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Monday Musings (and open thread)

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My apologies as they will likely be late and short.  I got "upgraded" over the weekend at work to Vista and....well....you can only imagine the battles which are ensuing here on my computer.  Nonetheless, no, I am not pleased the Jets won, but at least the Rams kept pace.  I believe everyone has to be pretty much resigned to the fact that the Dolphins will only win one game...in week 16 I believe against the Pats.  By the way, extra "hate week" bonus addition to the Musings today, and as with everything this week, please feel free to treat this like an open thread.

Click 'Full Story' for the complete musings.

Football:
Another game, another win, another Monday without much to say because I feel it has likely been said already about 3-4 times on the board since Saturday.  If nothing else, it was nice to stop all the streaks and trends this past season (CU, kSU, kickoff return for a TD, winning 6 games in the Big XII).  k-State played a little better than I thought they might, though I would have been curious to see where the game would have ended up had we not lost two possessions in the first half to terrible officiating.  Anyway, great to finally see Maclin break a kick-off for a TD, as my first game was the closest we had come likely since 1983 or whenever it was when the opening kick of the SEASON was returned for a TD, only to have the official wade through the oranges on the field to find the flag he threw.  Needless to say, in a 3-8 season, that was probably the highlight.

On to kansas, and I guess the only thing I have to say on that is I believe we are a better team.  For me, that means we have a higher ceiling than they do and that if both teams played their best games, we would win.  However, the defense has trended backwards a bit in the last two weeks, and if they play the way they have been, I do not feel we will be able to beat them.  We are not making COSTLY mistakes at this point, but that is only because we have still been winning.  Make mistakes against kU and I believe we won't beat them.  The only other thing to say (aside from what I put in my "hate week" thing at the bottom) is that I am actually pleased I am not going to this game.  Taking a look at how the seating shook out, wow...it is going to be ugly and I just do not want any part of it.  More on this later....

Soccer:

The season ended yesterday for the ladies, falling in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tourney in 2OT to #8 ranked USC 1-0.  Mizzou advanced off of a first round win in penalty kicks against SEMO on Friday night to take on the Trojans for the right to play in the Sweet 16.  All in all, the season completes with Mizzou having gone 13-8-1 and probably finishing just outside of the top 25.  As talked about all season on here, the team will graduate no one and should be intact for another great run next season, and many seasons to come given their current youth.  A quick glance at the 17 women who played at all yesterday show 6 juniors, 5 sophomores and 6 freshman, so the team has tremendous balance for seasons to come.  Sophomore Kristen Andrighetto finishes as leading scorer and goal scorer with 14 goals, 9 assists for 37 points.  Freshman Alysha Bonnick scored the most assists with 10 (to go with 11 goals and 32 points) and sophomore Michelle Collins was not far behind with 12 goals and 6 assists for 30 points.  For comparison, the leading scorer on the squad last year had 15 points (on 5 goals) and Andrighetto lead the team in goal scoring with 6.  Great job Coach Blitz and team, now keep the momentum going.

Volleyball:

Well, the ladies took a step forward this past week and then a pretty large step back in their quest to get back to the NCAA tournament.  Taking on Iowa State at home this past Wednesday, the ladies came out and took two tough games from the Clones.  They fell in the 3rd and you could not help but think, "Oh lord, here we go, another 5 gamer" but to their credit, they came back strong in the 4th and closed out the Cyclones 3-1 to take sole possession of 5th place in the Big XII and move to 9-8 in conference.  On Saturday, they headed down to College Station to take on the Aggies.  At home earlier in the season, Mizzou had swept aTm, but they were not able to replicate the success, falling to the Aggies 3-1.  This puts the ladies back at .500 in the league with but two matches remaining.

They will travel to Norman on Wednesday to take on the 4th place Sooners, who sit at 12-6 right now in the league.  This is pretty much a must-win match in my estimation for the Tigers if they mean to return to the NCAA's.  They will finish the season on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against winless CU in the season finale.  I would say, use this time to take a break from the hand-wringing  and come out to celebrate and congratulate the graduating seniors for their devotion and contribution to this program, which they have kept in the national spotlight their entire duration and have endured a tough senior year with the early-season loss of Julianna Klein.

Wrestling:

More to come in my Wrestling Wrap-Up.  For anyone who missed it from last week when the season kicked off, you can wet your pallet with this

Men's Basketball:

Big week for Mizzou hoops to kick-off the season with 3 games on their docket.  Nice to be able to say that the team looked/sounded (since the last game was not on TV) better in each of them.  They started out a little slow against Central Michigan to begin the week, but took the victory behind some SCIK productivity from Demarre Carroll and Leo Lyons on the inside.  They came back the next night and soundly beat a Fordham team believed to be the best in their conference and a likely tourney team with one of the best first half's I have seen in some time.  Friday night, the Tigers returned to Mizzou Arena before their big week to come and beat up on Southern by 45.  Demarre Carroll led the Tigers for the week with 19 and 8.3 boards per game in only 23 minutes per game, shooting 70 percent.

