What’s next for the Chiefs?

The Chiefs season came to a familiar end, losing in the playoffs...at home. Leading 21-3 at the half, the offense ran just 21 second-half plays and witnessed the Tennessee Titans score 19 unanswered points to win 22-21. Same song, different year. Despite boasting the NFL's rushing leader, Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs gave him only 11 carries, and five in the second half. Andy Reid said afterwards that was because of their usage of RPO's and the Titans defense percolated more passes than runs. Tight end Travis Kelce left the game late in the second quarter after suffering a concussion, but any attempt to use his absence as an excuse for the offensive collapse is a bad one. The Chiefs ended that very drive with a touchdown, and the Chiefs have played this year without Kelce. The Chiefs defense, after four weeks of seemingly figuring themselves out, stunk against the run (156 yards by Derrick Henry, 201 total) and could not get off the field, especially on third and long. The Chiefs did [Read more...]

Mizzou basketball, the Resurrection

Cuonzo Martin returned to the Midwest to take over what seemed like an impossible task of turning around a program that had seen its darkest days under Kim Anderson: worst win percentage (.284) of any coach in Mizzou history TWO 13-game losing streaks 0-30 in true road games (2-41 away from Mizzou Arena) 8-46 SEC record first SEC program with three straight 20-loss seasons Last year’s 24 losses were the most ever by a SEC program It was a long fall for the Tigers, and we all expected a long, slow, rebuild after Anderson. Instead, the Martin hire brought hope for Missouri fans, and after what we had endured over the last three seasons, it’s all you could ask for. Then, he put together one of the nation’s best recruiting classes with six newcomer scholarship players, including the nation’s top recruit, Michael Porter, Jr. Missouri basketball could dig itself out of the abyss right away. A team that had three guys last year, is all of a sudden a deep team with a lot [Read more...]

Jason Vargas, All-Star Game starter?

Last night, Jason Vargas had his C-stuff (4 walks) and still allowed just two hits in seven innings, needing 100 pitches, in the Royals 8-1 win. It was his league-leading 12th quality start. He became only the second Royal with a 6-0 calendar month and it was his seventh straight win, improving to 12-3, tying Clayton Kershaw as MLB’s win leader. It was his seventh start allowing 1 ER or less. Not bad for a guy who made just four starts last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The career year is coming at the right time for Vargas, who is in a contract year. And, for the Royals, who are in the final year of the Golden Age window. Vargas is a shoe-in as an All-Star. Can he START the All-Star Game? His (AL) ranks: Wins: 1st (12) ERA: 1st (2.22) Win pct: 2nd (.800) CG: 4th (1) IP: 7th (101.1) WHIP: 8th (1.12) Vargas’ main competition is Chris Sale. After a win today at Toronto on Canada Day, he leads the AL in IP (120.2), WHIP (0.90), strikeouts (166), ranks [Read more...]

Mizzou moves on from the failed Kim Anderson experiment, turns to Cuonzo Martin; is top-recruit Michael Porter, Jr. coming, too?

I wrote THIS when Kim Anderson was hired in April 2014. I so wanted to be wrong. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. And, it was much worse than I ever imagined. How bad was it? TWO 13-game losing streaks 0-30 in true road games 2-41 away from Mizzou Arena 8-46 SEC record Worst win percentage (.284) in Mizzou history First SEC program with three straight 20-loss seasons MOST losses EVER in a season by a SEC program (24) But that’s not all of it. Not surprisingly, attendance dropped. You have to win games, but you also have to put butts in seats. Kim Anderson did neither. He was also overwhelmed on the recruiting trail. As a former D2 head coach (he was no Bo Ryan), and a poor staff, its no wonder it turned out how it did in recruiting. He did land two 4-star’s – KJ Walton and Jordan Barnett. Barnett, however ended up at Missouri as a transfer, coming over from Texas as a semester transfer. He was Missouri’s best player the second he stepped on campus. During Anderson’s [Read more...]

A much improved Drew Lock = a much-improved offense, but does it = a much-improved Mizzou?

I always say that while defense wins championships, offense wins games. For Missouri, if their offense resembled a real college offense last year, they would have won games, and went to a bowl game. All it had to be was average with that Top 10 defense. Instead, it ranked last in the SEC in scoring (15.2 points per game) and second to last NATIONALLY in total offense (296.7), gaining just 16.3 first downs a game and rushing for just 119.9 per contest – both also last in the SEC. It was painful watching games knowing the offense simply wouldn’t do enough to win despite the defense getting stop after stop and losing two games when they allowed less than 10 points. The question heading into this season was, was 2015 an outlier (like 2012), or was it the start of things to come? Many, think it’s the start of things to come; Pinkel gone, recruiting in the SEC, etc. I, like I said in 2013 about 2012, say it’s an outlier. A lot of things went wrong that year, and last year, despite the [Read more...]

