Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

Bring your Tigers football, basketball and recruiting questions, and talk to Dave Matter in a live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Dave, to answer James question about BB players looking good in football uniform, how about Monte Hardge (sp.)?
    Wearing my black for the game today (Sec. 129). I really believe this is a win game, but can't help to feel apprehensive going in. I'm hoping for a turnover-free game from us and our defense turns the field around with a couple from Tech. I'm hoping for a strong game and not a Missouri State game where we scored 72, but told of things to come by allowing 43 points. I've heard of Tech's air raid offense, but know little of the rushing attack. Are they capable of putting up Tennessee-esque numbers on the ground?
    I wouldn't expect that kind of ground game from LA Tech. A little hard to predict with a new head coach, new play-caller, new system, new QB. But Sonny Cumbie likes to throw the ball around like most Air Raid coaches. His offense at Texas Tech year averaged 33.5 carries per game last year, second-fewest in the Big 12.
    I was wondering if you could shed any more light on the decision to replace Middle Tennessee with LATech. It seems like a lot of money to pay just to play LATech on ESPNU....especially when you have a good noncon games scheduled with KState already. Were they really worried about playing them on the road or was it just the fact that they made a mistake scheduling a noncon road game? Do you think that was a smart decision for a program that has been in the red for the past several seasons?
    I wrote a pretty extensive story about the decision.
    Short version: The Middle Tennessee series was set up by past AD regimes. Then the K-State game was added, giving MU two road games to start the year. That's virtually unheard of in the SEC. Nobody schedules two road games to start the year with a third home game in week four. Mizzou HAD to change that. 
    So, they asked MTSU if they could play the game in Columbia instead. MTSU declined and said pay us the buyout. Mizzou obliged. Reed-Francois went to the SEC and said let's find an opponent for a Thursday prime-time game. ESPN got involved and helped play matchmaker. They got several other schools to rework their schedules so MU could get Louisiana Tech for an affordable price. $500K, which is probably below market price for a decent Conference USA team, especially as late as they changed the schedule.
    Spending $1.3M to give the fans what they have wanted - a night game - isn't a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, especially if you sell more season tickets and draw a decent crowd. 
    Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money - and this seems like a wise investment. 
    I was really disappointed in Tottenham’s draw yesterday with West Ham. Do you think they will do anything before the transfer window closes today?
    I'm just a casual EPL fan and don't get into the weeds of the transfer window.
    Since Brett Gabbert is only 6’0”” he was not recruited by Mizzou and apparently all of the power 5 conferences. So he ends up at the MAC school, Miami of Ohio. Last week Brett was put on the preseason watch list for the Manning award, Davy O’Brien award and the Maxwell award. Being only 6 feet tall didn’t stop Chase Daniel from leading the Tigers to the successes they had while he was the QB. I didn’t see any of the 4 QBs on this year’s roster on any of the 3 watch lists. Not saying, Gabbert wins any of the three awards, I’m just wondering what the people who put him on their watch list are seeing that MU recruiters and all other power 5 teams did not see?
    There's a big difference between evaluating and recruiting high school players and putting an already proven college player on a meaningless award watch list. Gabbert has earned his college accolades on the field. Also, there's more to evaluating QBs than height. Maybe the Power Five coaches didn't think he had the arm to play at their level. Maybe they were all wrong. Maybe he wouldn't be as good against a Power Five schedule. Impossible to know. 
    That said, Mizzou took Connor Bazelak in Gabbert's recruiting class and didn't plan to take two QBs. Bazelak had a bunch of Power Five offers and played well enough two years ago to earn SEC freshman of the year. So, I don't think Mizzou has buyer's remorse there. He ended up transferring, but you can't know that at the time. Plus it all happened under a different staff.
    Can you discuss a bit about the decision to have the opening game on a Thursday? I believe DRF said it was to add a night game to the schedule, just curious what the offsets to dampening demand are (I currently see very cheap prices on StubHub)
    Dave - So what your saying with your picks (with the exception of the obvious 4 wins) and your previous comment about the unpredictability of road games - the schedule is just a crap shoot of what we can expect? Or am I missing something? Maybe I'm just having a senior moment? Thank You.
    I'm not sure I follow. On our podcast this week, I picked Mizzou to go 6-6 with home wins over Louisiana Tech, Abilene Christian, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, New Mexico State and Arkansas. 
    I didn't base that off a crap shoot. As or right now, I don't think Mizzou wins the other six games, five of which are on the road. Part of the reason I picked them to lose those five were because they're on the road - and they haven't played well on the road under Drinkwitz thus far. 
    I don't think Monte Hardge's position would be Nose Tackle. It would be "Defensive Line" - the entirety of it.
    Possibly. Would be hard to block for sure.
    Dave,

    How can Mizzou become a school of choice for top end in-state recuits?

