05

Missouri-Florida

Do you realize you witnessed something that hadn’t happened since 1979 in Missouri football Saturday?

Well, that’s assuming you watched the Tigers play Florida at The Swamp.

I can’t blame you if you didn’t want to spend your Saturday late morning/early afternoon watching an 18.5 point underdog head to an assumed slaughter in Gainesville.

But, if you did watch it, you saw the most complete Missouri defensive performance against a Top 10 team on the road since…1979.

On September 22, 1979, the Tigers held #9 Ole Miss to just seven points in a 33-7 victory at Oxford.

Unfortunately, because this was one of the most incomplete quarterback performances of the post-Darius Outlaw Era, the defensive performance went to waste.

I honestly can’t recall a game in which the Tigers played a damn good team so well---so dominating---defensively…and yet on the other side of the ball watched a quarterback play so terribly.

James Franklin isn’t a particularly good quarterback as it is.

But, when you combine his injury and the parade of injuries to the Missouri offensive line, you had the recipe for a quarterbacking catastrophe.

With that all out there, I’ve got a tough time blaming Franklin’s injury for his horrid performance.

Most of the focus in reviewing this 14-7 loss is on Franklin’s four interceptions, but he missed receivers by overthrowing the football throughout the game.

It speaks volumes for Missouri’s depth at quarterback---and specifically Corbin Berkstresser---that Franklin was left out there as he damn near singlehandedly cost the Tigers their first win on the road against a Top 10 team since…Ole Miss in 1979.

“I played horrible,” Franklin told Dave Matter of The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Pretty succinct.

Sheldon Richardson, who played like a monster, fired what I interpreted to be a more harsh shot…albeit not directly…but you can read between the lines. Here’s what Richardson had to say when Matter asked him about Missouri’s offensive problems:

“I’m used to it now.”

Boom.

The Missouri defense allowed Florida just 11 first downs. As bad as the Tigers were, they had 23.

The Gators were two for 13 on 3rd downs. As bad as the Tigers were, they were six for 16.

Florida’s offense may not be Oregon’s, but the Gators put up 44 points on South Carolina just two weeks ago at The Swamp.

And yet there was Missouri…with 21 seconds left…with a chance to win.

And then another interception.

End.

Missouri’s last six drives ended in Florida territory.

Missouri’s last six drives ended without points.

I haven’t seen Maty Mauk play.

But, I have seen James Franklin play.

And for the sake of Missouri football in 2013, Mauk better win that job this Spring.


College Football Paradise

I watched college football all day Saturday. I watched NFL football all day Sunday.

Man, I enjoy watching the college game so much more.

I’m not sure why.

I think it’s the passion of the fans and the atmosphere in the stadiums.

Either way, I watched:

-Missouri-Florida
-Pittsburgh-Notre Dame
-Oregon-USC
-Oklahoma State-Kansas State
-Alabama-LSU

I’m not sure I’ve sat and watched 12 hours of football like that before in my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anna-Marie was out for a bachelorette party all day long, and so I was one man with one television and one remote.

So, with that all out there, I’m of this opinion:

As much as I’d like to see Notre Dame play Alabama for the Yankees-Cardinals World Series of college football, Oregon and Alabama are in a different stratosphere than Notre Dame…and yes, Kansas State.

With Collin Klein injured and his status uncertain, the Wildcats’ chances are more up in the air than I thought going into the weekend.

They still have to travel to TCU and Baylor…and then host Texas to finish off the regular season…with no Big 12 Championship Game.

I had thought it was a done deal they’d run the table. But, with no Klein, they’re a different team. A much different team. And an average Oklahoma State team was able to mount a rally against them when Klein was out of the game.

Of course, Notre Dame is fortunate they don’t have three or four losses. They’ve had to dodge bullets at home against Purdue (20-17), Stanford (20-13 F-OT), BYU (17-14), and again Saturday by beating Pittsburgh 29-26 in 3OT.

