Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sidelines - July 31

"Sidelines" features a collection of Mizzou related news and notes...

-- It's not exactly breaking news at this point, but Tiger great Brad Smith has been moved back to quarterback by the New York Jets. Smith always expressed a fondness and desire for staying at QB, but made the transition to WR last year to further his NFL hopes. ETS and Tiger fans send their best to Brad, an outstanding athlete and an even better ambassador for the University of Missouri.

-- Mizzou will hold its fifth annual Fan Day on Aug. 5, giving fans a chance to meet players and coaches, collect autographs and walk around the Faurot Field surface. For those over the age of 12, a chance to mingle with the Golden Girls and cheerleaders is certainly an added bonus, as is the debut of new 2007 merchandise (Dri-Fit polo, anyone?).

-- Wendell Barnhouse, writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and an ETS-favorite as far as Big 12 coverage is concerned, has Mizzou ranked No. 24 entering the season. Barnhouse touches on all the Mizzou talking points: electric offense, questionable defense, Chase Daniel's "it" factor, and Pinkel loosening up.
In addition, Barnhouse rubs salt in this black and gold wound: "3-10: Combined record for Missouri in the final month of the past three seasons."

-- While not football related, ETS sends a hearty congrats to Mizzou baseball coach Tim Jamieson, who was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches' Association. Jamieson has been building a growing power out at Taylor Stadium, including hosting an NCAA regional this past spring.

ETS Top 25 - No. 10-6

No need for too much explanation - here's how ETS sees No. 10-6 heading into this season with a little help from our friends at YouTube.

No. 10 - Cal

Cal couldn't keep up with USC or Tennessee last year, lost on the road in Arizona, and needed OT to beat Washington. Why does this matter? It doesn't.

After spanking Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl last year, things look bright on Tightwad Hill, especially with USC making the trip to Berkeley this season. Teams should expect a healthy dose of Nate Longshore to DeSean Jackson, and although losing Marshawn Lynch will hurt, Justin Forsett is an agile, 20-carry type of a back.

As for DeSean Jackson, isn't everyone still buzzing about his matchup with Texas' Aaron Ross in the Holiday Bowl? At ETS, we sure are glad Desmond Howard told us to watch out for it.

No. 9 - Wisconsin

Bret Bielema had arguably the greatest first season of any coach in college history, going 12-1 with a win over Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl. A favorable schedule (Michigan comes to Madison), stacked defense and talented RB P.J. Hill has some publications, including Street and Smith's, listing Wisconsin as the team to beat in the Big 10 (+1).Tyler Donovan steps in for Joe Stocco this season, and it's BCS or bust in Wisconsin.

Over the past few years, Wisconsin has become one of the conference's, in not the nation's, premier programs. How they do this year may determine whether or not it stays that way. Jump around.

No. 8 - Louisville

I might be the last person on the Louisville bandwagon, as I flat out refused to believe the Cardinals were among the top teams in the nation. After beating West Virginia and winning the Big East last season, consider me converted.

Bobby Petrino has the pleasure of cleaning up the dogfighting mess in Atlanta, while Steve Kragthorpe has the opportunity to ride the talent Petrino left behind. Brian Brohm is a Heisman contender, but he has a lot of prove after what transpired in Piscataway, NJ against Rutgers last year.

Although they're the defending champions, people have pegged West Virginia as the team to beat in the Big East. The Cardinals will likely enter Morgantown 9-0, and if they win there, will likely have their championship hopes on the line against Rutgers at home in the season finale. After last year's Rutgers-Louisville game, it'll be "showtime in the 'ville," apparently.

No. 7 - Texas

My favorites to take the Big 12 South, Texas continues to benefit from "Coach February" stockpiling talent with top recruiting classes every year. Fans of Big 12 South opponents seem to foster an absolute hatred for Colt McCoy, his 12-year-old visage and his paper-thin limbs. But the fact of the matter is, all he has to do is distribute the ball to a stacked receiving corps while being protected by a stacked offensive line. Limas Sweed, Jordan Shipley, Quan Cosby, Billy Pittman, and Jermichael Finley will give the Big 12's shoddy defensive backs fits.

McCoy's health will always be a concern after how he finished 2006, but oh how quickly people forget earlier parts of the season.

No. 6 - Virginia Tech

Tragedy or no tragedy, this team was still going to enter 2007 as a damn good football team. Sean Glennon and Branden Ore represent the ACC's top QB-RB tandem, and the linebacker combination of Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi is enough to make any opposing offense with they were the ones in the brown pants. The Hokies travel to Death Valley twice this year - although in different states. Their matchup with LSU on Sept. 8 is the most highly anticipated game of the season, and an Oct. 6 game at Clemson will give a good indication of where this team stands in the ACC.

