2013 FWAA All-America Nominations

Michael Sam Racers

This is the first season I have been a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Because of my membership, I have the privilege to cast a vote for the FWAA All-America team. Below are the nominations I submitted and some stats that came into play when thinking about which players deserve recognition.

Mizzou's Michael SamDEFENSE/OFFENSIVE LINE – 11/17

Defensive Linemen

  • Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh: has 22.5 TFLs and 10 sacks through 10 games.
  • Vic Beasley, Clemson: has 17.0 TFLs and 10 sacks through 10 games.
  • Michael Sam, Missouri: has 16.0 TFLs and 10 sacks through 10 games.
  • Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State: 11.0 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, and 2 fumble return TDs through 10 games.


  • Trent Murphy, Stanford: has 25 solo tackles, 18.0 TFLs, 4 QB hurries and 3 pass break-ups through 10 games.
  • CJ Mosley, Alabama: 43 solo tackles, 7.0 TFLS, 7 QB hurries and 5 pass break-ups through 10 games.
  • Chris Borland, Wisconsin: 48 solo tackles, 7.0 TFLs, 4 QB hurries and 2 pass break-ups through 9 games.

Defensive Backs

  • Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State: has 36 solo tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 3 pass break-ups through 10 games.
  • Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State: has 10 passes defended, 7 pass break-ups and 3 interceptions through 10 games.
  • Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State: has 53 solo tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 4 pass break-ups, 3 interceptions and 2 INT TDs through 10 games.
  • Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss: has 38 solo tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 6 pass break-ups and 2 forced fumbles through 9 games.

Offensive Linemen (national team stats and rankings)

  • Jake Matthews, Texas A&M: 578.0 YPG in total offense (No. 3), 180.73 team passing efficiency (No. 3) and 49.2 scoring offense PPG (No. 5).
  • David Yankey, Stanford: 0.500 on 3rd down conversions (No. 16).
  • Cyril Richardson, Baylor: 684.8 YPG in total offense (No. 1), 198.82 team passing efficiency (No. 1) and 61.2 scoring offense PPG (No. 1).
  • Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama: 0.714 on 4th down conversions (No. 9) and 160.49 team passing efficiency (No. 11).
  • Hroniss Grasu, Oregon: 580.2 YPG in total offense (No. 2), 172.04 team passing efficiency (No. 6) and 50.9 scoring offense PPG (No. 3).

Phil Pressey’s NBA Decision Not a Surprise

Phil Pressey

The news we had all been waiting for, well if you are a Mizzou sports fan at least, finally broke on Wednesday morning; junior point guard Phil Pressey is headed to the 2013 NBA Draft. I can’t say I’m surprised. The way things ended this year weren’t great for anyone, especially Pressey.

A close road loss on Saturday meant the same type of questions he’d take from the media every Monday. As the season wound down, we started get to less and less time to talk to Phil. I could tell that with each  mention of the season’s road struggles and late second missed shots, his voice and body language all changed. He became shut off in a way; like he didn’t really have the answers or if they did they were more like secrets. He wasn’t the same Phil from last season.

Pressey after loss to Norfolk StateAs someone who has never played sports at a high competition level, I’m not sure how the mindset of a player is at times. Is there anyway that the final shot that Pressey took against Norfolk State really to win the game but missed really messed him up? I’m not trying to make excuses for him but if you look at the close game situations when the ball was in Pressey’s hand – he clearly struggled. Did he not want to make the same mistake and let his team down again so he thought if had control things would be ok? That a shot to win the game in the regular season could erase the memory of the NCAA Tournament game from 2012? I’m not sure but I know you can’t forget something like that.

I think most importantly Phil just wanted a clean break and to forget about everything that crumbled down after the 2011-12 30-5 season; a season that Mizzou fans and media members constantly compared this season to. It’s hard not to compare and I think that was one of the things that made it really hard for Phil. I think he is looking for a clean start and he’ll get one in a way. People will still talk about how he came up short this season because that is going to affect his draft stock. He can’t escape that but he will be on a new team where that won’t really matter anymore.

We also can’t forget that at the beginning of the season, Frank Haith mentioned that it was going to be the last year for a lot of guys. He slipped up and mentioned Phil before correcting himself saying he didn’t know if Phil was going – but I think he probably did know. Phil had had one foot out the door since the beginning of the season and the other foot went out during SEC play. Even though he struggled, Phil will still be missed. He kept Mizzou in a lot of games but just came up short.

Phil PresseyThis next season will be an interesting one.  Mizzou has talent but most of it is young. They’ll bring back Earnest Ross, Tony Criswell and Jabari Brown who all got valuable minutes of the court. Ryan Rosburg and Stefan Jankovic will also be back but need some major improvement for their sophomore year. They will also have the addition of Jordan Clarkson, who will most likely be the best player on the team. Of these players, I’m most interested in seeing who will take on the leadership role. My guess: Ross. He’s outspoken when he needs to be and emotional enough that he can get the guys to listen.

When the announcement Phil was leaving came, some Mizzou fans asked questions about Negus Webster-Chan and why he was gone if Phil was gone. I don’t think fans would want Negus running things. He came in with high hopes but those quickly crumbled. He couldn’t handle the ball and give Pressey a break. I do have high hopes for incoming freshman point guard Wes Clark. He will be the second best ball handler behind Clarkson and there is a good chance he takes the point guard role this year.

