I wouldn't be against it, but every SEC team outside of Alabama has historically been against a nine-game league schedule. Their reasoning is the league is hard enough with an eight-game schedule, why cost yourself a chance at the playoff/bowl eligibility by making the schedule more demanding? Would it make for a better overall product and more interesting season? Maybe. But there could be some unintended consequences. Let's say if Tennessee has to play one more SEC West team every year, in addition to its permanent game with Alabama plus its rotating West team, they could be looking at a nine-game slate of the other six East teams, Alabama, Auburn and LSU. If so, the Vols are probably hesitant about scheduling a high-profile nonconference game. If a nine-game schedule costs the SEC some of the quality noncon matchups we've seen over the years and we'll see again this year - Clemson-Texas A&M; Auburn-Oregon; Florida-Miami; LSU-Texas; Notre Dame-Georgia - then I'm not sure an nine-game schedule is for the best.
A couple things: After a disappointing year for the Gamecocks, relatively speaking, they had three transfers. Not all transfers leave on their own volition. The player Mizzou landed, LaDazhia Williams, barely saw the floor for South Carolina the last two years. She averaged less than 2 points and 2 rebounds per game and around 6 minutes. I don't suspect Dawn Staley was devastated that she left the team just based on production. Also, Staley just signed five more five-star recruits, including two 6-4 or taller. That tells me South Carolina already recruited replacements for Williams. If so, I don't think South Carolina is loosing too much sleep on the move.
Heupel finished third for AP national coach of the year and was named first-year coach of the year by the FWAA, but Cincinnati's Luke Fickell was named the American Athletic Conference coach of the year. Heupel inherited a much better situation at UCF, so I can understand where voters within the conference favored would Fickell did with the Bearcats in his second year, winning 11 games.
Good question. I'll go with Mark Smith.
Mizzou has as much returning as any team in the SEC and more than most. That's what happens when you only lose two players from your rotation - three if you count Santos and four if you count Suggs. But the bulk of the team will be returning players, and there's a lot to like about the nucleus. But so much is going to hinge on how much the three freshmen-turned-sophomores improve. If all three become reliable players and consistent producers, and you lump then in with the three Smiths, Tilmon in his third college year and whatever you get out of the three freshmen, that has the makings of a pretty talented, versatile core. But not every player makes huge leaps from one year to the next. For Mizzou to get back to the tournament, all those returning players have to be improve. Any slippage and this team won't be much more than middle of the pack in the SEC - a league that's seeing a lot of turnover in both coaching and personnel this offseason.
After reading the recent Sports Illustrated story about the demise of the AAF, I have more faith in the XFL. Say what you want about Vince McMahon, but he knows how to run a company. He's got a smart man in Oliver Luck in place, too. The XFL will learn from the AAF's mistakes, which really started with all the failed promises to deliver technology that would make the league more attractive to gamblers. If the XFL focuses more on football and entertainment on the field, it might have more staying power. I hope it's a success in St. Louis.
When you say the "older SEC teams" who are you talking about? The fans? The players? The coaches? The campus administrators? In reality not every segment that makes up the other institutions all share the same outlook on things. There will always be an older generation of people aligned with schools in the SEC that will look down on Mizzou. Heck, when MU joined the league there were people at Arkansas and South Carolina who felt they weren't fully embraced by the league - even they they had been part of the SEC for nearly 25 years. I think if you ask most fans who travel to road games in the SEC and parents of players will tell you they have good experiences with the fan bases across the league. Every fan base has its share of knuckleheads, Mizzou included. But I don't sense some widespread disrespect of Mizzou. For one, coaches don't feel that way because they jump around to different schools all the time. Half of Odom's staff was at a different SEC school when Mizzou joined the league.
I have a different perspective than the fans, so my memories aren't decided by who wins or loses the game. I didn't enjoy seeing Henry Josey tear up his knee against Texas in 2011. That was hard to watch. On the flip side, I enjoyed seeing him have his big comeback game in the opener two years later. Usually my good days and bad days at the office are measured by the level of panic or comfort on deadline. If I've got some good quotes and a compelling story to write and enough time to file a story I'm happy with, that's a good day. If all hell breaks loose on deadline, I can barely make it down to interviews and have to file a story that's below my standards, that's a bad day.
OK, folks. Thanks for playing along today. We'll do this again next week.