Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 11:21 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Missouri offense wasn't exactly a well-oiled machine in the Tigers 17-6 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday, but at least the team's defense seemed to be in mid-season form. Both sides of the ball will face a tougher test in Arizona State this week, and the Tigers offense may need to improve quickly because the defense is going to be without two starters on Friday night.
Defensive end Jacquies Smith and linebacker Will Ebner will both miss the Arizona State game after suffering injuries on Saturday.
Smith disclocated his elbow during the win, and Ebner suffered a high ankle sprain. While there is no set timetable on the return of Ebner, as high ankle sprains can take over a month to recover from, head coach Gary Pinkel is at least optimistic that Smith could return after missing only one game.
"Who knows when Jacquies will be back," Pinkel said. "He won't play this week. Hopefully we'll get him back (soon)."
Not all the news is bad for Missouri's defense, however. Starting cornerback Kip Edwards didn't play on Saturday because of a hamstring injury, and he's likely to be dressed and playing Friday night.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 8:03 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Like most days as of late, Friday hasn't been the best day for the Big 12. Earlier in the day Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said what many people are thinking by placing the blame for the conference's problems on commissioner Dan Beebe, and on Friday evening Oklahoma president David Boren didn't do much to douse the fire of Oklahoma possibly leaving the Big 12 for another conference.
Boren talked to The Oklahoman's Travis Haney, and basically said that he has no idea what the future of the Big 12 or Oklahoma holds.
“It’s too early yet to know exactly what the outcome will be," said Boren. "Our main responsibility will be protecting the interest of the University of Oklahoma, do what’s in the best long-term interest of the university and our athletics department and the fans. That’s what we’ll attempt to do to. Beyond that, while we haven’t been saying much publicly – frankly, on purpose, because we’re at the sensitive point of discussions among schools. Too much said in public reduces success of our goals rather than enhances it.
“We have to study the best options for ourselves and not lock ourselves into a course of action until we know what’s best for the university. We’re heavily involved. I don’t know how long it will be before clarity comes to us. My experience is that, in these kinds of things, it might be a matter of 72 hours, it might be a matter of two weeks. I don’t really think this is something that’s going to linger on beyond two or three weeks, from the outside. This has been consuming my life the last few days. It’s a fascinating challenge. We’re just in the search for what’s best for the university."
Doren also went on to say that other conferences are interested in Oklahoma, though he did not say anything about Oklahoma being contacted by anyone. He also said that Oklahoma is exploring all its options.
“At this point in time, I’ll be very honest with you in saying I do not know with certainty, or perhaps even can’t hazard a totally intelligent guess as to what our final decision will be. But we are carefully looking over all the options."
It's been speculated in recent days that one of those options would be the Pac-12 as it is considering becoming the Pac-16 by adding Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. Of course, the SEC has been rumored to be interested in Oklahoma before as well, though I'm not sure the Sooners would make that move without Oklahoma State. Which means the SEC would then have to add a 16th school.
Of course, as Doren said, nobody can be sure what's going to happen in the Big 12 over the coming days, weeks and months. But it's somewhat hard to deny that dark clouds seem to be forming overhead.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 4:59 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Big 12 has seemed to be on the brink of extinction for about a year now, even when it supposedly wasn't, and with Texas A&M being the latest school to leave, everybody is just sitting around waiting for the next shoe to drop. Is the Pac-12 going to swoop in to take Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech? Could adding BYU save the Big 12?
We don't know. In fact, while there's plenty of speculation on the future, nobody knows much of anything for sure. Unless you're Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. According to Pinkel, while he may not know what the future holds, he knows exactly who to blame for the past.
"Obviously, we have some issues in our league," said Pinkel while on Tim Brando's radio show on Friday. "When you have Nebraska leave one year. Colorado leaves. Also now Texas A&M. Three really good football teams. You know, we’ve got some issues. Without question there’s some issues that other leagues don’t have. You don’t hear anything about any other league in the country having these kind of problems. We all know where it starts. [Missouri athletic director] Mike Alden’s not the point man here. Dan Beebe is. Dan Beebe’s our commissioner. He’s the guy to ask. I don’t know what they’re going to do. I’m just focusing now on winning the football game.
