball Thought: We're 4-0 and looking okay. Will be 5-0 tomorrow, with some moderately challenging games ahead. Looking forward to seeing how we perform in Las Vegas against Northwestern and Nevada on a neutral court far away from home. We should end up 7-0 but something tells me the games won't be pushovers.
On to college football as a whole...
6. How good is Oklahoma State? Well, I had Baylor going 12-0 and that has proven to be a wrong prediction, as I didn't envision the Oklahoma State Cowboys making this surge. I was honestly shocked at the score, more so than the actual win by Oklahoma State. Now the question is, how good are the Cowboys, who lost to WVU who lost to Kansas, who lost to Iowa State by 34 points? I don't know. Does it matter? I could say, yes, it does, as Oklahoma State actually has a shot at the national title. (Mizzou loses to A&M, Alabama beats Auburn, South Carolina beats Alabama and Clemson, Michigan State beats Ohio State -- is it then OSU vs. FSU?)
7. What will the humans do if FSU wins out but Winston is arrested? Let's say Missouri wins out, Alabama beats Auburn and Ohio State loses to Michigan State, and the final Top 5 ranking with Winston is: 1) Florida State 2) Missouri 3) Oklahoma State 4) Alabama 5) Michigan State Would the voters drop FSU knowing Winston may not play in the national title? What will Florida State do? This article raises similar questions. If not FSU, who steps in? Okie State? Alabama? Sparty?
8. Arizona State will win the PAC 12 and play in the Rose Bowl. It's hard to believe I'm typing that, but it's my honest belief. I think Arizona State has been the best team out west, of late, and I think they beat Stanford and head to the Rose Bowl to take on Michigan State, who as I've indicated before, I think will beat Ohio State.
9. Congrats to Duke. We at Mizzou know where Duke has been and what they are feeling now, as we had similar emotions back in the 1997 and 1998 seasons following more than a decade of futility. For Duke that era of ineptitude lasted much longer, and now they have two straight bowl seasons and a division title in their grasp. No longer must their only Top 25 vote be Steve Spurrier's in the first poll!
10. I'd vote for Jordan Lynch for the Heisman. I think college football should recognize this kid's talent and record of winning even though they aren't a BCS school. What Lynch has done at NIU is incredible and I honestly think he's moved past the others in the running, as well.
That's it for this week.
TiK's Top Ten: 1) Alabama; 2) Florida State; 3) Missouri; 4) Auburn; 5) Ohio State; 6) Michigan State; 7) Clemson; 8) Oklahoma State; 9) South Carolina; 10) Arizona State