Campus Corner

Allow our Mizzou Mailbag to provide a distraction before Royals begin ALCS

Need another reason to hate computers?

They give the Royals a 38 percent chance to beat the Orioles in the American League Championship Series, which starts Friday night in Baltimore.

Of course, the computers only gave the Royals a 37.5 percent chance to knock off the Angels in the ALDS.

Still, computers are terrible.

Apparently, there’s also a football game — and a pretty significant one — at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia.

Let’s talk about that:

Well, hirsute one, anything involving a swift jab to the throat seems appropriate. OK, just kidding, we don’t condone violence here at the Mizzou Mailbag — at least not off the field. But anybody who wants to dump on the Royals’ postseason run is a wet blanket wrapped around a smelly dog. I’d certainly reconsider my friendship with that person. Life has enough stress with bills and traffic and work. Why would anyone want to taint another person’s joy? Unless, of course, that person is a big ol’ jerk-face and, again, why allow such terrible people to influence your life?

Seriously, enjoy the ride. It could be worse and usually is, so just be glad you’re not a Georgia fan who put a chunk of cash on Todd Gurley to win the Heisman Trophy.

Todd, the suspension officially came from the school. Often in these cases, schools self-report violations, though it’s unclear if the NCAA learned about Gurley’s alleged infractions first or if Georgia went to the NCAA with the information.

What is clear, according to multiple media reports, is that Gurley allegedly received impermissible benefits — probably cash — in exchange for his autograph or likeness. Johnny Manziel got caught up in a similar quagmire last season at Texas A&M, but ultimately the NCAA couldn’t prove he’d accepted money from memorabilia brokers. He still received a half-game suspension.

If the NCAA can prove Gurley received money, he’s obviously in line for a longer suspension. He reportedly didn’t travel to Missouri, which rules him out for Saturday. But backup running back Nick Chubb is pretty darn good.

Tim, it hadn’t been great through four games. Missouri played all right at times, but also gave up a lot of pressure — particularly between the tackles — and often struggled to establish its ground game. Certainly, the offensive line hasn’t been anything approaching imposing as it was during stretches last season.

That said, the unit received a lot of praise for its performance at South Carolina. Junior Brad McNulty played well in place of senior left guard Anthony Gatti, who had surgery Sept. 30 to repair a torn ACL suffered in the Indiana loss. Junior right guard Connor McGovern, who had started the first four games at tackle, looked like his old bruising self returning the line’s interior. Russell Hansbrough followed him across the goal line on the game-winning touchdown.

Making his first career start, junior Taylor Chappell also drew rave reviews for his performance at right tackle.

“I thought he played well,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “I thought he did for his first start. He played physical. We’ll certainly have different tests each and every week that you’ll face, but the offensive line in general played with a lot of poise in a place where you couldn’t hear anything.”

That’s quite a feat considering the zoo that is Williams-Brice Stadium and its 83,493 inhabitants that Saturday.

“He didn’t let the atmosphere get to him and did a great job,” junior center Evan Boehm said. “I’m proud of Taylor.”

The Tigers’ line remains something of a work in progress considering the early-season struggles and moving pieces. With a bye week to jell more and coming off an encouraging performance, it’s fair to say the offensive line is getting better, especially with respect to pass protection.

Chris, it’s hard to say. When I talked to Morgan Steward a few days after the injury, way back in early August, he was smiling and joking and told me, “I could go run right now.” He didn’t seem like a kid who’d be sidelined for three months at that point. I figured he’d return within a matter of weeks at most.

So, I’m not buying that it’s a simple hip strain, which is the official line from Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. It would seem to me that there has to be more to it for it to sideline him for so long, especially with the Tigers in need of depth behind junior Russell Hansbrough and senior Marcus Murphy.

If it truly is a strained hip, I’d certainly expect him back at some point. If Missouri is indeed being coy and it’s a labrum issue or something along those lines, I suspect Steward could be sidelined for an entire season. But without any concrete information, that’s all just speculation. But it feeds nicely into …

C Dot, not at this point. He’s already used a redshirt season in 2012, so this year counts as part of his five-year clock. If he plays the next two seasons, regardless of whether he sees the field at all this year, that wraps up his playing career.

The only way a player can receive a sixth year is if they missed two seasons due to factors outside his/her and the institution’s control. Typically, that means two full seasons wiped away by injury. A standard redshirt season does not count as outside Steward’s control. He would have to miss another entire season due to injury or some other bizarre circumstance to qualify for a medical redshirt year.

Nick, it’s fairly common for athletic directors to request game times for a variety of reasons, including travel schedules or homecoming. The conference also tries not to schedule too many late-night games for teams in the eastern time zone. The SEC’s job is to be responsive to its membership, so I have no problem with them being a conduit between the schools and broadcast partners. It’s kind of why the conference exists.

Brandon, are you suggesting Missouri’s offense didn’t play well at South Carolina? Same thing happened after the SEC Championship Game with regard to the defense. Tigers staff had no interest in discussing it during the entire month before the Cotton Bowl. Really, though, can you blame them? Nobody wants to relive a terrible day at the office over and over.

Jay, I’m not sure the world is ready for a Tod Palmer Botticelli, but — as I am not subject to NCAA rules for my likeness — I’ll listen to any and all offers.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

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