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In all my years as a sportswriter, I can't remember interviewing an athlete as articulate and...

In all my years as a sportswriter, I can't remember interviewing an athlete as articulate and insightful as Missouri's Kim English. Check out the video interview I did with the Missouri star following the Tigers' victory over Baylor in Waco on Saturday.

ESPN's Jason King in his column today on ESPN.com [Bumped to the Front Page.]

Caption This 1-24-12 This billboard has popped up in Kansas City. Please give the photo a winning...

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Caption This 1-24-12 This billboard has popped up in Kansas City. Please give the photo a winning caption. Congratulations to TommyV for "Going Gottlieb" in the Monday Contest. Denmoney to you! Captions! RECs! #2!

#Mizzou is No. 2 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN coaches' polls just released this...

#Mizzou is No. 2 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN coaches' polls just released this morning. Mizzou's No. 2 ranking is its highest [this late in the season] since the Tigers were No.1 in the 13th week of the 1989-90 season.

The Trib's Steve Walentik on Twitter. Rarefied air, to say the least.

Caption This 1-23-12 The most unlikely great team in college hoops keeps winning. Missouri is...

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Caption This 1-23-12 The most unlikely great team in college hoops keeps winning. Missouri is 18-1. (US PRESSWIRE) Big win, kids. Now give Steeeeeeeve a winning caption to catapult them to another win on the road this week. Congratulations to RPT for making it two-in-a-row in the Friday Contest. I wonder if you can spend Denmoney at Eskimo Joes.... Captions! RECs! 18-1!

Universities make scheduling sacrifices not just for the lucrative contracts but also because few...

Universities make scheduling sacrifices not just for the lucrative contracts but also because few visuals build the brand better than an appearance on ESPN’s road show "College GameDay." (In November, it had John L. Hennessey, president of Stanford, out on the Oval at daybreak working the crowd.) The school spirit conveyed by cheering thousands — there were 18,000 on Francis Quadrangle at the University of Missouri, Columbia, on Oct. 23, 2010, for "GameDay" — is a selling point to students choosing colleges. When Missouri first started recruiting in Chicago a decade ago, few prospective students had ever heard the university’s nickname, "Mizzou," according to the admissions director, Barbara Rupp. "Now they know us by ‘Mizzou,’ " thanks in part to "GameDay." "I can’t deny that," she said.

This from a SHOCKING BREAKING NEWS piece in the New York Times reporting that [GASP]... athletics have become a big deal at universities. I'll let you pause to pick up the pieces of your blown mind. The linked story includes the requisite dose of intellectuals who are shocked and appalled just to make sure it fits the template of the other 75 stories exactly like this one that are published annually.

Justin Smith is arguably the best player to come through Missouri in decades and undoubtedly had...

Justin Smith is arguably the best player to come through Missouri in decades and undoubtedly had one of the most unique recruiting stories. Smith pledged a verbal commitment to Missouri shortly after his junior year at Jefferson City. And that was it. No visits. No wavering. No nothing other than a quick trip north on Highway 63. "It's close, and both of my parents went there, so I figured I might as well,'' Smith told the Tribune way back in June 1997. At the time, Smith was already a 239-pound two-way standout for the Jays, playing defensive end and tight end. David Smith, Justin's dad, recalled having piles of letters from every school in the country, but Smith didn't care. His mind was made up. And that was that. But … A few days before national signing day, the Smiths got a call. (I'd never heard this story until David shared it last week.) A guy named Steve was on the phone, calling from Florida. Steve Spurrier. [...] "I know we’ve never called you or contacted you," Smith recalled Spurrier saying. "And we know you gave a verbal to Mizzou. And we know you've got like 23 relatives who graduated from Mizzou and that it's only 29 miles away from home. We don't want to harass you on your decision, but our All-American tight end just went down with a torn ACL and we think you can come in here and play."

Dave Matter, in follow up to today's Trib piece on Godzilla.

Jeff Saragin's Rankings for Jaunuary 21st, 2012

Mizzou moves up to NUMBER ONE in the Saragin poll after the win over Baylor. I know a January poll carries about as much weight as the thumbs up sticker you got on your fourth grade spelling test, but this sure is fun to look at!

"Here comes this hulking young man walking across the field," said Mike Kelly, who does radio...

"Here comes this hulking young man walking across the field," said Mike Kelly, who does radio play-by-play for Missouri football games. "You could just see heads start to turn as he walked — ‘Who is this guy?’" [...] Kelly took one look at Smith’s technique and christened him Godzilla. Some of the 49ers call him Cowboy now — Smith is built like a bull and about as down to earth, too — but Godzilla still seems more apt. There is little artistry about Smith’s game, none of the swim moves and spins that might free smaller players. That is not necessary for Smith. "Just brute force," Kelly said. "Like all of these skyscrapers, just knocking them down."

The New York Times loves them some Justin Smith, though I'm disappointed there was no mention of his play in the 1998 Insight.com Bowl, when West Virginia attempted the Statue Of Liberty play, and a confused Godzilla just shoved Marc Bulger into Amos Zeroueue, knocking them both down for a loss.

Caption This 1-20-12 Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew (Photo) This guy has done a remarkable job...

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Caption This 1-20-12 Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew (Photo) This guy has done a remarkable job getting Baylor Hoops to where they are. Please give this photo a caption that might lend some insight into how he's been able to do it. Congratulations to RPT for coming off the bench with a winner in the Thursday Contest! But I am sorry to inform you that we blew this week's Denmoney allowance on chopper fuel. Captions! RECs! BEARS!

Caption This 1-19-12 Dorial Green-Beckham sits in the helicopter that brought Missouri Head Coach...

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Caption This 1-19-12 Dorial Green-Beckham sits in the helicopter that brought Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel to visit him at Hillcrest high school in Springfield on Wednesday afternoon. Photo here Please give this talented young man a winning caption. And don't screw this up. If you keep him from choosing Missouri, you will be perma-banned from the caption contest (not foolin'). Congratulations to Babbalynski for winning the Wednesday Contest. Take my Denmoney, and together we will rule the galaxy as Sleepy and Babbalynski! Captions! RECs! Soft Verbal!
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