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Mizzou Links, 8-6-09

Camp is finally here.  The air smells fresher, the sun seems brighter (or at least it will...lord knows the sun's not up just yet).  Time to find out if a team with 25-30 freshmen and sophomores on the two-deep can put together a third straight North title.  The Trib kicks off the proceedings with a look at what the 2009 Tigers have to prove.

Back-to-back Big 12 North Division championships aren’t enough to secure that benefit of the doubt, apparently, as the Missouri Tigers have learned in the buildup to the 2009 season. And for Gary Pinkel, who tomorrow opens his ninth preseason camp as Missouri’s head coach, that’s OK. Respect is earned, he’s said many times this offseason, not inherited.

"When you lose good players and good athletes, and as you build respect in your program … people expect you to be good anyway," he said during last week’s Big 12 media days in Irving, Texas. "That’s something you have to prove. I can sit here and talk about it all day, but you’ve got to prove that.

"You look at Texas or Oklahoma, teams that won championships recently in this league. When they lose good players, people expect them to be good the next year. Well, you know what? You earn that. And that’s kind of where we’re at."

Meanwhile, as he does every year, Gabe at PowerMizzou makes a blind, pre-camp season prediction.  Aside from the final game, I think most people would tolerate his predicted performance this season.

In case you didn't listen to 'SPOOOOOOON's Rivals radio interview the other day, Mike Dearmond summarizes.  Short version: beat Illinois, beat KU.  (And speaking of Illinois, they're #27...and six-point favorites in the opener.  I love it.  Bring on the disres...excuse me, DISRESPECT.)

Finally, we quickly move to other sports...

  • Basketball: Rayvonte Rice is a rising prospect
  • Baseball: Mizzou Baseball in the minors
  • Soccer: No. 10 Soccer opens practice Wednesday

WOOOOOO...CAMP!