Greetings, chatters. Hope you had a great Christmas and thanks for joining me for the final Mizzou Chat of 2018. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou. Heck of a Braggin' Rights Game. The Liberty Bowl is a few days away. I hit the road for Memphis tomorrow morning.
I'll head down to Memphis tomorrow. I'll cover a couple press conferences leading up to the game. Hoping to catch up with Jayson Tatum at the Celtics-Grizzlies game on Saturday for a story. I'll have some good meals and maybe enjoy a night on the town, but I'll be holed up in my hotel doing a lot of writing over the four-day stretch.
I don't make recruiting predictions and won't start now. They'll pursue those guys like crazy and hope to add all of them. We'll see what happens.
I wondered the same. An Illinois player had to mop up some sweat also before a free throw. Illinois was the home team, so maybe the Illini forget to book someone for mop duty.
Great question. Missouri will be 9-3 heading into SEC play. I've been saying for months that a .500 finish would be a reasonable goal and an admirable finish. Well, with 18 league games to play, they only have to go 6-12 in the SEC to finish 15-15. The way this team is playing right now, they're better than 6-12 in SEC play. KenPom projects an 8-10 finish right now and a 17-13 record overall. That's probably not enough to get Missouri an NCAA at-large bid, but it's more than enough to get into the NIT, which would be fine for this team considering this became a transition year after Porter got hurt. Just going through the SEC schedule, 12-6 is the ceiling - and that would require some upsets. A 9-9 record is possible - the SEC isn't as strong or as deep as we thought - but that seems like a bit of a stretch. That 8-10 finish sounds reasonable to me. Worst-case scenario I'd say is around 4-14. That would be going winless on the road and only beating the worst teams on the home schedule.
I haven't detected any red flags or warning signs that Mizzou would come out flat in this game. That said, I didn't a year ago either - until the day before the game, when some players seemed pretty consumed with bashing Texas, especially at the big luncheon that afternoon featuring both teams. This Missouri team seems more mature, more business-like, more locked in. But, you never know with these long layoffs. I know that Oklahoma State coaches have been impressed with how their team has been able to bounce back from some rough performances and still play well, play hard despite some bad losses along the way. This has all the makings of a compelling game, more so than, say, last night's Cheez-It Bowl.
I've got a long list of places to try. Not sure I'll make them all, but much appreciated.
I don't get the sense Martin has any plans to go anywhere. He's got a unique contract that pays him pretty well with escalator clauses that increases his salary every year. Plus, if he leaves between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, he owes Mizzou $7.5 million. That goes down to $5 million if he leaves between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020. But unless there's one day an opening at Purdue and Gene Keady urges him to come home and coach the Boilermakers, then I'm not sure there's another job out there that Martin would take. And I'm not all that certain he'd leave Mizzou for Purdue. This is home for him in some sense. His family is nearby. He grew up in St. Louis and East St. Louis. He has all the resources he needs to win on a national level at Mizzou.
I don't know a lot about the team and will learn more once football is done and we're closer to the start of baseball season. They're going to have a strong pitching staff. A healthy Kameron Misner will be one of the best hitters in the SEC. There's high hopes for the recruiting class.
Once I get to town tomorrow afternoon the practices are closed to the media, so I won't make it over there. There's bad weather in Memphis today, so the Tigers moved to Oxford and practiced at Ole Miss.
I think Georgia is better than Oklahoma, a more complete team, but you can make the case that the Sooners have the better profile. They avenged their only loss (to Texas) and Are they picking the four best teams or the four teams with the best credentials? Alabama and Clemson are automatics. Some might disagree, but I believe Notre Dame deserves to be in the mix with wins over eight bowl teams - that's more than Oklahoma - plus wins over USC and Florida State. I wouldn't have minded UGA over Oklahoma, but Georgia didn't have a great win this year. A bunch of good wins - and two losses.
I touched on this earlier, but I would not expect Albert to play in the bowl game. Unsure about the NFL draft. At this point, I'd be surprised if he enters the draft, but he hasn't talked to the media since late October, so I can't say I know where his head is right now.
I'm split on this. You're no more likely to get hurt in a bowl game than you are any other game on the schedule, so I understand the folks who are disappointed in these decisions so sit out. At the same time, if my son was a likely high draft pick and an injury this late in the year would jeopardize his draft stock, then I wouldn't be again sitting out a non-playoff bowl. It's easy to criticize how someone makes their financial decisions, but when it's your money or your family on the line, the perspective can shift.
I don't see any discrepancy. Both are correct. The book was told through Gary's perspective. The players told him they were concerned with Butler's health. That's the explanation they gave him when they were on the brink of announcing the boycott. They did not talk about wanting Wolfe to step down, as we wrote in the book. They agreed to discuss the topic at a team meeting the next day. Then the players put out their tweet aligning with the protest and demanding Wolfe step down. When the team met with Pinkel and Rhoades the next day, they agreed this was about Butler - not campus politics - and when he ended his hunger strike, the player boycott was over. Obviously the hunger strike was connected to Wolfe stepping down, so ending the team boycott was tied to campus politics, but that's not how the situation was explained to Gary.
Interesting take. I would disagree with just about every point. The Florida win was impressive. The final month of the season was impressive. Landing multiple Power 5 QBs was impressive. You can make a case Missouri was the SEC's third of fourth-best team at the end of the regular season. And I think Odom deserves a lot of the credit.
I get the feeling that he's very happy doing what he's doing right now, but there might be an itch to be a head coach again. I think he'll have to do more than five years of coaching receivers in the NFL and a couple years of being an SEC coordinator before he'll get the Tennessee stink off his credentials. Does he want to be a head coach badly enough that he'd take a Group of 5 job? It probably depends on the job. I'm not sure at 50 or 51 he'd want to take another job like La Tech that requires a lot of heavy lifting, not when you can make a million bucks as a Power 5 OC at a decent program.
He's been a regular at road games since Martin was hired. He's not as visible at home games, but he's almost always behind the bench for road games. Bill avoids the spotlight and doesn't talk to the media, but he's no stranger to the program.