"There’s just no one in the country, no other league in the country, where this stuff goes on. And it’s really a shame because the potential of the league is just so tremendous. Anyway, I have no control over it. We’re just trying to beat Miami (Ohio)."
How do you really feel, Gary?
While Pinkel doesn't come right out and say it, it's pretty clear that he lays the blame for what has happened to the Big 12, and what could happen in the Big 12, at the feet of Dan Beebe. Pinkel is just sharing feelings that many other Big 12 schools have felt privately for a while, and that is that they don't appreciate the way Beebe has treated Texas compared to the way the rest of the schools are treated. And it's hard to blame any other Big 12 school not named Texas or Oklahoma for feeling that way.
You can hear the entire interview here.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 1:28 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The preseason coaches poll was released on Thursday morning, and while I'm not a big fan of polls in the preseason, at the moment I'm thrilled to see them. It's just a reminder of how close we are to the beginning of the season and now fans across the country finally have a reason to put a chip on their shoulder -- "My school gets no respect!" -- or feel an unearned sense of entitlement.
After persusing the poll, it's obvious that the Big 12 should puff its chest out a little bit. The last year has been filled with news of the conference losing teams, and even the last few weeks have stoked the fires of schools feeling like they're getting the short end of the stick in the Big 12 when compared to Texas, but the Big 12 has something that no other conference in the land can claim right now.
Three teams ranked in the top ten.
Let's take a look at who is ranked, who isn't, and whether or not they're in the right place.
#1 Oklahoma - I don't think it's shocking at all to find Oklahoma opening the season on top of the poll, as many predicted this is what would happen, and there's a good reason for it. Oklahoma finished 2010 ranked sixth, and unlike the five teams that were ranked ahead of them at the time, all the major players are back in Norman. Landry Jones will be getting a lot of Heisman hype as the offense should continue to put up a lot of points, and the Sooners defense should be one of the best units in the land. The real question here is whether or not Oklahoma can stay atop the polls. The preseason #1 doesn't have the greatest track record, and the Sooners have a tough schedule that includes road games against #5 Florida State and #8 Oklahoma State. Home dates against #9 Texas A&M, #21 Missouri and the annual battle with #24 Texas won't be a cakewalk either.
#8 Oklahoma State - A top ten spot is well-deserved for the Cowboys based on what they did in 2010. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon lit the air on fire last season as Oklahoma State finished second in the nation in passing yards per game and third in points per game. Both of those gentlemen are back, so the offense will be fine. What will really determine whether or not the Cowboys are deserving of this ranking and will finish the year in the top 10 is the defense. Offense alone can get you into the top ten, but you need a strong defense to stay there. We'll find out soon enough when Oklahoma State plays an early game against Arizona, and considering that the Cowboys play #9 Texas A&M, #24 Texas and Missouri all on the road this season, holding on to this spot or moving up is not going to be easy.
#9 Texas A&M - Based on how things finished for the Aggies last season, I get the hype. I truly do. Still, that doesn't mean I'm fully convinced the Aggies are a top ten team in 2011. Ryan Tannehill was a revelation for the Aggies after taking over for Jerrod Johnson, but will he be able to match his performance again now that teams will be ready for him? Can the defense replace Von Miller without a drop off? Those are pretty big questions to answer, and when you throw in a game against #14 Arkansas to go with the conference slate, and it's not insane to think this is a team that finishes the year closer to the 15-20 range than the top ten.
