19 December 2010
We take a look back at the 10 biggest stories of the 2010 football season. Today we count down numbers 5-1.
TJ Moe's game winning TD against San Diego State set the stage for bigger things to come in 2010. (Photo courtesy of the Columbia Missourian)
5. Mid-Moe Miracle
At the time, it seemed like nothing more than a great play to avoid an embarrassing upset to a no-name opponent. However, as the season progressed, TJ Moe’s incredible catch and run against San Diego State proved to be more and more important. Without that play Missouri doesn’t improve to 3-0. The hype surrounding the MU/OU homecoming game later in the season would have been diminished. I doubt GameDay would have come to Columbia had MU not been unbeaten and ranked 11th in the BCS. Losing to San Diego State would have set this season on a completely different course. Moe’s miracle play kept that from happening.
4. Derrick Washington and Mizzou's off-field issues
Mizzou made headlines all too often this off-season. Between July 2nd and August 28th there were eight incidents of players being dismissed or a team member getting in legal trouble. None dominated headlines more than Derrick Washington’s arrest for sexual assault.
After watching D-Wash in summer scrimmages and fall camp, I can’t explain how good I expected him to be this year. He was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. He was set to have a huge year. Just days after I wrote this article guaranteeing D-Wash would accumulate at least 1,500 yards of total offense this season, he was arrested for sexual assault. His legal troubles dominated headlines and talk around Mizzou. People questioned whether the Missouri offense would be the same. Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy were forced to burn redshirts. The off-season troubles were a huge story line from the 2010 season.
3. Improved Defense
Most people expected Mizzou’s defense to be better this season. But this? No one expected this. Missouri went from one of the nation’s worst defenses to one of the best. The strength of this year’s team is the defense. Who thought we’d be saying that? Missouri’s defense ranks sixth in the nation in points allowed. The D shutout two opponents in one year for the first time since 1973. Missouri recorded 38 sacks, sixth best in the country. They picked off 16 passes. Bottom line, the D was dominant. The D kept Mizzou in games and won others. It was incredible and easily one of the biggest stories of the year.
What a weekend.
2. College GameDay
It was arguably the greatest weekend in the University’s history. All weekend was a national showcase of Mizzou football and the entire university. Missouri set ESPN College GameDay’s attendance record and looked fantastic on TV. A sellout crowd at Faurot was louder than I’ve ever heard it. Gahn McGaffie’s opening kickoff return for a touchdown will live forever in Tiger history. Mizzou knocked off the nation’s number one team. Gary Pinkel got the OU monkey off his back. Fans stormed the field. Goalposts were torn down. It was homecoming. Mizzou couldn’t have looked better on national TV. Additionally, beating Oklahoma that weekend set the stage for a great 2010 season. I will be surprised if there is ever a better game day environment in Columbia than there was on October 23rd, 2010.
1. Conference Expansion
The college GameDay experience is hard to top. It was the buzz of Columbia for the entire semester. However, conference expansion trumps it simply for the impact it had on all of college sports. College sports fans from coast to coast were consumed with expansion talks all summer long as rumors and “reports,” seemed to grow more rampant by the day. Missouri fans thought our Tigers were Big Ten bound. Then it looked as if the Big 12 would disinigrate altogether. Then there rumors of the Mountain West Conference or even the SEC. In the end, the Big 12 lost two teams. Missouri lost two historic opponents. The conference will never be the same.
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