18

The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman

I was in a unique position Saturday as I watched Auburn and Georgia. For amusement, I had a five-game parlay Saturday afternoon. I had the following:

-Florida State (-37.5) vs. Syracuse: COVERED

-Michigan State (Money Line) at Nebraska: COVERED

-Oregon/Utah (Over 63.5): COVERED

-Duke (Money Line) vs. Miami-Florida: COVERED

And…

-Auburn (Money Line) vs. Georgia

With Auburn staring down 4th and 18, I needed the Tigers to convert…or I would lose the five-game parlay. Of course, if War Damn Eagle failed to convert, and therefore were to have lost the game, Missouri would be in a ridiculously good spot to win the SEC East.

It was a win-win…or a lose-lose…depending on your view.

You don’t know how you’ll react until you’re in that moment.

If you were in my position, what would you have wanted to happen?

Would you have wanted the money…or the Missouri appearance in the SEC Championship?

To put my Missouri football fandom in perspective---as I know many of you reading this don’t share it---I’m still more upset about the Tigers blowing the game against South Carolina (4th and goal from the 15 more than the field goal miss) than I am about the Cardinals losing the World Series.

Why?

Well, I would put my passion for the Cardinals ahead of my passion for Missouri football, but I suppose the Missouri loss seemed like it could’ve/should’ve never happened…whereas the Cardinals inexplicably got beaten handily…or as handily as a team could get beaten by another team hitting just slightly higher than .200.

Like I was saying…you don’t know how you’ll react until you’re in that moment.

So…when this happened…



…I got to find out how I’d react.

And, my reaction was happiness.

Yes, it hurt Missouri (theoretically), but it won me the parlay.

And, I was thrilled.

But, I think it goes deeper than just the bet:

This isn’t the 2010 team that had a two-loss season going before (somehow) losing to Iowa in some random exhibition game played on a weeknight in late December.

This team has a shot at the BCS National Championship.

And, yes, while that shot may be remote, we’re in late November, and Missouri still has that chance that only eight other teams in the country realistically have.

And so maybe my bar is a little higher right now, but that’s where I am.

I want and, quite honestly, based on watching Missouri, Ole Miss, and Texas A & M, I expect the Tigers to win their next two games. By no means are the two wins a lock. I’d allocate a probability of 66%, but I don’t see Auburn’s Miracle or South Carolina’s Saturday night comeback against Florida as nothing more than irrelevant to the big goal: winning the whole damn thing.

And therefore, I don’t want to back into the SEC Championship Game. I don’t want to…because I don’t think they should have to.

They’re good enough to stand on the other sideline and look across at Alabama or Auburn and play on the same field. And they’re sure as hell good enough to do it against Ole Miss and Texas A & M.

That’s not to disrespect those teams. Ole Miss has a hell of a wide receiving corps that Tiger fans will likely know much more about this time five days from now. They won at Texas and beat LSU at home. Their only losses are Alabama, Texas A & M, and Auburn. And as far as the regular season finale, the Texas A & M offense speaks for itself. As bad as the Aggies’ defense is, they only have losses to Alabama and Auburn.

But, I’m of the opinion that if Missouri were doing what it was doing, and its name were Michigan, Notre Dame, or USC, based on what they’ve done so far---and in the manner they’ve both won all of their games and even the one loss---their chances for winning out would be given a hell of a lot more credibility.
However, considering their name is Missouri and not Michigan, Notre Dame, or USC, the Tigers have earned the skepticism that comes with decades of near-misses and historic stunning defeats.

But, those teams aren’t this team.

Trust me…I can’t believe what’s happened this season. I love it. But, I’m beyond shocked by it.

However, now having the data at our disposal, Missouri winning at Ole Miss and winning at home against Texas A & M are both real possibilities. The Tigers are a 3 point favorite in Oxford…and I would suggest even though Johnny Football lurks in 12 days the game against Ole Miss is the tougher of the two.

So, why was I happy to have Auburn complete the miracle Saturday? Well, yeah, I was ecstatic to win a five-game parlay.

But, for my money, what happened in Auburn…and what happened in Columbia, South Carolina…don’t matter when it gets down to it. All those comeback wins do is increase the drama for the next two weekends.

I’ve been dreaming of Missouri playing Alabama in Atlanta.

But, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

I think it’s going to be Missouri playing Auburn.