#21 Missouri - Missouri loses a bit from its 2010 squad on both sides of the ball, but this placing feels right. It won't be easy to replace Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, but nobody thought it would be easy to replace Chase Daniel either, and Gary Pinkel has proven that he knows how to find quarterbacks. Can James Franklin be that guy? We'll find out early when he Tigers go on the road to face Arizona State on the second Saturday of the season, but if the defense that allowed only 16.1 points per game last season can put up an encore performance, that would be a big help. I would be worried about road games against #1 Oklahoma and #9 Texas A&M though.
#24 Texas - You're going to hear a lot of folks saying that this is a reputation spot for Texas and nothing else. Those saying it will be correct, too, because there's no way you can say that Texas earned this spot with its play last season. That being said, I think it's entirely possible that when the dust settles on 2011, Texas will be ranked higher than this. Hell, the Longhorns may be the second-highest ranked team in the conference. I'm of the opinion that 2010 was an aberration and I don't think the offense can be as detrimental in 2011 as it was in 2010. Plus this is still a fantastic defense, and one that will keep Texas in every game, so if the Longhorns can win 8 or 9 games that reputation that got them to #24 in the preseason poll will only help push them up further as the year goes on.
Tags: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Big 12, Brandon Weeden, Chase Daniel, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, James Franklin, Jerrod Johnson, Justin Blackmon, Landry Jones, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Preseason Coaches Poll Reaction, Ryan Tannehill, Texas, Texas, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Von Miller
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Tags: Art Briles, Baylor, Big 12, Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops, Bryan Harsin, Dennis Dodd, Gary Pinkel, Greg Davis, Hot Seat Ratings, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Mack Brown, Mike Gundy, Mike Sherman, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Paul Rhoads, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, Turner Gill, Will Muschamp
Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:14 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:40 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It looks like the Missouri quarterback competition has been settled. In what can only be described as a surprising announcement, Missouri issued a release on Monday morning saying that quarterback Tyler Gabbert, younger brother of former Missouri and newest Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, will be transferring from the school.
“We wish Tyler the best and will do everything we can to assist him going forward,” said coach Gary Pinkel in a statement. “He’s worked very hard in our program this past year, and we thank him for his efforts. Tyler is a high quality person and an outstanding football player.”
This comes as a shock because there were plenty of people who felt that Gabbert could be Missouri's starting quarterback this season. He finished spring practice second on the depth chart behind James Franklin. According to the release Gabbert is leaving Missouri to pursue other playing opportunities, so maybe he knew more about Missouri's quarterback situation than the school was letting on?
Gabbert came to Columbia as part of the school's 2010 recruiting class, enrolling early and then redshirting the 2010 season.
Posted on: May 3, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 2:31 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
He's not exactly Curt Flood, but all the same Russell Wilson may wind up serving as a college football landmark: the sport's first legitimate free agent. Cut loose from N.C. State, eligible to play virtually anywhere thanks to his early graduation, "95 percent" likely to take advantage of that eligiblity, and -- most importantly -- a bona fide all-conference candidate with three years of starting experience and a 76-26 career touchdown-to-interception ratio.
So Wilson represents uncharted waters for college football; while other players have been eligible to transfer without penalty, none have offered such tantalizing immediate benefits. But which school is going to be the lucky one to sail into those waters?
We don't know. No one does, Wilson included; he's still got months of baseball ahead of him. But we can say which programs would be the best fit should Wilson decide to take a look. Here's our guesses for the comfiest landing spot for Wilson in each BCS conference, judging by both which team would benefit most by Wilson's arrival and which team Wilson would benefit most by joining. Enjoy:
SEC: TENNESSEE. Yep, we're saying the Vols, despite most of the early Wilson speculation centering on South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Auburn. But multiple reporters covering the Tigers have said they won't be interested; it makes sense considering that 2012 shapes up as a much more likely championship campaign for Auburn than 2011, and Gene Chizik won't want to spoil that with a first-year starter under center. Steve Spurrier will certainly give Wilson a ring if Stephen Garcia is finally dismissed, but if Garcia sticks around, neither he nor Wilson will want the controversy his arrival would bring. And though we have little doubt Houston Nutt would welcome Wilson with open arms rather than ride with the untested Randall Mackey or Barry Brunetti, Wilson can probably find a team with higher expectations.
