SEC MEDIA DAYS: Missouri picked to finish last in SEC East
Eric Beisel stole the show at SEC Media Days with his talk of reincarnation and seminar on rivalry “flame-stoking”, but, when the dust settled from the four-day football whirlwind in Hoover, Alabama, it wasn’t enough to sway the minds of the media in attendance with regards to Missouri’s 2017 outlook in the SEC East.
The 4-8 finish to 2016 and an eight-game SEC road game losing streak over the past two seasons appear to have spoken for themselves.
The Tigers were picked to finish last in the seven-team Eastern division in a preseason poll conducted at Media Days, released Friday, for the first time in the programs’ five-year run in the conference. Missouri has been picked to finish sixth twice: in 2016 and 2013, when the team won the division and represented the East in the conference championship game.
Georgia bested two-time SEC East champ Florida by 42 votes to for first place in the division. The Gators are followed by Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri.
Alabama, three-time SEC West champ and 2016 NCAA runner-up, was picked to win its division yet again, outnumbering second-place Auburn 225-13 in first-place votes. LSU was picked third, followed by Arkansas, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Mississippi.
The Crimson Tide also ran away with the conference title, receiving 217 votes. Auburn received the second-most votes to win the SEC championship with 11.
Missouri contingent responds to New York Times Article on MU’s dwindling enrollment
Three days after the New York Times published its investigation into the effects the 2015 protests had on MU’s drop in enrollment, Missouri coach Barry Odom was asked at Media Days if he noticed any lingering effects of the event. His answer: No.
“It seems like every time we’re about to have a media day or something to do with the press somebody brings that up”, Odom said. “Fair, but really it hasn’t hit anything. Recruiting-wise, I believe Mizzou’s in a great place, and we’ve got a lot of positive things going on, not just in our athletic department but on campus. There’s always ups and downs, and it’s moving in a great direction right now.
“I would like for — locally, nationally, worldly, whoever’s writing an article — let’s look at the big picture,” Odom said. “Come join me for a day on campus. Come join our administration. Let’s get all the facts before we write an article that doesn’t contain every fact that’s out there.”
When the Missouri players representing the team took to the main media room in Hoover, Alabama, senior wide receiver J’Mon Moore was asked about his involvement in the football team’s boycott in support of Concerned Student 1950 and the negative perceptions that are facing the university.
“Being a player during those times was hard,” Moore said. “I just had to understand that there were a lot of distractions and understand what was important and be able to put aside the distractions and focus on what I needed to focus on. But with me being African-American on campus, I haven’t had any bad experiences. Mizzou has been a great experience for me.”
Odom said the football team having success in 2017 could play a role in changing national perception and potentially raising enrollment.
“It’s statistically shown — and history — that when your football team wins, your enrollment goes up, so absolutely that’s been put on my desk,” Odom said. “Winning cures a lot of things. It won’t be the cure-all to this, but, yeah, it won’t hurt.”
Moore, Frazier named to all-conference teams, Frazier selected for Nagurski Award watch list
Moore and fellow senior Marcell Frazier were the Tigers’ only representatives on the media’s preseason All-SEC teams. Moore, who led the conference in receiving yards last season, was selected to the second-team All-SEC offense. Frazier, a defensive end who had 7.5 sacks in 2016, was named to the third-team defense.
Missouri had just one player, Charles Harris, represent the team on the media’s 2016 preseason all-conference teams.
Frazier also picked a spot on the 103-player Nagurski Award watch list, given annually to the country’s best defensive player. This is the second national award watch list Frazier has made this summer. He was named a candidate for the Bednarik Award, also awarded annually to the “College Defensive Player of the Year” according to a release from Missouri athletics, on Monday.
“Tiger Jake” shines on Day 4
Auburn fan Ron Sanford didn’t know it when he walked his tiger-striped Maltese into the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham for the final day of Media Days, but the duo were about to make national headlines.
After four days of listening to coaches talk about team ideologies, how that wasn’t them posing nude over sharks and depth charts at the lectern, seeing a dog with fur died orange, black and white to resemble Sanford’s beloved Auburn Tigers raised media morale significantly.
Tiger Jake is a service dog for Sanford, who has had three back surgeries, and gets his fur dyed at an animal clinic under the supervision of a groomer and veterinarian every eight to nine weeks. Sanford said he takes Tiger Jake to all the Auburn home games and plans to make the road trip to Oxford, Mississippi for Auburn’s Oct. 7 game against Mississippi.
LSU standout running back Derrius Guice may have turned heads on Day 1 of Media Days with his pink suit/bow tie combo and the story behind how he found the outfit — “I was at the store ... and I saw the mannequin with this on,” Guice said in an interview with the SEC Network. “And I thought, ‘Bro, that would look way better on me.’ So obviously I took it off and I tried it on. I’m like ‘Yeah, I’m going with this Monday.’” — but he won’t be going home with the Columbia Missourian’s 2017 SEC Media Days Best Dressed Award.
No, that goes to Florida senior defensive back and Marcell Harris, who proved subtly can be just as eye-catching (and intimidating) with an all-black suit/tie pairing when he took the stage on Tuesday.
Harris received extra style points for doing his best impersonation of The Weeknd with his dreads tied up, a gold cross chain for a bit of flash, and for being brave enough to go all-black on a brutally hot summer day in Alabama.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock receives an honorable mention on the Best Dressed list for rocking a pair of black dress socks with footballs on them.
Supervising editor is Jonathan McKay.