I think I am glad that 2007-2008 is finally being put to bed here in this week's musings. Truth be told, I have actually tried to do it for the past couple of weeks, but the undertaking was just a bit more than I could chew. I am happy that starting next week, all I am going to have to talk about for a few weeks is soccer and football.
At any rate, let's take a short look at each sport and how they fared year vs. year, while also taking quick looks at footbll as they prepare for Illinois and at soccer who actually kicked off the regular season on Saturday night. Mix in the random thoughts and serve chilled for your Monday Musings.
Well...it is finally here. 241 days since Mizzou last took the field in Dallas, TX, they will take the field in St. Louis, MO against another ranked team. Illinois will start their season with some pretty lofty expectations, and is likely good enough to meet a good number of them. They will have questions at RB replacing Mendenhall and I believe now have a few questions in the WR group, as Benn is healthy but few others are. The defense is supposed to be of great strength, especially the D-line as the LB's have to replace Leman. What about the Tigers?
As for the Tigers, there will be some interesting stories which we will see play out over the week. One story will be the health of Jared Perry at WR. Maclin and Saunders are certainly set at WR, and Perry was set as the 3rd guy with Denario Alexander still on his (amazing) rehab stint. However, with Perry down, does this actually push maybe a true frosh into starting action? The other big story on offense will be the health of a backup player, but a very important one. Will Chase Patton be able to suit up and play, or will Blaine Gabbert enter his first game as a #2? And if Daniel gets his bell rung at some point (as he did last year in this game), does Blaine Gabbert end up with his redshirt torn off? And if he does, will that change how Coach Pinkel planned on using him this year?
All good questions, all will have interesting and important answers. On defense, not too many questions exist for the Tigers aside from perhaps the overall health of Van Alexander at LB. Another question will be how many positions will William Moore end up playing? Castine Bridges has missed some time this summer as well with a bit of a nagging injury, but he may catch a break on who he is covering as I assume Gettis will draw Benn much of the time. Is it worth almost double-teaming him right away and daring Juice Williams to find another outlet? Another interesting question will be how advanced the defense is, since with 10 returning starters (and Baston who saw a good amount of time), Coach Eberflus has likely installed almost his entire defense with such experience.
Lots of questions...some answeered this week...some not until Saturday evening. The atmosphere will be the best of any Arch Rivalry game, as this is the first sell-out. Mizzou fans will likely have a small advantage in the crowd, but the place will be charged after an all-day tailgate in gorgeous weather. I still believe this is going to be a Mizzou win, and hopefully the defense will take the comeback Illinois staged lat year personally to start the game to aid the offense.
The season began Saturday night for the ladies, as they took their #22 ranking out for a run against the #17 Illinois club. The Tigers will not muster a ton of offense, but came through regulation play with a 1-1 tie on just ONE shot on goal for the match (13 shots total). Illinois would get out to an early lead, scoring in the 7th minute. The Tigers would get the eqaulizer early in the 2nd half as junior Michelle Collins would take a cross from Bree Thorton, who returned from an injury which kept her out most of last season, and put it in the back of the net. The rest of the half would be scoreless, but Illinois would finish it quickly in OT, just 3 minutes in.
Interesting to take a look at the boxscore here to see that 1st team Big XII Kristen Andrighetto did not start this game for the Tigers. While she did play 54 minutes, she was not on the pitch to start. Four Tigers played the entire match, with senior defenders Jannelle Cordelia and Kat Tarr, junior defender Crystal Wagner and junior midfielder Megan Pfeiffer getting the call. Sophomore Alysha Bonnick did start, but only played 49 minutes in the game, and highly acclaimed freshmen Kelsey Blincow and Kendra Collins saw a lot of action with 43 and 36 minutes respectively. Certainly losing to a higher ranked team is not a bad loss, but it is interesting to see the substittion pattern here in the first game of the season.
The Tigers will return to action on Friday night with a match against SEC foe Auburn. It will be at 6:30 p.m. It will be their only game next week, and admission is free if some recyclable materials are brought (used cell phones, VHS tapes, DVDs, ink cartridges and rechargable cell phone and camera batteries)
Season over Season:
Real quick, easy and simple here. I will give you the 2006-2007 record/accomplishments, the same for 2007-2008 and then what I predicted in my piece on each team as I wrapped up their season these past two months.