Enter Tennessee. Yes, the Vols have a starter already, promising sophomore Tyler Bray. But Bray's boom-or-bust results late last season and ugly 5-for-30 spring game performance suggest that he might need more seasoning before taking the reins for a full SEC season. Bringing in Wilson lets the Vols redshirt and groom Bray for three solid seasons to follow, without taking a step back at the position; going to Tennessee lets Wilson play for a high-profile team in the nation's toughest conference, one with plenty of playmakers at his disposal. It's a win-win.
BIG TEN: WISCONSIN. An easy call: the perpetually consistent Badgers have the defensive playmakers, the ball-carriers and the receivers to put together another fine Big Ten team if they can hold the line on the offensive line ... and if they can find a quarterback. The results at the Badgers' spring game suggest they don't have the latter yet. The stodgy Badger attack won't make much use of Wilson's mobility, but no other team in the conference offers Wilson the chance to waltz in as the unquestioned starter for a top-25 program.
BIG 12: MISSOURI. After years of Chase Daniel and then Blaine Gabbert spearheading the Tigers' aerial attack, Gary Pinkel has to feel a little spoiled when it comes to quarterbacks. But that may be changing, as Mizzou comes out of spring without a clearcut starter and with neither candidate (Tyler Gabbert, younger brother of Blaine, or James Franklin) having looked quite in the Daniel/Gabbert class. Wilson would short-circuit any potential quarterback-platoon talk immediately upon arrival and give the Tigers one of the best trigger-men their spread could ask for. Wilson, meanwhile, would have the benefit of having the ball in his hands 40 to 50 times a game, for a team whose underrated defense should make them top-25 contenders.
PAC-12: UCLA. Let's face it: the 3-9 Bruins maybe don't have a heck of a lot to offer in terms of football glory. But after their seemingly endless quarterback carousel of the past few seasons, no program would be more appreciative -- no coach more thankful -- than UCLA and Rick Neuheisel. If Wilson can salvage a winning season out of 2011 and potentially turn around the flagging tenure of Neuheisel, the gratitude aimed his way from the Westwood faithful would likely dwarf anything he'd receive anywhere else. (Besides, most of the other Pac-12 contenders -- Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Cal, even ineligible pseudo-contender USC -- have fairly established quarterbacks.)
ACC: FLORIDA STATE NO ONE
[This section originally discussed the "far-fetched" possibility that Wilson could transfer to the Wolfpack's intra-division rivals in Tallahassee, but it's more than far-fetched; it's impossible, since Wilson's release -- originally, erroneously reported as "unconditional" -- specifies that he may not transfer to an ACC school or any school on NCSU's schedule. In retrospect, this is a common sense precaution. Apologies.]
BIG EAST: WEST VIRGINIA. We're kidding, mostly; Geno Smith enjoyed an excellent spring game and will be the Mountaineers' 2011 starter. And given Wilson's unwillingness to give up on a "football dream" that likely includes the NFL, he would likely pass on Dana Holgorsen's Mike Leach- inspired "Air Raid" offense anyway, which has struggled putting its passers in the pros. But an offense like Holgorsen's, as helmed by a talent like Wilson? We can dream of those kinds of pinball games, can't we?
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Barry Brunetti, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Cal, Chase Daneil, Christian Ponder, Curt Flood, Dana Holgorsen, E.J. Manuel, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, Gene Chizik, Geno Smith, Houston Nutt, James Franklin, James Franklin the Missouri quarterback not the Vanderbilt coach just so we're clear, Jimbo Fisher, Mike Leach, Missouri, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, Randall Mackey, Rick Neuheisel, Russell Wilson, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Tennessee, Tennessee, Tyler Bray, Tyler Gabbert, UCLA, USC, West Virginia, Wisconsin