One more thing the Hokies have going for them? Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech has one of the most simple entrances in college football, but seeing the players crowd the claustropohic tunnel while "Enter Sandman" blares before running out with the American flag is a grand sight. The look on Beamer's face in the clip says all you need to know about his confidence at home.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The countdown begins... 32 Days

In 32 days...

Faurot comes alive.


Photo courtesy University of Missouri

ETS Top 25 - No. 15-11

No need for too much explanation - here's how ETS sees No. 15-11 heading into this season with a little help from our friends at YouTube.

No. 15 - Auburn

Most of the offseason buzz from Iron Bowl participants has been going to team in Tuscoloosa, not the team in Auburn. It'd be easy to say Auburn struggled in big games last year (having lost to Georgia and Arkansas), but this is a team that defeated the eventual national champions by 10 points and **only lost to LSU by a score of 7-3. Nick Saban may have the attention in Alabama, but Auburn has five consecutive Iron Bowls. Which would you prefer?

**EDITOR'S NOTE: Auburn defeated LSU 7-3. Poor research on my part.

While Mizzou fans were drinking themselves numb after a loss to Texas A&M last year, Auburn was busy swarming Urban Meyer and the Florida offense.

No. 14 - Oklahoma

It was extremely tempting to put OU higher and proclaim them the Big 12 favorites, but with so much uncertainty at QB, I just can't do it. Oklahoma will be, well, Oklahoma. Allen Patrick and young phenom DeMarco Murray will run all over Big 12 defenses, but OU will really take off if Joey Halzle, Sam Bradford or Keith Nichol can find a way to keep defenses honest. WRs Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias and TE Joe Jon Finley are a fine set of pass catchers, but the point is moot without anyone distributing the football.

As for Kelly's other passion? Check the clip and weigh in on whether or not he should keep his day job.

No. 13 - Georgia

Growing up in North Texas, I was able to follow the career of Matthew Stafford during his days at Highland Park, including an epic shootout between he and Ennis' Graham Harrell (now of Texas Tech) in a playoff game at Texas Stadium. Stafford has an absolute cannon for an arm, and word around Athens is that Mark Richt may let him fire it this year. His receivers were an immense disappointment last season, but if they are able to hold on to passes this year, Georgia could give Florida one hell of a run for the SEC East. Georgia struggled early last season, but a 31-24 win over Virginia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl has the program pointed up in a hurry.

If Stafford can come close to even sniffing the success he had in Texas' Class 4A, the Top 10 may be seeing red sooner rather than later.

No. 12 - Ohio State

The Buckeye offense may have been gutted of most of its talent, including burner Ted Ginn and Heisman winner Troy Smith, but one key cog will remain: RB Chris Wells. The sophomore lit up the high school level and the Army All-American game two years ago, and announced his arrival on the national scene with a 52-yard touchdown run in "The Game" against Michigan last season.

No. 11 - Arkansas

Darren McFadden, known as "humanity advanced" by our friends at Every Day Should Be Saturday, may be the most amazing athlete I've seen in my life. Whether he was in the backfield, under center in the Wildcat formation, or split out wide, D-Mac was the most electric, dynamic player in college football last year. While it can be argued that QB Casey Dick sucks (bad reference here), McFadden and Felix Jones go 1-2 in the backfield and return as No. 1-2 in SEC rushing from last season.

Highlight videos from McFadden's 2006 season have been known to cause seizures among SEC defensive coordinators.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Sunday Morning QB recently unveiled its Big 12 projections, naming Mizzou second in the Big 12 North behind Nebraska.

The story sounds familiar: offense is stout, defense has questions.

Check it out here.

ETS Top 25 - No. 20-16

No need for too much explanation - here's how ETS sees No. 20-16 heading into this season with a little help from our friends at YouTube.

No. 20 - TCU

Gary Patterson has built one of the most solid, under-recognized programs in the nation down in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs are a preseason runaway favorite to win the Mountain West, and several supporters are starting BCS buzz. The kicker in that plan might be a Sept. 8 trip to Austin to face Texas, but be on upset watch.

For those prepared to say "what has TCU ever done?," allow me to refer you to the following video of someone you might have heard of from his purple days.