Quick Hits

-Yes, the Blues lost yesterday in Washington, but I’m not sure I expected a different result. They were playing their third game in four days…and an afternoon game at that. Despite getting beat 4-1, the Blues outshot the Capitals 47-20. Bottom line, they’re coming off a five-game homestand in which they picked up nine of a possible 10 points.

-Maybe I’m off the mark, but the Bears strike me as the kind of team that will be a bad matchup for the Rams. The combination of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery with Matt Forte will be a hell of a test for the Rams’ defense.

-I’d put it at about a 10% chance of happening, but if Missouri were to beat Ole Miss, Texas A & M, and Alabama/Auburn, I’m more convinced following this weekend that they would actually get a shot at the BCS National Championship. Baylor will have its hands full Saturday at Oklahoma State. I’d be surprised if they win that game. And Ohio State is vulnerable at both Michigan and in the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State. With wins over Ole Miss, Texas A & M, and either Alabama or Auburn, Missouri passes all of the other one-loss teams.

Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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Sonderep
# Sonderep
Monday, November 18, 2013 3:26 PM
Tim's passion for Mizzou is admirable, but beware that it will also ignite the anti-Mizzou crowd. Why? Statments such as "I’ve been dreaming of Missouri playing Alabama in Atlanta. But, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be Missouri playing Auburn" anger that faction. Everyone in the country, except Mizzou fans, believes the likely SEC Championship game will involve Alabama vs. South Carolina. You won't hear it now from the anti-Mizzou crowd, because they'll let the facts play out (thinking, rightfully or wrongfully, how uninformed Mizzou fans are). The anti crowd used to be Kansas and Big Ten fans. Now, it is the entire SEC too.

Tim McKernan
# Tim McKernan
Monday, November 18, 2013 5:52 PM
If anyone gets angry over a person's view on the outcome of a future game, then I'm happy to have that person on the other side of the table from me.

I watch a hell of a lot of college football (my numbers on this site against the spread this year point to that), and while it's far from a lock that Missouri would wins these next two games, the "belief" that "everyone in the country" has on South Carolina vs. Alabama is, in my opinion, more likely rooted in the names of the programs rather than actually watching a lot of Missouri or Mississippi or Auburn football…minus the 4th Quarter Saturday in Auburn.

Perception is what leads to spreads in Las Vegas.

Missouri's perception is based on the past, whereas this team hasn't lost a game with the QB returning Saturday…and they've won every game they've played minus South Carolina by 15 points or more.

They were fluky in 2008 in getting to the Big 12 Championship Game. They were fluky in 2010 when they got into the Top 10.

Because of the fact that the defense travels with you (whereas offenses can go to hell on the road), and because of the stability and strength of the offensive line, I allocate a likely probability of them winning at Ole Miss…and then at home against Texas A & M.

I picked the Rangers to win the World Series in this column in 2011 (based on the belief that Chris Carpenter was hurt…and the Cardinals were downplaying it). So, I'm not afraid to express an opinion that wouldn't be popular.

I'm sure "everyone" "believed" that Missouri would win 6 or 7 games this year as well. I wasn't sure they'd win that many. New data comes in. You adjust your projections.

Missouri winning isn't a lock. Missouri losing isn't a lock. But the idea that anything I wrote about their chances to do so angering anti-Missouri fans is rather odd to me. And, if someone would like to dissent and provide their reasoning for doing so *in advance* of the game, I'd personally give that perspective a much greater amount of respect and credibility than the handjobs you'll find in comments sections, on message boards, or on Twitter who are incredibly brilliant *after the fact* with sweet ass posts like "you were saying?" or "told you so."

I enjoy a debate, and hell, if someone can provide some strong evidence for an opposing viewpoint, I may use it to turn that evidence into a profitable wager.

But, for now, I think the view on both Missouri and Alabama for that matter is rooted more in their histories than what they've actually done on the field in the last couple of months.
Sonderep
# Sonderep
Monday, November 18, 2013 9:39 PM
Good grief D.J. - save the comments about trolls for the folks, as Tim points out, who will say "I told you so" if Mizzou loses in the next 2 weeks, or even gets beat down by Alabama later. I was attempting to point out that comments, like the ones I quoted, are similar to locker room bulletin board material for fans-in this case anti-Mizzou people. Think Ole Miss fans, A&M fans, Bama fans. Tim's 66% chance of Mizzou facing Bama may be correct. But the others I mentioned think the opposite. Probably 20%. That is why the hate will come out if Truman goes down. Let's hope Tim is right.

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