May 23, 2012
2012 Tiger Mailbag: 18th Edition
Each Wednesday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at email@example.com. On to this week's inquiries:
mjkstl asks: To us old folk, Brad Smith playing for Mizzou was just a few years ago...for people your oldest son's age- what do they remember of Brad Smith and how is Mizzou as a program viewed?
GD: My oldest is 14. He was five when we moved to Columbia and eight when he cried because Brad Smith had played his last home game. Brad was the player that made my son a Mizzou fan. I'm sure it would have happened anyway because he lives in Columbia and he's around Mizzou all the time, but Brad made it easy. He was a great player and he was one that I had absolutely no problem having my kid look up to because he is an even better person than he is a player. My son has a Brad Smith Jets jersey and will probably get a Bills jersey some time soon. As a program, my son and his friends have never known the Mizzou I grew up knowing. Missouri wins. That's all that has ever happened in their lifetimes really.
eazyb81 asks: What do you think would be the best format for an 18 game basketball schedule in the SEC?
GD: With 14 teams, there is actually no way to do an 18-game schedule that makes sense. You have to either go with a 13-game schedule (not going to happen) or a 19-game schedule, which is what I think makes sense. You play each other team in your division twice (12 games) and every team in the other division once (seven games). If you go with an 18-game schedule, you're either going to miss a team in your division once or miss a team in the opposite division entirely. If you want to have a champion, you need to come as close to balanced schedules as you can. Let's say Mizzou finishes one game behind Florida in the standings because the Tigers played Kentucky twice and the Gators faced UK only once. You can't legitimately say Florida had the better conference season even if it had the better record. So I'd go with 19, though that's an odd number that might not gain traction.
mizzou_kev asks: Compare/contrast having Arky or aTm as our permanent rival.
GD: To me, this is a no-brainer. I don't know any Missouri fans that "hate" A&M. The Aggies just don't move the needle for most Tiger fans (and vice versa). But if you read message boards, Twitter or just talk to people, the Tigers and the Razorbacks are already developing a healthy dislike. There is the geographic proximity, the DGB saga, the fact that they'll consistently recruit against each other in both major sports and I believe I heard something about a basketball coach that may have been employed by both schools recently. Rivalries aren't about recruiting advantages (and I think the advantage of playing one game in College Station every other year is vastly overblown) or any of that. They're about the fans and their feelings for the other school. Part of the reason so many Missouri fans hated Kansas was that they had to go to work and see so many Jayhawk fans every day. Missouri kids went to school with Kansas kids. It was ever-present. Arkansas won't quite be that way, but it's that way far more than A&M. The fact is, Missouri isn't going to replace Kansas. There won't ever be a rivalry that equals the Border War. But Arkansas could be a Nebraska-like rivalry. A&M? That's closer to the rivalry with Texas Tech that Dan Beebe was so desperate to preserve.
Graphic Edge Guy asks: What four faces would you put on your "Mount Rushmore" for Mizzou Athletics? (No restrictions...can be anybody...Coaches, Athletes, Administrators, or Contributors in any way, shape, or fashion). What is the single most significant event in Mizzou's Athletic History?
GD: Mizzou's Mount Rushmore starts with Norm Stewart. He won a national title as a player and is Mizzou's most successful coach in any sport. Next up is Don Faurot. He was the first big-time Missouri coach, he invented an entire offensive scheme and the field is named after him. Dan Devine is under consideration for his success as a coach and then later returning as the AD. But I don't think I'll put him on because I've got two other guys in mind. First is John Kadlec. I mean, they call him Mr. Mizzou. He played here, coached here and was in the broadcast booth for more than a decade. Fourth I'm going with Norris Stevenson. He was the first African-American football player at Mizzou. The game changed when teams began to integrate and Stevenson deserves recognition for his role in bring Mizzou into the modern era. I'm sure I'm missing some and I'm sure I'll hear about it, but off the cuff, those are my four. To be fair, I might put Devine on and just give Norm his own mountain.
At the risk of being accused of having a too recent slant, the most significant event in Mizzou history is, to me, clearly the move to the SEC. It's the only one I can think of that will impact the entire university for eternity. The impact of nearly everything else fades away at some point. Not this. There will be a time, 80 years down the road, when nobody knows Missouri as anything but an SEC school. But it's going to be well after just about all of us are gone.
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