Mizzou Season Preview: MizzouMade Barry Odom ushers in a new era

It was a sad end to the Gary Pinkel era. After a quick spike after announcing his resignation amid a battle with non-Hodgskins Lymphoma, at the end of “the Week,” Missouri played its best game maybe all season, in beating BYU 20-16 at Arrowhead; needing just one win in its final two games, the Missouri offense laid an egg, and scored just 11 points in the final two games as Missouri failed to send Pinkel out in style with a bowl game (for the second time in four years). It was a rough fall for Gary Pinkel and the two-time defending SEC East champs. Last in the SEC in scoring (15.2 per game), total offense (296.7 - rushing (119.9) and first downs per game (16.3), it was painful watching them play last year; and I felt bad for the defense – No. 9 nationally last season – who made stop after stop after being on the field all game, but had no help from that offense. Regardless, Missouri still went 5-7 and COULD have made a bowl. IF that is your “bad” year, then things have been going [Read more...]

As Mack Rhoades flees, Barry Odom and Mizzou try to keep focus on football at SEC Media Days

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything Missouri related. The state of the two big athletic programs has been a factor. From Kim Anderson fulfilling my promise that his hiring = Missouri no longer cares about basketball, because SEC (he’s won 19 games in two years) to Mizzou’s offensive offense and its second to last ranking out of 128 teams and failure to qualify for a bowl game – it’s been a rough year. But that’s not even the half of it. A boycott by the football team in November related to racial tensions on campus, helped speed up the resignation of the university system president and the reassignment of chancellor. Head coach Gary Pinkel announced his sudden retirement and his fight with lymphoma. Quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended, reinstated and then dismissed. There were the major NCAA infractions case into the basketball team, which included a self-imposed 2015-16 postseason ban and a loss of scholarships. In addition, there’s a current Title IX investigation into [Read more...]

Kim Anderson, sacrificial lamb?

I was adamant Kim Anderson was the wrong hire for the Missouri basketball program in April 2014. I wanted to be wrong. But, I knew I wouldn’t be. To be fair, the book is still out on the True Son, Anderson. None of this is his fault…yet. But one and half years into his regime, things do not look promising. Last year, Missouri was just awful – losing to UMKC in his very first game (first loss to the Roos in school history), setting the tone for what would be the worst season (9-23) in 4? Years, which featured the longest losing streak in the program’s now 110 year history (13 games), three conference wins while finishing with single-digit wins en route to the worst season (9-23) in 48 years – and there were several reasons why. There was no way they could be as bad this year…was there? Missouri, thanks to some turnover, entered the season as the 13th youngest team in Division 1 with only three upperclassmen. Despite that, three games into the season, I wrote how they were much [Read more...]

Even after a loss, it’s easy to see Missouri is much improved

Missouri lost at Xavier Tuesday Night, 78-66, and weren’t really a threat over the final 10-15 minutes, but they look significantly better than last season. Yes, it’s early. Really early. But, I think we’ve seen enough in just three games to determine that the 2015-2016 version of Kim Anderson-led Mizzou basketball is better than 2014-15 Mizzou. Anderson’s first year at his dream job was not good. After winning just nine times in 32 tries and going 3-15 in league play in one of its worst seasons in school history – the worst in 50 years. So, it’ll be hard NOT to get better, but there was a significant roster turnover, a former major recruit left (Teki Gill-Caesar transferred after just one year) and the team’s leading rebounder and scorer left (will-be junior Jonathan Williams III) transferred (Gonzaga). What was left? Nine underclassmen – five returning sophomores returning from a year ago and four new freshmen, another newcomer (junior college transfer Russell Woods), junior [Read more...]

Welcome to Locktober: Mizzou wins Lock’s debut, holds on to the “Columbia Cup;” Florida next

It was once Mauktober. Now, it’s Locktober. Drew Lock, the true freshman out of Lee’s Summit, became the first true freshman signal caller to start a game in the Gary Pinkel era, did what all the other first-time starters in the Pinkel era have done…WIN. And like his predecessor, the now-suspended Maty Mauk, Lock made his first in October, thrown into the fire of SEC Conference play. He did just fine, completing 21 of 28 passes with two touchdowns as Mizzou (4-1, 1-1) “He did a pretty good job,” Pinkel said of Lock, the better quarterback in the SEC’s first game featuring two true freshmen starting quarterbacks…and it was a major difference in the 24-10 win. “It’s pretty amazing,” said Lock, the first true freshman quarterback to start a game in Pinkel’s 38 years of coaching AND Missouri’s first since Corby Jones in 1995. “I always thought about winning games at Missouri. It's a little overwhelming to say the least. Now that I've started and actually won a game, you can't really [Read more...]