Category Archive: TOP STORIES

  1. The Legend of Charles Harris

    Comments Off on The Legend of Charles Harris

    It’s time for me to eat some crow.


    It’s not often you hear someone in the media say that. But I have to. I mean, I am the guy who wrote this article, suggesting the reign of “D-Line Zou” may be coming to a close. Maybe that’s not the word. Its reign would be postponed. Yeah, that’s more like it.


    It seemed logical. A defensive line that loses Markus Golden, Shane Ray, Matt Hoch, Lucas Vincent, Marcus Loud and Harold Brantley in one offseason should not only get worse, but it should be downright awful. That’s seven of the Tigers’ top nine defensive linemen from 2014. How could anyone expect the defensive line to even be average after a mass exodus like that?


    And, to be fair, the Tigers’ defensive line hasn’t been as dominant as it was last year. It doesn’t have to be. Kentrell Brothers is making all of the tackles. The cornerbacks are as talented as we’ve seen under head coach Gary Pinkel. But the defensive line has been damn impressive through the first two weeks of the season.


    It all starts with Mizzou redshirt sophomore defensive end Charles Harris. Harris had 19 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and two sacks in 14 games last year. He already has 10 tackles, six tackles-for-loss and two sacks in his first two games as a starter in 2015. Let’s put that in perspective, shall we? Harris had four TFL in 347 snaps in 2014 (one every 86 snaps). He has six in 70 snaps this year (one every 11 snaps).


    The majority of Harris’ TFL – 4.5, to be exact – came last week against Arkansas State. None of the coaches seemed particularly surprised by his performance.


    “His work ethic is the best,” defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski said. “He’s a very good player right now. And the reason he’s a very good player is because he has been relentless in pushing himself every single day to be the best.”


    Harris’ work ethic has become somewhat of an urban legend around the Missouri football program. Coach Kool has a story he shares about the time he came into his office on a Saturday over the summer during Harris’ freshman year. He peeked into the weight room, and there’s Charles working out. On his off day. Just because.


    On Monday, which was supposed to be the team’s off day, Harris could once again be seen in the weight room. Coach Pinkel made sure to point that out during his weekly press conference. Harris was even so kind to speak with the media in the middle of his workout before going back into the weight room.



    “I don’t think I’ve ever had a guy come in as a freshmen and have the work ethic and attitude, and to be able to maintain it the entire time, the way he has,” Kool said. “The last guy that reminded me of him was Ziggy Hood. He does everything right, all the time.”


    “Charles has probably developed the most of anyone that I’ve seen since I’ve been here both mentally and physically,” senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers said. “He was this skinny linebacker when I got here.”


    “He came in here at 215 pounds,” Pinkel said. “He’s 255, 260 pounds now. He’s got all the intangibles. That’s why he is where he is. And it’s neat to see him getting the production now.”


    If you watched Mizzou’s game against Arkansas State, you know that Charles Harris has a basketball background. Most of the coaches will tell you that Harris’ high school football film was pretty mediocre. His basketball film is where he really shined – not necessarily as a player, but his athleticism was apparent. He had that rare explosiveness that could help him develop into Mizzou’s next NFL pass rusher. Even so, it wasn’t a given that Harris would get a scholarship offer. Pete Scantlebury of PowerMizzou wrote an excellent story on Harris’ signing day decision. It was either go to Missouri Western, or sign to play football at Mizzou. It’s not everyday that you see a kid with that kind of an offer list.


    “All credit to Andy Hill,” Kool said. “The way we’ve kept our coaching staff together a long time. And we’re not switching defenses every year. So Andy can go out and say ‘this guy looks like a defensive end in our system.”


    It’s only been three years since the Tiger coaches decided to offer Charles Harris a scholarship. I’m not sure even the most optimistic coach in the world would have told you back then that Harris could become the player he is today.



    “I think he’s got a chance to be an academic All-American, and I have to think he has a chance to be an All-American on the football someday, too,” Kool said. “I really think he’s a special kid in terms of attitude and effort.”


    Coach Kool isn’t alone. Coach Pinkel can be somewhat reserved when comparing or projecting his current players. But even Pinkel doesn’t mince words when projecting the type of player that Harris can become.


    “He’s got a chance to be a great, great player,” Pinkel said. “There are a lot of players that I wouldn’t say that about because I don’t know if they could emotionally deal with it. But it doesn’t matter what I say. He has his ideas of what he wants to be. And he’s a great team player.”


    I was wrong. D-Line Zou isn’t going anywhere. Charles Harris has become the playmaker the Tigers so desparately needed him to be. The kid from Kansas City that Mizzou took a chance on is making the most of his opportunity. And he’s making a fool out of me.


  2. The Big Show: Dave Matter

    Comments Off on The Big Show: Dave Matter

    Dave Matter covers Mizzou athletics for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he joined Matt and BK on The Big Show on Tuesday.


