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Mizzou Links, 4-23-08

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Mizzou Baseball 8, Eastern Illinois 6.  Mizzou won for The Beef's birthday, and he wasn't even there.  Rick Zagone turned in what has become a very Zagone-like performance, giving up 5 runs over 7 innings.  He's a Jeff Suppan innings-eater.  Kyle Mach's 3-run HR made the difference.

Mizzou Softball takes on Iowa State in a doubleheader in Ames today, and they'll have the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week on their side.

Mizzou Football gets a vote of confidence from a strange source: The Daily Oklahoman.

No other Big 12 team exited spring workouts with fewer question marks.

All the contenders have flaws, Mizzou included. It's just that the Tigers' imperfections are more easily masked.

Oklahoma's back seven on defense will feature five new starters, including both corners.

Two of the Sooners' starting linebackers might not even be on campus yet.

No matter how well spring went in Norman, that's an area of major concern for a defense that didn't leave us with a favorable lasting impression from the Fiesta Bowl.

For all the Top 10 recruiting classes that Texas has cherry picked over the years, the Longhorns offer few players to get worked up over. Quarterback Colt McCoy is due to bounce back, but only if a leaky offensive line bucks up and some playmakers emerge.

Texas Tech returns 18 starters, including quarterback Graham Harrell and the nation's best receiver Michael Crabtree. But while 10 starters are back on defense, it's a defense that needs all the help it can muster. And the Red Raiders must solve a history of being a bad road team, with games at A&M, Kansas and OU.

As for the Jayhawks, it's a critical year in revealing whether 2007 was the perfect storm, or if they've made the jump to regular contender status.

After losing three of their best players — corner Aqib Talib, left tackle Anthony Collins and underrated running back Brandon McAnderson — the guess is at least a minor reversal is in order.

So who looks better than Mizzou?

Dave Matter begins a series Spring Review posts, the first one taking on the cornerbacks.

Getting 10 starts last fall as a true freshman, Carl Gettis was MU’s cornerback of the year. His returning partner, senior Castine Bridges, came on strong late last year, supplanted Darnell Terrell as the starter and might have been MU’s best defensive playmaker this spring. (Just don’t expect to hear him talk about. Bridges curiously declined interview requests this spring.)

The better news for Missouri emerged among the backups. Sophomore Kevin Rutland, senior Tremane Vaughns and redshirt freshman Trey Hobson all showed flashes of big-play ability, giving MU perhaps its best nucleus of talent at the position in Gary Pinkel’s eight years at MU.

The Maneater has a nice piece on the battle for starting left tackle.

Another week, another Random Tiger Ten.  Have I mentioned that Big Jack Meiners is really, really big?

Finally, off-topic a bit...Stewart Mandel has an interesting piece on the potential lose-lose situation facing Penn State and Joe Paterno.