As Mizzou moves to Kansas City today and tomorrow to take on Michigan State and then the winner/loser of UCLA/Maryland, this is a great and early chance to see where Mizzou is as compared to some other MUCH better programs.  For me, I would really love and prefer for Mizzou to exit the early week with a 1-1 record, but for that to happen, Stefhon Hannah will need to improve upon his 33 percent shooting, and Matt Lawrence will need to bolster his 37 percent effort to date.  Do remember that the Tigers will return to Columbia after the holiday and have a Sunday game against Western Illinois at 1:00 p.m.

Women's Basketball:

I suppose this will likely be the norm for the team this season, losing games you might think they have no business losing.  To start the week, the Tigers followed up their first home win of the season with their second home win of the season, a 69-51 win over Eastern Illinois, where sophomore Jessra Johnson had a double-double with 22 and 19.  However, fast forward to their first road game of the season against South Dakota State...yes...you read that correctly.  They fell 78-63, as they got crushed on the boards 42-33 and turned it over 17 times for the loss.  Alyssa Hollings went 7-23 on the day, and though she totaled 18 points in the end, the shooting obviously has to improve.

Up next for the ladies this week is a road tournament in Boca Raton, FL (there are worse places to be on Thanksgiving, but not many) for a 2-day, 2-game stretch against Samford and Robert Morris.  Again, this is a young team with no real seniors on the everyday squad, but these are games you really need to win to start building some confidence as the conference season approaches.

Men's and Women's Swimming:

(We are into compressed mode here as it is now past noon and the dealings with Vista sucked up my entire morning :-)
Great weekend for both the men and women swim programs, as they participated in the Boilermaker Invitational, with the men taking a close 2nd place to #12 Purdue (the men, by the way, came in ranked #20 and should likely see that ranking move up based on their performance this past weekend) and the women walked away the winner and looking to move further up from their program-high #18 ranking.  Up next for the squad is something of a break, as they will have winter conditioning (typically down in AZ) and will compete in some off-the-books competitions against some other schools while doing so, but will not officially return to the pool until January when the men will take on Pittsburgh and Maryland out in Maryland on 1/17 and the women will swim against Arkansas and SMS on 1/12 at the Mizzou Pool.

Random Musings:

*    The Packers just keep getting it done....not sure how or why, but they do.  Certainly an easier schedule coming off of a non-playoff year is helping, as well as the fact that the Vikes and Bears are not too good, but still, got to give it up them.
*    The statistical battle between Moss and Owens is fun to pay attention to.
*    I don't like Vista too much...it would be fine if you were getting a new computer and it was brand new to you, but this is tough.  And it is double-spacing my bullets here...not good.
*    The Patriots are on AGAIN in prime-time next weekend, how much do they score on Philly?
*    My favorite holiday of the year is this week; the football is just so glorious.  I still believe we could manipulate the college football schedule enough to get the conference title games on Friday and Saturday of this weekend...that would be amazing.  Pro on Thursday, those college games on Friday and Saturday and back to pro on Sunday.
*    Vista counts the words for you as you go, this is now um...1,800 words....damn.

Hate Week Special:

Alright....so here it is.  My stream of consciousness ramble about what the ku game means to me this week.  A little background, for those who did not know, I am not from the Midwest originally.  I only knew a little of Mizzou before I came to school here, so I am without any real Big 8, Kansas, Mizzou ties.  Therefore, this is going to seem a tad strange I imagine, but here goes.

I don't hate Kansas.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like them, but I grew up hating Pittsburgh and Notre Dame because I was born a Penn State fan (back in their independent days).  I think to achieve the hatred so many of our fans have, you have to have it born into you, and I just don't (and obviously wont) have it.  For me, this game is amazing because of where both teams are and what it means on a national stage, and what it will do for this rivalry.  You see, I don't believe that anyone outside these two states and the old Big 8 country really knows about this rivalry (in any sport) and this should place it in the nation's eye.  Many of our fans (and kansas's as well) will surely argue about their place in line with the Michigan/Ohio States and Duke/North Carolina's, but as still something of an outsider, I am here to say that this rivalry is not anywhere near those, until potentially now.  Put on a tremendous, nation-wide show on Saturday night and we can achieve it.

My only hope in that process is that the truly ugly side of this rivalry does not come out...and the cards are stacked against that hope.  A night game, ESPN GameDay, National Audience, MIXED SEATING (don't know who the genius was who thought THAT would be a good idea).  And while we joke about the O/U on arrests and deaths...we all know in the back our heads that we really are not joking.  While both teams will hopefully bring the best out of one another for a classic game, both fan bases bring out the absolute worst in one another at the same time.  I have often said to every friend upon getting the question of, "Are you going to the game?" that you could not pay me to go to this one.  Prove me wrong....EVERYONE please prove me wrong this weekend