    Dave explained why he’s been so impressed with the Tigers’ front seven, his biggest remaining question heading into this matchup against UCONN, and will we learn anything more about Mizzou this weekend? All of that and more in our conversation with Dave Matter.






    The Mizzou coaches and players met with the media on Monday in order to break down the team’s 27-20 victory over Arkansas State, and to preview the Tigers’ upcoming game against UCONN.


    The big topics of the day were the team’s inability to field a healthy running back (figuratively speaking, at least), Kentrell Brothers’ continued dominance, and Charles Harris’ breaking out party. The coaches also previewed their week three opponent, UCONN, who seems to have a great run defense, but not much else to write home about.




  4. Getting to Know You: Mizzou CB Kenya Dennis

    Comments Off on Getting to Know You: Mizzou CB Kenya Dennis

    Kenya Dennis is quiet, he’s humble, and he’s built like a damn freight train. Mizzou’s senior cornerback burst onto the scene in 2014 as a junior college transfer, and he followed that up by his teammates voting him captain for the 2015 season.


    Mizzou fans saw his talents on display in week one on a designed cornerback blitz. The result was, well, I’m just glad I’m not SEMO’s quarterback.



    But what you don’t know is that Kenya Dennis is a gentleman, and a big fan of The Lion King.



    BK: What is an ideal first date for you?

    Kenya Dennis: Like, with a girl? Oh, alright… I just feel like it’s just supposed to be in a place where you both are comfortable and a place that you both enjoy, and where you can get to know each other. That’s what I think the first one should be about.


    BK: When was the last time that you cried during a movie?

    Kenya Dennis: It had to be the Lion King when Mufasa died. I was like three or four years old. That really got me. When Mufasa died. When Symbah went to wake him up, and he wouldn’t move… That had to be it.


    BK: What’s the TV show that you don’t like to admit that you watch?

    Kenya Dennis: Girl Code. It’s a show only for girls. It shows girls how to be girls. And it also shows them things that boys plot on about the girls. Like, the reason why all girls go to the bathroom together. Why they tell secrets in each other’s ear… Stuff like that. Stuff that guys really shouldn’t be watching. But I watch it every now and then.


    BK: Why are you watching Girl Code?

    Kenya Dennis: I started because I would always be with my sister, and she would be watching it at home.


    BK: Are you still watching it?

    KD: Uhhhhh…. I’ll stop on it for like five minutes… 


  5. Getting to Know Mizzou Tight End Sean Culkin

    Comments Off on Getting to Know Mizzou Tight End Sean Culkin

    You probably know Sean Culkin as the starting tight end for the Missouri football team. You may also know him as the player that had one of the best plays of the Tigers’ young season last Saturday against Arkansas State.




    But what do you really know about Sean Culkin? That’s what we tried to find out on Monday at Media Day.




    BK: What’s your ideal first date?

    Culkin: A first date? Man… Something where I get to communicate and get to really know the person. Watching a movie, and sitting there and staring at the screen? That’s not fun. I like to have a conversation and actually get to know the person.


    BK: When was the last time that you cried during the movie?

    Culkin: I’m trying to think of one… I can’t think of anything. It’s probably been a couple years.


    BK: What’s the TV show that you’re embarassed to admit that you watch?

    Culkin: See, here’s the thing… I actually don’t watch much TV.


    BK: Why?

    Culkin: I really read, a lot.


    BK:  What are you reading?

    Culkin: Right now, I’m reading a lot of investment books. I’m a finance major. I read ‘The Four Hour Work Week’, I read ‘Stronger’. I read about 15 books this summer.


    BK: What was your favorite book?

    Culkin: Probably the ‘Four Hour Work Week’. Or ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’. I’m reading ‘Intelligent Investor’ right now.


    BK: What should I invest in right now?

    Culkin: Nothing, man. This market’s crazy. With everything that’s going on right now? You need to wait for it all to crash, then jump in and invest. 

  6. The Big Show: Bill Connelly

    Comments Off on The Big Show: Bill Connelly

    Bill Connelly of Rock M Nation and Football Outsiders joined Matt and BK on Monday for his weekly guest spot on The Big Show. Bill is concerned about the offensive line and the running backs, but there’s one positive that came out of Mizzou’s 27-20 win over Arkansas State.




  7. BK’s Picks of the Week

    Comments Off on BK’s Picks of the Week

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Week two of the college football season means week one of the NFL season. Football season is back, ladies and gentlemen. And, yes, that means gambling is truly back. BK will give his favorite picks of the week right here on each and every Saturday before the college football and NFL slates get underway. Without further adieu, the picks…


    College Football Picks:


    Georgia (-21.5) at Vanderbilt:


    Here’s the skinny: Georgia is a very good football team. Vanderbilt is a really bad football team. That’s where we begin, but you knew that based on a 21.5-point spread. Why will Georgia cover? Because Vanderbilt is going to struggle to score. It’s really that simple. The Commodores’ defense is solid. They held a fairly explosive (don’t laugh) Western Kentucky offense to just 14 points in their week one loss. Unfortunately, Vandy’s offense was only able to score 12 points against a defense that Bill Connelly of SB Nation said “couldn’t get much worse (probably)” than it was last season. That’s an indictment on this team’s ability to move the football and score points. 