    For decades I've watched top programs come into the state of Missouri to pluck blue chip football recuits. AKA, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, ect ect
    Mizzou will never build a fence around the state. It's just not possible. Some years you can get the bulk of your in-state targets but rarely - if ever - all of them. All the power conferences recruit the two big cities. Not all kids identify with the state school. Others just want to get further away from home. 
    Also, Mizzou can't build a winning SEC program with just a bunch of Missouri players. There's not enough, for one. Also, I've noticed this a lot lately, but a good chunk of the top-ranked prospects end up being overrated in this state. I don't know if it's a glitch in the evaluation process or more of a trend. My hunch is once Missouri joined the SEC and more programs started recruiting St. Louis and Kansas City, some of the top prospects got overrated - and never fulfilled the hype because they were overhyped in the first place. The evidence might be more anecdotal, but for all the elite players from the state who signed elsewhere we can find a lot more who never developed into good Power Five players.
    One of the things I love about the chat is every now and then you’ll drop information that wasn’t really ever reported. For example I believe in a recent chat you shared that Cuonzo Martin had previously offered SLU a 2 for 1 in basketball. To my knowledge, that had never been reported before. I guess my questions for you are these: at what point do you make the call that sharing old information/leads is fair game? Is there a certain amount of time that has to pass? Additionally, what do you warrant as being enough to report about versus waiting for official word from a source?
    In the case of the SLU-Missouri series, we had reported that a few times outside of the chat, BenFred included. It might not have been a standalone headline, but it was written within other stories. 
    But overall, I don't like to say things in the chat I wouldn't report in a normal news story. Sometimes though I might know something or hear something that I know is true that doesn't demand a full story but is worth sharing in the chat. It's a judgment call. I don't share things from sources I don't trust - and I'm cautious to a fault sometimes with info because I'm not out to make a name for myself with a big scoop that I don't completely trust to be accurate. The juice ain't always worth the squeeze.
    Dave, thanks for the chat. I look forward to it every week. I was excited to see the Chiefs sign Kendall Blanton to their practice squad. It's cool to see a former MU player get a crack with his hometown team. I know the NFL isn't your beat but do you have any idea why the Rams cut Blanton? Seems like after his playoff performance he would have been able to stick with them.
    The team in Los Angeles has some other tight ends who are healthy now that they clearly like better than Blanton. He made some big plays last year but seemed to get exposed some in the Super Bowl. It was not a great game for him. I don't think they ever viewed him as a long-term option at tight end. But they had lots of injuries at the position.
    That said, I hope he gets to see the field in KC. He's a really likable guy, worked hard to get this far and he's playing fo first-class organization.
    How quickly did Tyler Badie assert himself as the 1 true running back last year? Before the season started coaches were thinking multiple guys would carry the ball, similarly to this year. Wondering if we can have a front runner emerge again.
    I guess it could happen, but at this point last yer Badie was far more proven at the SEC level than any of the current contenders. He was Mizzou's leading receiver in 2019 and the clear-cut No. 2 back behind Rountree as a sophomore and junior. All it took was one game last year to assert himself as the No. 1 guy. He had 203 yards on 25 carries in Week 1. I'd be really surprised if one back comes close to that kind of workload tonight or next week, but you never know. 
    That's one thing I love about my job on game days. I take a seat and really have no idea what's going to unfold over the next four hours. 
    The fans may want night games, but doesn’t the SEC network aka ESPN determine start times, putting the moat competitive games at 6pm start times and the least competitive games at 11am? Didn’t Mizzou have 7 of 11 games at 11am start times last year? .500 records year after year aren’t going to get teams in the 6pm slot. HCED urged fans to support his team. To attend an 11am game, St. Louis fans would have to leave St. Louis on a Saturday morning to get to COMO by 10am and into their seats by game time. If fans want 6 pm starts, the easiest way to do that is for the team to go 8-4 or better instead of 6-6 and a minor bowl bid like they have for the last several seasons. Better start times will come when the team starts winning. Hopefully with the top 20 recruiting seasons recently that will be sooner than later.
    Yes, the networks decide on the kickoff times - and that depends on the quality of your team to some degree. But there's one major exception: If you play on a non-traditional day (Thursday or Friday), you're essentially guaranteed a prime-time slot. That was Mizzou's logic. Rather than be at the mercy of the networks, make the proactive move to Thursday so that the network's only choice is prime-time.
    Dave,

    How can Mizzou become a top destination choice for in-state recuits?