- Soccer - 10-9 in 2006, 13-8-1 in 2007 with an NCAA berth, predicted to be better this season.
- Volleyball - 18-13 in 2006, losing in the 2nd round of the NCAA, 17-13 in 2007 losing in the 1st round of the NCAA, predicted to be better this season.
- Men's X-Country - 6th at Big XII, 4th in Midwest in 2006 with Tim Ross finished 126th in NCAA, 6th in Big XII, 8th in Midwest, Dan Hedgecock finished 125th in NCAA (strange), predicted to be better
- Women's X-Country - 7th at Big XII, 6th in Midwest in 2006, 10th at Big XII, 8th in Midwest in 2007, predicted to be better
- Football - 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007 with a 4th place national finish, I predict the record and finish to be about the same
- Men's Swimming - 3rd at Big XII with 2 divers and 1 swimmer to NCAA in 2006-2007, 3rd at Big XII with 2 divers and 1 All-American at NCAA in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Women's Swimming - 4th at Big XII with 1 diver and 1 swimmer to NCAA in 2006-2007, 3rd at Big XII with 1 diving champ at Big XII's and 2-time All-American at NCAA's in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Men's Basketball - 18-12 in 2006-2007, 16-16 in 2007-2008. It dawns on me I never predicted anything for basketball, so I will say they will be better than .500
- Women's Basketball - 17-14 and NIT bid in 2006-2007, 10-21in 2007-2008, predicted to be better (but not much)
- Wrestling - 2nd at Big XII, 3rd at NCAA's with 3 All-Americans and 1 champion) in 2006-2007, 4th at Big XII, 11th at NCAA with 3 All-Americans in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Men's Indoor Track - 4th at Big XII, 3 All-Americans at NCAA in 2006-2007, 5th at Big XII, 4 All-Americans at NCAA in 2007-2008, predicted to fall off
- Women's Indoor Track - 7th at Big XII, 1 All-American at NCAA in 2006-2007, 8th at Big XII, 1 All-American at NCAA in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Gymnastics - 3rd at Big XII, 3rd at NCAA Regional with 1 NCAA participant in 2006-2007, 3rd at Big XII's (with All-Around Champ), 4th at NCAA Regional with 1 NCAA participant in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Tennis - 8-13 in 2006-2007, 10-14 in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Men's Golf - 7th in Big XII in 2006-2007, 12th at Big XII in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Women's Golf - 8th at Big XII, 17th at NCAA Regional in 2006-2007, 4th at Big XII, 19th at NCAA Regional in 2007-2008, predicted to be better
- Men's Outdoor Track - 8th at Big XII's in 2006-2007, 8th at Big XII, 4 All-Americans at NCAA in 2007-2008, predicted to fall off a bit
- Women's Outdoor Track -8th at Big XII, 2 All-Americans at NCAA in 2006-2007, 10th at Big XII in 2007-2008, predicted to be about the same
- Baseball - 42-17, hosted NCAA Regional in 2006-2007, 39-21, participated in NCAA Regional in 2007-2008, predicted to be about the same
- Softball - 40-24, participated in NCAA Regional in 2006-2007, 47-17, NCAA SuperRegional in 2007-2008, predicted to be about the same
- The US/Spain basketball game has 130 points in 20 minutes of play...or a made 2-point bakset every 18 seconds or so...at least I think so..I was never all that good in math.
- If I am The Boy, I am very excited at the prospect of Rudy Fernandez on the Blazers...quite a shot-maker.
- And seriously? Kobe Bryant JUST turned 30?
- Well, I think NASCAR finally got the rivalry they have been wanting. Carl Edwards used a little rub to pass Kyle Busch with about 30 laps to go to take another win. Busch did not take that too kindly and promptly smacked Edwards a number of times in the post-race laps, but Carl came right back, slowed down, and then spun him out to the reported elation of 160,000 people in Bristol, TN
- Poor Linus Kleiza had been so good and instrumental in leading Lithuania to the medal round, but had a terrible two games in the semis and the bronze medal game and his country came up short.