I saw Chiefs’ offensive lineman tweet Saturday afternoon that he finally figured out who the 2012 Fighting Irish reminded him of: the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes. They didn’t blow anybody out. They played to their competition. And they just kept winning…somehow.

Notre Dame should have no problem at Boston College (although the Golden Eagles have ended Notre Dame undefeated seasons in November twice…in 1993 and 2002) and at home against Wake Forest. But, the run…and the dream match-up for some…could come to an end November 24th at USC.

Of course, if USC plays that day like it did Saturday against Oregon, Notre Dame may just finish the regular season undefeated. The Trojans allowed 62 points to the Ducks…and had Oregon not awkwardly tried to slow itself down---which it’s actually incapable of---USC could’ve/would’ve allowed 70 points or more.

Of course, the Trojans put up 51 points on Oregon…which makes you wonder how that Notre Dame defense would do against USC…and makes you wonder how that Oregon defense would do against Alabama.

The Ducks have the toughest schedule left of the four contenders. No question. After what should be a Colorado-like asskicking this weekend at California, Oregon has to host Stanford, travel to Oregon State, and then play in the Pac-12 Championship Game (against either USC or UCLA).

As good as they are, they won’t get to roll to the BCS Championship Game like the Tide should after their thrilling comeback in Baton Rouge Saturday night. A.J. McCarron’s drive and tears will live in Alabama football history forever if McCarron becomes the first Tide QB to win two National Championships…because of what he did in the final two minutes after playing so poorly for the first 28 minutes of the second half. Alabama hosts a damn good and damn surprising Texas A & M team Saturday. Then it’s Western Carolina and Auburn. I’m not sure which one will be a bigger blowout.

Alabama may have to deal with Georgia in Atlanta for the SEC Championship, but it’s tough to see the Bulldogs pulling off the upset against a team that now has to feel like the BCS Championship is their destiny after Saturday.

The Crimson Tide will basically have a month to prepare for Georgia considering the ease that is the final two weeks of their regular season schedule (Western Carolina and Auburn).

As someone who grew up in a Notre Dame household, I’d love to see the Fighting Irish play Alabama for the National Championship. I’m sure the networks would love it as well. It’d be an orgasm of ratings.

But, it’d be hard to argue with Alabama’s defense trying to stop Oregon’s offense.

At this moment, the Tide and Ducks are the class of college football.


Quick Hits

-On TheITDRoll.com Morning After on Friday, Cardinal GM John Mozeliak made it clear that the team would like to sign Adam Wainwright [AUDIO]. However, he said there was no urgency to address the starter’s deal, which expires after next season.

-I’m not sure there are better bets right now than Kansas State and Oregon…as long as they remain undefeated along with Notre Dame. The only disclaimer is that K-State has to have Klein in order for this theory to work. But, as long as they’re having a cock-tracing contest to edge each other out for the #2 spot, they’re going to run it up. K-State at TCU isn’t on the board yet…because of Klein’s injury. Oregon is a 27 point favorite at Cal.

-Missouri is a three-point underdog at Tennessee Saturday.

-Mozeliak on shortstop in 2013: If Furcal is not healthy, we’ll have to get some support at the position. Nothing against Kozma, but we’d need to get some support.

-Because three members of my fantasy team are on the Redskins, I’ve watched lots of Washington football this year. I don’t know what Mike Shanahan’s job stability is there, but I’m shocked by some of the fundamental errors that team makes. For a team with RGIII and Alfred Morris to not score a touchdown is an illustration of the mess that they have there. My guess is that if the guy coaching wasn’t named Shanahan, you’d hear more about him being on the hot seat. Why is this relevant to Rams’ fans? Well, the Rams get the Redskins’ first round pick in April. The Redskins are 3-6. Shanahan said they’re already looking toward next year following the loss to the Panthers. Rams’ fans should be fans of whoever the Redskins are playing each week…and my guess is you’ll be happy on Sunday more often than not the rest of the way.

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