    For decades, I've seen schools come into The State of Missouri and pluck blue chip recuits, AKA Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, ect ect
    Short of building a time machine and winning more games in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, there's no magic formula. You just have to win more so that the best players want to play for your team. You have to sell your vision that they can have a great experience there, i.e., compete for championships and make it to the NFL. 
    Let's count the championships won by the programs you listed.
    Conference titles
    Oklahoma: 50
    Nebraska: 46
    Ohio State: 41
    Notre Dame: n/a
    Missouri: 15 (not since 1969)
    National titles
    Oklahoma: 7
    Nebraska: 5
    Ohio State: 8
    Notre Dame: 11
    Missouri: 0
    Given the desire to get out of the MTSU game for a multitude of reasons, do you think it might become a trend of trying to get out of group of 5 games on the road? Games that comes to mind are the games at Miami (OH) and at UMass, especially since HCED seemed less than thrilled to be playing at Boston College last year. On the other hand, you have a game at Memphis which seems respectable.
    I would expect the current administration to look into getting out of the road games against Group of Five teams. Maybe not all of them but some. (I'd be fine if they keep the games at San Diego State.)
    It seems that tonight Mizzou has no competition from the professional sports teams in Missouri (the Royals play, but it’s a road game at 1 pm). Do you think that helps out with attendance tonight? Logic would say yes, but sometimes logic doesn’t compute with the Mizzou fan base.
    It can't hurt, but if you're a Mizzou fan you only get seven chances a year to see your team play in person, compared to 81 Cardinals games (plus the playoffs) and 81 Royals games. It's hard to compare those choices. Now, if you're deciding between a football game and a MLB playoff game, that's different. But Mizzou should never look at a MLB regular-season baseball game as a competition, especially considering a college football game is also about the whole game-day experience if you do it right.
    Do you think NIL deals will result in local recruits being drawn more to Mizzou than they would have in the past? Specifically, I don't think Luther Burden would have his own line of chips in Athens, GA grocery stores, at least not before he ever played a down in a college game. I think showing recruits how much local brands would latch onto them could play a huge role.
    For the best recruits that NIL boosters are willing to support, yes. I believe that can be true, as it is for Burden. But can Mizzou's fan base support an entire several Burdens in one class? That remains to be seen. Georgia and Alabama are signing mostly four- and five-star prospects. Does Mizzou have the NIL muscle to do the same? We shall see.
    Pardon me if you’ve already posted this, but if you had to choose right now who are your Power 5 conference champions and your projected CFB playoff for the 2022-2023 season?
    I'll give you my Power Five champs and runners-up:
    SEC: Bama over Georgia
    Big Ten: Ohio State over Wisconsin
    Big 12: Oklahoma over Baylor
    ACC: Clemson over Miami
    Pac-12: Utah over USC
    In the playoffs, I have Bama, Ohio State, Utah and Notre Dame. I've got the Irish losing to the Buckeyes on Saturday then running the table to make the final four. They'll have the best loss among one-loss teams. No Georgia. I'm saying they lose one regular-season game (Kentucky? Tennessee?) then lose to Bama in Atlanta.
    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for doing this. Are you able to enjoy game day or is it just too much and you know it's going to be too much so you kind of dread it?
    I love game days. I don't do the tailgate scene because I'm busy working before and after the game, but it's my favorite part of the job, sitting down without knowing what we're about to watch unfold on the field. Any game could become history. A huge upset. A broken record. Endless possibilities. I still get a kick out of that part of the job. And I genuinely enjoy seeing a lot of the familiar faces around the stadium that I've seen for years. I love walking through the parking lots and seeing the environment, both on the road but especially at home. (OK, sometimes I might stop and have a taste or two.)
    Larry Rountree is supposed to get cut by the chargers if he hasn't already, who was the last Mizzou running back to be successful in the NFL?
    Only two Mizzou running backs have ever made the Pro Bowl: Johnny Roland and James Wilder. 
    The last RB to have sustained success was probably Robert Delpino in the late 80s, early 90s.
    Mike Jones had a good NFL career but as a linebacker. 
    Missouri has six million people and two major metro areas. When you compare that to other states and the metro areas of those states Mizzou's population base and economic engine is larger than a lot of competing schools like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, etc. When you add in the fact that they are also the only major division one institution in their state, it is also an advantage. Why do you think Mizzou has failed to capitalize its own market and continues to struggle with donors, funding, recruiting, and attendance. It doesn't make sense to me.
    Good question. I don't think it's all on the school or the athletic department. The football program drives the interest - and when you go through multiple decades of irrelevant football, you lose generations of fan interest. Also, being part of the game-day experience just hasn't been part of the fan culture as much at Mizzou as it is at other places, where fans gobble up season tickets no matter if Phil Steele picks them in the top 25 or the top 125. That's not a knock on Mizzou fans; just reality. 
    It should be pointed out that Drinkwitz is the first Mizzou coach to sign back to back top 20 recruiting classes. He's undoubtedly made progress on that front.
    Lamont Frazier stayed around and played TE after his basketball career. He's one of my all-time favorite Tigers. Do we know what he's doing lately?
    He's been a high school coach at multiple places, most recently in Rogers, Arkansas.
    Does Badie make another team? He was cut by the ravens
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