No. 19 - Nebraska

For all the tradition Husker fans try to cram down the throats of America, give the Huskers their due. They return a formidable team but a hellacious schedule that includes ACC champ Wake Forest on the road, Pac 10 champ USC at home, tough Big 12 teams Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Kansas State at home, as well as Mizzou and Texas on the road.

Not to mention, the Huskers pin their hopes and complex pro style offense on Sam Keller, who must earn the trust of his teammates - something he failed to do in his time at Arizona State.

Nebraska and Texas A&M played an epic in College Station last year, and although it will pain Mizzou fans to see the Huskers win, take solace in the fact that Aggie CB Jordan Peterson just had a touchdown stolen from him. Call it karma for the Will Franklin incident.


No. 18 - MIZZOU

Why do I have the Tigers one spot ahead of Nebraska? One simple fact: the home team has won the battle for the Missouri-Nebraska Bell for the last four years. Nebraska will be in Columbia on national TV at night in 2007. The schedule sets up perfectly for the Tigers outside of opening Big 12 play with Nebraska, OU and Texas Tech. Chase Daniel leads an offense returning 97 percent of the yards from last year's eighth-ranked unit. If the defense can stop the run and the team can avoid sleeper games on the road at Kansas State and Colorado, big things could be brewing in CoMo.

For proof of Daniel's competitive fire and the team's response, look no further than the play he makes on 3rd-and-18 here (57 seconds into the clip).


No. 17 - Penn State

Anthony Morelli and the Nittany Lions should be rolling into 2007, especially after a 20-10 win in the Outback Bowl against Tennessee last season. "Linebacker U" may see its next great in MLB Dan Connor. Penn State will have to travel to the Big House to meet Michigan, but Wisconsin and Ohio State must both make the trip to Happy Valley to meet Zombie Nation.


No. 16 - UCLA

UCLA is the sexy pick for "team most likely to make Les Miles shut the hell up" (trademark ETS). One season removed from creating unparalleled BCS chaos with a home upset of USC, the Bruins are legit players in the Pac 10 scene and should give Cal a run at the No. 2 spot in the conference. A midseason home date against Notre Dame will showcase on a national stage what to expect from the Bruins in the second half of the season.

Looking at the following clip, it's very apparent that when John David Booty throws left and his pass gets tipped, upsets follow (i.e.: OSU and UCLA).


Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Loss in the Mizzou Family

Every True Son would like to send its deepest condolences to the Sheehan family and to the Mizzou family at large for the loss of Mizzou Hall of Famer Mel Sheehan.

Now, I'm not scared to admit Sheehan's contributions were before my time, but his contributions to the MU Athetlic Dept. are chronicled in this article by St. Louis Post Dispatch Mizzou writer Graham Watson.

Sheehan was inducted into the Mizzou Hall of Fame in 1997.

ETS Top 25 - No. 25-21

No need for too much explanation - here's how ETS sees No. 25-20 heading into this season with a little help from our friends at YouTube (although I'm currently unable to embed videos. But trust me, the extra clicks are worthwhile).

No. 25 - Texas A&M

Texas A&M has top 15-esque talent and the best rushing offense this side of West Virginia. As much as I want to put the pride of Aggieland higher, Big 12 fans know that the Aggies' schedule is somewhere between brutal and root canal. The 12th Man (don't sue me) can enjoy Montana State, Fresno State and Louisana-Monroe, because road tests at Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas Tech, in addition to tough games against Oklahoma State and Texas at home, may do the Aggies in.

But when it comes to atmosphere, Texas A&M does college football right. Props to the Ags for their "There's a Spirit" video, followed by the Aggies marching into the stadium behind a drum cadence. Pure beauty. Tiger fans - close your eyes at 3:13 in the clip and pretend it never happened.


No. 24 - Rutgers

Me in 2005 would want to stab me in 2007 for even implying Rutgers should sniff the top 25. Simply put though? Trust in Ray.


No. 23 - Clemson

I bit completely on the Clemson bandwagon last year, only to watch them choke against Maryland and Boston College - both worthy opponents, but both very beatable. C.J. Spiller and James Davis will wear out defenses, but if things go poorly for new QB Cullen Harper, expect for fans to call for the Willy Korn era to begin early.

Clemson also earns points for its entrance through the fans after touching Howard's Rock. The most exciting 25 seconds in college football? I don't think so. Pretty damn cool? Absolutely.


No. 22 - Oregon State

Following Oregon State's win/Mizzou's collapse at the Sun Bowl last year, ranking the Beavers may either be a kick in the groin to Tiger fans or vindication that it took a great performance by a good football team to beat Mizzou. Matt Moore is gone from Corvallis, but Yvenson Bernard remains behind a stout offensive line.