    Georgia, on the other hand, has a great defense and an explosive run game led by sophomore running back Nick Chubb. I would be *shocked* if Vandy’s defense is able to hold the Bulldogs to under 30 points, and I simply don’t see the Commodores scoring more than 10 points against Georgia’s defense. Add it all up, and you have a blowout in Nashville. This is my favorite line of the week. It’s a lot of points, sure. But it’s also the best team in the SEC East taking on the worst. The talent gap between these two is similar to the polling numbers between Donald Trump and Rick Santorum. So, yeah. Take the Dawgs with the points.


    Memphis (-13) at Kansas:


    Memphis is only a 13-point favorite against Kansas? Really? REALLY? Kansas football is bad. I mean REALLY bad. I’m not sure what the low-point was for the Jayhawks. Was it the last-second disaster last week against South Dakota State when the Jayhawks’ quarterback dropped the snap instead of spiking the football, leaving Kansas with no time to kick a potential game-tying field goal? Or was it the Kansas State band making a formation that looks a whole lot like a Jayhawk… Well, I’ll let you decide what it looks like. Or maybe it was the Forbes article that confirmed Kansas spent $8 million per win over the past three years? Any of the above would make for a tough week. All three happening before week two of the season? That’s rough, man.


    As for this game, Memphis returns a 3-year starter at quarterback, two solid running backs, four of its top five pass-catchers and most of its starting offensive line. Add all of that up, and you have a team that should be able to score pretty consistently against this Kansas defense. Memphis does have some question marks defensively, but do you trust Kansas to put up big numbers offensively against the Tigers? I don’t. Take Memphis with the points and run.



    Mizzou (-10.5) at Arkansas State:



    Another pick, another road favorite. This game reminds me so much of last year’s game against Toledo. The Tigers are the more talented team. The environment down in Jonesboro likely won’t live up to what we expected – reports indicate there were only 20,000 tickets sold by Wednesday – and all Missouri does on the road under coach Pinkel is win. The injuries to Evan Boehm and Russell Hansbrough give me a bit of pause, but I expect both to play and I truly believe Mizzou covers the number. Take the Tigers with the points.


    NFL Picks:


    Green Bay Packers (-7) at Chicago Bears


    Sensing a trend? Home field advantage is a bit overrated this week, both in college football and in the NFL. The Bears are no good this year. The Packers might be the best team in football. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback I’ve ever watched, Eddie Lacy is one of the 5-10 best running backs in the NFL and their defensive DVOA in 2014 was right around the middle of the pack. I see the Packers pulling off a double-digit victory in this one on the road against a Bears team that could be in for a long season. Take the Packers with the points.


    Miami Dolphins (-4) at Washington Redskins


    My favorite line of the week. The Dolphins might be the most improved team in the NFL. Truly. I love Ryan Tannehill, and reports coming out of Miami in the offseason indicate he’s taken a huge step forward. Add in a healthy Lamar Miller, a full season in the system for Jarvis Landry and a talented rookie receiver in DeVante Parker, and you have the makings of a really solid offensive attack. And the defense is terrifying. Ndamukong Suh is the best defensive tackle in the NFL. Cam Wake is one of the better pass rushers in the league. Brent Grimes is still a really good cornerback. How is Washington going to score in this game? I just don’t see it. I think the Dolphins win big. Lay the points with Miami and pay off your mortgage.


  8. The Big Show: Week 2 College Football Picks

    Comments Off on The Big Show: Week 2 College Football Picks

    Austin Kim of ABC 17 Sports joined Matt and BK on The Big Show to give their picks for week 2 of the football season. Coming into the week, BK leads all three at 3-0. Austin Kim and Matt Michaels are both 1-2.


    This week, the guys picked three more games:


    Mizzou (-10.5) at Arkansas State
    Oklahoma (-1.5) at Tennessee
    Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (-1)


    The guys all picked the same teams. Everyone picked Mizzou (-10.5), Oklahoma (-1.5) and the Chiefs (-1).




  9. The Big Show: Mack Rhoades

    Comments Off on The Big Show: Mack Rhoades

    Mizzou AD Mack Rhoades joined Matt and BK in studio for a discussion on MU’s facilities, the decision to re-sign baseball coach Tim Jamieson and the improvements being made to Mizzou’s gameday atmosphere.




  10. The Inside Slant: NFL Season Over/Unders

    Comments Off on The Inside Slant: NFL Season Over/Unders

    BK is joined by Jeff Parles this week on The Inside Slant for an episode where the guys guess the over/unders and give their top picks for the 2015 season. Spoiler alert: the Rams are a team of conflict. Find out why in this week’s episode of The Inside Slant.