Missouri didn’t quite have the final season in the Big 12 for which they were hoping, but the Tigers at least ended 2011 on a high note with a 41-24 victory over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl to send them off to the SEC next season.
Besides, it may be a while before Mizzou scores 41 on anybody in the SEC.
The win gives Missouri an 8-5 record to finish the season (North Carolina falls to 7-6), but a closer review Mizzou’s schedule shows this was a better team than their record indicated. The Tigers’ four conference losses this year were to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma — the top four teams in the Big 12. Three of those four losses were on the road and two were by a touchdown or less; a 45-24 beating by Oklahoma State at home was Mizzou’s worst loss of the season.
And let’s not forget Mizzou lost to Arizona State in overtime early in the season back when the Sun Devils were playing much better football.
The point is that this is a team that easily could have had 8-10 regular season wins.
Believe it or not, the Tigers may not drop off too much next season. The SEC schedules haven’t been revealed yet, but there’s no reason to think today that Gary Pinkel’s group wouldn’t be the second or third-best team in the SEC East with the players they have coming back, including quarterback James Franklin, leading rusher Henry Josey and leading receiver T.J. Moe if he decides not to declare for the draft.
Of the two Big 12 teams leaving for the SEC, Mizzou might have an easier transition than Texas A&M. That’s not to say the SEC East is a cakewalk, but it hasn’t been as top heavy as the West.
We’ll see for sure next fall, but today’s Independence Bowl win, in which Mizzou put up 337 rushing yards on what was supposedly a Top 15 rush defense from North Carolina, provided plenty of reason for optimism that Mizzou could be surprisingly competitive in their first year in the SEC.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.
Former Texas defensive tackle Jordan Elliott will now be a Missouri Tiger, he announced on Friday.
Elliott chose Missouri to follow Brick Haley, his defensive line coach in Austin that landed at Mizzou after Charlie Strong‘s firing.
“They’re a program that’s on the come up, SEC ball is the highest level,” Elliott said in an interview with Power Mizzou. “Coach Haley is one of the best D-Line coaches out there. Missouri’s a powerhouse for defensive linemen. They’re coming and going first round every year. That’s real appealing to me.
“I talked to coach Haley and got it rolling.”
Elliott was a Signing Day addition to Strong’s 2016 class who was committed to Michigan before his late flip. He said that his one season in Austin amounted to a year-long version of buyer’s remorse.
“There’s a lot of speculation going around, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t happy there,” he said. “It’s nothing against the coaches at Texas, they’re great coaches. It’s a great program and I really learned a lot of things, but I just never really enjoyed Texas since I first got there.”
Elliott posted eight tackles and 1.5 TFLs in six appearances as a true freshman last season before suffering a torn MCL against Iowa State in October.
He would have been in line for starter’s snaps had he remained on Tom Herman‘s squad this fall. Instead, Elliott will sit out the 2017 campaign and have three years remaining to compete as a Tiger beginning in ’18.
Tired of the continuous stream of negative college football news? Here ya go.
During a September 2015 game against Georgia, Southern wide receiver Devon Gales sustained a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed and hospitalized for five months. This week, Gales used Twitter to offer up a very encouraging and inspiring update — the former wide receiver, with the assist of a couple of physical therapists, taking a dozen steps.
On the way indeed.
In February, Georgia announced that it was launching “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.
One of the top playmakers in Nebraska’s passing game has avoided what was originally a serious legal charge.
According to KETV-TV in Omaha, Stanley Morgan was arrested following a traffic stop May 6 in Port Orange, Fla., for possession of 21.4 grams of marijuana; according to the penal code in the state of Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of weed is considered a felony. However, the television station wrote, “prosecutors charged the case as ‘possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams,’ making it a misdemeanor.”
Why the the charge against Morgan went from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — or reduced as the Associated Press reported — wasn’t detailed. A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia charge was dropped as well.
Cornhuskers defensive back Antonio Reed was also in the vehicle that was driven by his teammate and was charged with misdemeanor pot possession as well.
“Head Coach Mike Riley and the Athletics Department are aware of a recent incident in Florida involving Stanley Morgan Jr.,” a statement from the university began. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”
Morgan’s 33 receptions for 453 yards were second on the team last season. With Jordan Westerkamp‘s departure, the junior is the Cornhuskers’ leading returning receiver.
Also a junior, Reed played in 22 games last season. He was credited with 22 tackles.