Missouri Tigers

Getty Images

SEC releases 2018 schedule

2 Comments

The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Missouri dismisses defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross

Getty Images
2 Comments

East Carolina let go its defensive coordinator earlier today, and now Missouri has done the same.

Following a 31-13 loss to South Carolina and a 43-point output by FCS Missouri State in the opener, Mizzou has fired defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross.

“I am very appreciative of all that DeMontie has done for Mizzou, and am sorry that this did not work out, however, after careful evaluation, I believe it is important to make this change now,” head coach Barry Odom said in a statement.

In addition to being an original member of Odom’s staff, Cross also played safeties for the Tigers from 1994-96 and began his coaching career as Mizzou’s outside linebackers coach in 1998-99.

The Tigers rank 114th nationally in scoring defense, 90th in total defense and 102nd in yards per play allowed through two weeks of this young season. Missouri allowed 6.07 yards per play in 2016, good for 93rd nationally.

It is not immediately clear who will take over Cross’s duties. In addition to serving as defensive coordinator, Cross also coached the Tigers’ inside linebackers.

Mizzou’s A.J. Logan to serve six-game NCAA suspension

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Missouri’s defense, which was battered in the opener against FCS Missouri State Saturday afternoon, will be further depleted for the rest of the first half of the 2017 season.

Following its 72-43 win in Columbia, Mizzou announced that A.J. Logan “will be withheld from the first six games of the Tigers’ 2017 football season by the [NCAA] as part of an ongoing review.” The review is part of an investigation into academic misconduct.

The nose tackle will miss games against South Carolina (Sept. 9), Purdue (Sept.16), Auburn (Sept. 23), Kentucky (Oct. 7) and Georgia (Oct. 14).  He will b eligible to return for the Oct. 21 matchup with Idaho.

“While I am saddened that I will miss six games of my senior year, I know in my heart that I have told the truth, cooperated with the University and NCAA, and taken full responsibility for my actions,” a portion of a statement attributed to the player read. “I believe my integrity remains intact, and I am now focused on working hard in the classroom and on the field in the weeks ahead.  I look forward to our team having a great season and am sorry that I will not be with my brothers early on, but I will continue to work with them and be prepared when I return.”

“I am proud of A.J. for being honest and transparent with our staff and the NCAA during this ongoing process,” head coach Barry Odom said in his statement. “He has been forthright and cooperative throughout the entire review, and I look forward to watching him walk across the stage with his Mizzou degree in December.”

Last season, Logan started all 12 games for the Tigers.

Missouri approves $98 million Memorial Stadium expansion project

Getty Images
2 Comments

Missouri’s move to the SEC forced the Tigers to make a number of upgrades to their football program but none will be as big as the one the school is about to undertake over the next few years.

According to a school release, the university’s Board of Curators unanimously approved the construction of a new $98 million football facility and expansion of Memorial Stadium’s south end zone on Friday.

“Missouri is making a bold statement with today’s announcement and I am confident that it not only will pay big dividends in recruiting, but it will help improve our game-day atmosphere throughout the stadium,” head coach Barry Odom said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get the shovels in the ground and get going. I am thankful to lead the Mizzou Football program and represent our University and State, and am pleased we have undertaken a project of this stature.”

Construction is expected to start next year and be completed in time for the 2019 season at Faurot Field. The plans call for 16 new suites, a “750-person field-level club similar to AT&T Stadium,” new video boards, concourses, and a 200,000 square foot football facility. Memorial Stadium’s capacity is set to decrease as a result of the project from the currently listed 71,168 to a little more manageable 65,000. School officials say they have already collected some $50 million in pledges for the project so far.

The renderings for the project (see above) look pretty slick and certainly will help the Tigers compete on the facilities front in the SEC.

CFT 2017 Preseason Preview: The SEC

6 Comments

The last few years have had a common theme in the SEC. Namely that the league has turned into mighty Alabama and 13 other mediocre programs. Despite the issues of breaking through and developing multiple elite teams as of late, there’s reason for optimism around the conference that things will be a lot different this time around.

Key to that could be the return of so many budding young quarterbacks at just about every school from East to West. Add in a few top-flight tailbacks like Georgia’s Nick Chubb, LSU’s Derrius Guice plus Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough — to say nothing of the elite defensive talent across the board — and you can see why there’s talk of the bunched up middle class of teams breaking out of this recent rut.

