In case you didn’t notice — and with an afternoon kickoff from Shreveport you probably didn’t — the SEC sorta/kinda got off to a 1-0 start for the bowl season yesterday. Newest league member Missouri ran up 31 first-half points en route to a 41-24 victory over North Carolina, presumably the school’s last victory as a Big 12 member.
For those who missed it, you failed to catch an impressive performance from Tiger quarterback James Franklin. He was 15 of 23 in the passing game for 132 yards and a touchdown and he also led Mizzou in rushing with 142 yards and two TDs on 18 carries. When the SEC finally announces next year’s schedule and you find the Tigers on your favorite team’s schedule, know that Franklin is the guy that your defensive coordinator will be focused on next fall.
Head coach Gary Pinkel said after the game that he gave his sophomore quarterback a hug and a “congratulations.” “Then I went back and asked, ‘What happens when you get really good?’ … He kind of gave me a look, but that’s a huge compliment.”
Franklin earned the MVP award in the game and the respect of UNC interim coach Everett Withers (who’s now headed to Ohio State to join Urban Meyer’s staff). “(Franklin) is just such a dynamic guy running and throwing that you have to respect both. I always count the quarterback as an extra running back in the spread and that’s exactly what he was.”
Traditionally, Pinkel has been a pass-first guy, so the better Franklin gets in the passing game, the more dangerous his coach’s offense will become.
Here endeth the advanced scouting report. Welcome to the SEC, Mizzou.