And let us not forget, Oregon State was responsible for one of the bigger upsets of the regular season in 2006.


No. 21 - Boise State

You may not have heard, but Boise State had an exciting bowl game last year. I can't recall whether or not highlights were shown on ESPN.

Ian Johnson, last seen having a wedding proposal ruined by Chris Myers, is back in Boise and gives them favored status in the WAC. Whether or not the team is BCS-bound likely hinges on the final game of the season, a road test against high-flying Hawaii in a battle of likely-undefeated.

Oh, and I managed to dig up some footage from the bowl game. I really wish the media had covered it better.


Friday, July 27, 2007

The Debate: Big 12 vs. Big 10 (+1)

I had not planned to begin Mizzou posting until August, but recent events have forced my hand and Mizzou fans would be ignorant not to respond.

For years, there had been grumblings that Mizzou would be a perfect candidate for inclusion into the Big 10. Those grumblings have gotten louder in recent days for two reasons:

1) Kevin Weiberg, ex-Big 12 commissioner, joined the Big Ten Network staff in late July, immediately supporting a 12-team conference with a championship game. Big 10 commish Jim Delany has wasted no time jumping on board

2) ESPN's new show, College Football Live, has been debating the idea ad nauseum.

Mizzou AD Mike Alden has since said he has not been contacted regarding a possible move. Notre Dame, Colorado, Iowa State, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have also been rumored to be on the move someday. However, Mizzou appears to be the frontrunner in most pundits' minds. Notre Dame was in talks with the Big Ten as recently as 1999, but it's hard to fathom Notre Dame moving and sacrificing its independence, and more importantly, its TV contract with NBC.

Missouri, given its geographical position, has always seemed like a good fit for the Big Ten. Mizzou has already developed the Arch Rivalry against Illinois with yearly basketball games in St. Louis, which will be supplemented by yearly football games in STL until 2010.

But here's an expanded breakdown of what exactly this move would mean for Mizzou:

- Development of the Missouri-Illinois Arch Rivalry
- Increased prescence in the Midwest, especially in recruiting
- Consequent increase in media coverage, between Big 10-loving ESPN and, to a lesser extent, the Big Ten Network
- Revenue sharing gives Mizzou equal piece of Big Ten revenue pie, as opposed to the 11th-ranked piece the Tigers get in the Big 12. In 2005-2006, Mizzou was allocated $6.53 million. Texas received the most, with $9.68 million.
- If the conference was split into East/West divisions, Mizzou would likely be joined in the West by Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Save for Wisconsin, no one in this group even begins to come close to "perennial power." Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana would form the West. Columbia Tribune Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter outlined this plan in a June blog post.

- Border War with Kansas is no longer in-conference; Burgeoning rivalry with Nebraska likely dies
- Football takes MASSIVE recruiting hit in Texas without Big 12 ties and exposure. From a football standpoint, this fact alone may be the biggest deal breaker.
- The move to Big Ten West would not be a substantial upgrade over the Big 12 North. In fact, the Big 12 North almost seems easier to win, Mizzou has just choked opportunities over the last few years.
- Big 12 is an emerging basketball power. If Mike Anderson's team were to be a top 3-4 team in the conference in the next couple years, doing so in the Big 12 would give them instant credibility.
- If the Big 12 truly values Mizzou (where there is no inclination that they actually do), Alden and the department can use the Big Ten offer as leverage into Big 12 revenue sharing, while keeping the above points intact.

So, Mizzou blog nation, Big XII blog nation, Big Ten blog nation - your thoughts?

ETS Top 25 - Coming Soon

While Mizzou-centric posts will not begin until August, the Every True Son Top 25 will debut Saturday with No. 25-21 and continue with five teams per day until No. 1 is revealed.

Now, I don't want to drop hints on who will be where, but here are ten teams that didn't quite make the cut:

26. Tennessee
27. Florida State
28. Oklahoma State
29. Hawaii
30. South Florida
31. BYU
32. Wake Forest
33. Georgia Tech
34. Kansas State
35. Boston College

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Launching in August

Tiger fans, haters, and to all in-between,

Every True Son will launch in August with one goal in mind - becoming the definitive Mizzou sports blog.

Prepare for hot sports opinions, predictions, roundtables, breaking news, and links to articles and stories about Tiger sports and all that entails.

So get ready, as, in keeping with the new Mizzou athletic slogan, Every True Son is about to be "unleashed."

-- RT