How will things shape up in the mighty SEC? Here’s a look at the conference heading into the 2017 campaign and how things should shake out:

EAST
1. Georgia (8-5 overall, 4-4 in SEC last season):
 We’ve seen new head coaches turn in some surprising jumps in their second year at a program and many expect that to be the case with Kirby Smart in Athens. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the weapons on offense and a two-deep on defense that is the envy of everybody but Alabama. If the Bulldogs can become more consistent and eliminate mental errors that plagued them in 2016, a run to Atlanta appears in the cards.

2. Florida (9-4, 6-2 last season): The Gators have taken advantage of the division’s weakness the past two years but will need to step up their game if they want a third straight trip to the league title game. The offensive line will be a strength for the squad and just about everybody expects improved quarterback play with Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire likely starting under center. If the defense can quickly replace a number of key starters, the division may once again come down to the winner of the World’s Largest Cocktail Party between Florida and Georgia.

3. Tennessee (9-4, 4-4 last season): Despite winning nine games back-to-back for the first time in a decade, Butch Jones enters 2017 on the hot seat for a fan base that is looking for at least a division title (and probably a whole lot more). Expectations are tempered a little by the number of new starters on both sides of the ball but there’s enough to build around — such as tailback John Kelly — that the Vols should remain in contention down the stretch.

4. South Carolina (6-7, 3-5 last season): The Gamecocks surprised many by reaching a bowl game in 2016 despite a remarkable youth movement across the board at just about every position. QB Jake Bentley’s play proved to be a key catalyst once he was inserted into the lineup and there’s reason for optimism in Columbia that things will only get better after another offseason under Will Muschamp and company.

5. Vanderbilt (6-7, 3-5 last season): Success can be a fleeting thing for the Commodores but there’s plenty of hope around Nashville that the program’s trajectory is looking up after a strong close to last season unexpectedly put the team in a bowl game. Derek Mason has one of, if not the, most experienced teams coming back in the division and if the offense can improve even a little they could be a tough out in SEC play.

6. Kentucky (7-6, 4-4 last season): There are plenty of teams that are a preseason enigma but Mark Stoops’ side runs the entire gamut of predictions about how things will play out this year.  There is enough to like about the Wildcats both offensively and defensively but one has to question if that will be enough in such a competitive league with few openings to move up.

7. Missouri (4-8, 2-6 last season): One of the bigger surprises in the East was just how far the Tigers slid on defense, going from a normally stingy unit to lackluster at best in Barry Odom’s first year on the job. While the offense took the requisite steps to be more than passable, Mizzou’s future will be tied to an improvement on the other side of the ball.

WEST

1. Alabama (14-1 overall, 8-0 last season): There’s no reason to expect anything other than a dominant Crimson Tide team to take the field once again, running through the SEC before eventually moving on to the College Football Playoff. There are five-stars all over the two-deep once again and the offense might be one of the best the team has had in a while if youngsters continue to develop.

2. Auburn (8-5, 5-3 last season): Injuries played a big role in the disjointed season the Tigers had a year ago but that likely played a role in developing depth for a promising 2017 on the Plains. Gus Malzahn turned a transfer QB into a Heisman winner before and there’s plenty of hope that he can do so again with Jarrett Stidham running the show under center this time around.

3. LSU (8-4, 5-3 last season): The Ed Orgeron show continues in Baton Rouge and spirits are running high that this will finally — finally! — be the year the Tigers are competent on offense with new coordinator Matt Canada calling plays. Derrius Guice and Arden Key will be the headliners but there’s plenty of talent on the roster to take this team into Tuscaloosa with a fighting chance to win the division.

4. Texas A&M (8-5, 4-4 last season): There are few things more certain in college football than the Aggies getting off to a hot start before losing to Alabama and seeing their season backslide into an 8-5 year. Things look much the same for Kevin Sumlin again in College Station as he retools the offense with yet another new quarterback.

5. Mississippi State (6-7, 3-5 last season): It seems like we’ve talked about the Bulldogs being a dark horse for the past several years and the team will once again channel that heading into 2017. Nick Fitzgerald is already one of the better dual-threat QB’s in the conference and if gains can be made on defense, MSU will certainly surprise a few teams in the West.

6. Arkansas (7-6, 3-5 last season): The Hogs look like they’re a little better suited to contend in 2018 but a strong backfield to build around offensively will keep the team in just about every game on the schedule this season. If the defense takes another step, knocking off one of the big division rivals could certainly be in the cards.

7. Ole Miss (5-7, 2-6 last season): It’s possible the Rebels, backs firmly against the wall, take an us-against-them attitude and go wild behind talented sophomore QB Shea Patterson. Odds don’t favor that though, as this team has less talent than the one that won just two SEC games and could give up on the year with an interim head coach and even more NCAA sanctions looming on the horizon.