I’m excited to see what is going to happen this next year. How the pieces of the puzzle fit together — but for now  I’m ready for a break from basketball. After this season, I don’t want to talk Mizzou basketball again until at LEAST September. I need a break!

The Cost of Experiencing America’s Pastime

Beer & Hot Dogs

The 2013 Major League Baseball season is finally here but planning a vacation to experience America’s pastime can be a costly one. Using information from the Team Marketing Report, I’ve put together some help information that I hope will help assist you when planning your trip.

First let’s talk price of admission. Five teams kept their tickets prices the same while eight lowered prices, leaving 17 franchises with higher admission costs for 2013. The average ticket price to a MLB game is around $27.73 with premium seating (luxury boxes excluded) averaged at $90.92. Those numbers are up 2.7% from the 2012 season.

Fenway ParkHighest

  1. Boston Red Sox: a trip to Fenway Park will cost you an average of $53.38 (the highest of any team). For those seeking premium seats, the average cost will be around $172.51 (fourth highest). Ticket prices did not change for the team this year. Parking comes in around $27.00 (second highest).
  2. New York Yankees: visiting Yankee Stadium comes with an average ticket cost of $51.55 (second highest) while premium seats will cost you an average of $305.11 (highest). Ticket prices did not change see any change this year. Parking will cost you a pretty penny at around $35.00 per spot (highest).
  3. Chicago Cubs: planning a visit to Wrigley Field will cost you about $44.55 per ticket (third highest) and a premium ticket will come in around $106.88 (sixth highest). This year ticket prices for the Cubs saw a $3.8% drop in 2013 after dropping prices by 1.3% in 2012. You’ll have to pay around $25.oo for a parking spot (third highest).
  4. Philadelphia Phillies: tickets to Citizens Bank Park run on around $37.42 (fourth highest) on average with premium tickets coming in around $79.82 (12th highest). Ticket prices did not change for this team this year. Parking will only cost you $15.00 (tied for 11th highest).
  5. Washington Nationals: going to see a game in the nation’s capitol will cost you an average of $35.24 per ticket (fifth highest) while premium seating will cost you about $192.89 (third highest). The cost of tickets for a Nats game rose by second largest amount this year, with prices up 15.4% from 2012. Parking comes in at only $10.00 (tied for 17th).

LowestPetco Park

  1. San Diego Padres: the cheapest ticket this year is at Petco Park, with the average cost at $15.99. Even though premium seating is a little higher at $39.11, it is still the cheapest luxury ticket in the league. The cost of a premium ticket is 7.8% cheaper for a Padres game than a Yankees game. Parking is $8.00 (tied for third cheapest). Surprisingly ticket prices went up 3.5% from 2012.
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks: heading to warm and sunny Phoenix for a game will only you around $16.89 for a ticket (second lowest) with premium seats around $51.59 (second lowest). Just to put that into perspective the average cost of a premium seat to a D-backs game costs the about same amount as the average for a regular ticket to a Yankees game. Ticket prices did increase by 7.3% from 2012. Parking is only $8.00 (tied for third cheapest).
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates: visiting PNC Park will cost on average $17.21 (third lowest) to see a game with premium seats coming in at $57.30 (ninth lowest). Ticket prices in 2013 went up 6.8% from last year. Parking will actually cost you almost as much as your ticket, averaging about $15 per spot (tied for 11th highest).
  4. Atlanta Braves: heading down to HOTlanta to see a game is going to cost around $17.32 (fourth lowest) per person. If you upgrade for premium seats, that will cost about $46.74 (sixth lowest). Ticket prices rose 3.8% from 2012 to 2013. Once again, parking your car is going to cost almost as much as the price of admission coming in at around $15.00 (tied for 11th highest).
  5. Cleveland Indians: a visit to Progressive Field will cost an average of $19.59 (fifth lowest) per ticket while premium seating will be around $56.17 (eighth lowest). This is the only team in the top five of lowest avg. ticket prices who saw the cost go down, dropping around 4.1% this year. Parking will cost around $12.00 (13th lowest).

State of Missouri

  • St. Louis Cardinals: going to see the 2011 World Series Champions will actually cost you more this year than the year after they won the championship. Ticket prices at Busch Stadium went up about 3.7% from 2012. The average cost of admission comes in at $33.11 (sixth highest) with premium seats at around $77.26 (14th highest). Parking is around $10.00 (tied for 17th).
  • Kansas City Royals: a ticket to Kauffman Stadium will cost you an average of $19.83 (sixth lowest) while a premium seat costs $79.06 (13th highest). Ticket prices in KC actually went down by 10.1% from 2012. Parking will cost $10.00 (tied for 17th).

Now that we’ve talked tickets & parking there also comes the cost of food, drinks, souvenirs, etc.Beer & Hot Dogs

  • Beer: highest $8.25 (Nationals), lowest $4.00 (Braves/Indians), average $6.12.
  • Soft Drinks: highest $5.25 (Cardinals/Dodgers), lowest $1.00 (Reds), average $3.67.
  • Hot Dog: highest $6.25 (Mets), lowest $1.00 (Reds), average $4.14).
  • Program: highest $5.07 (Blue Jays), lowest FREE (nine ballparks) , average $2.99.
  • Baseball Cap: highest $25.00 (Yankees), lowest $9.99 (Diamondbacks), average $17.39.

According to the Team Marketing Report, their Fan Cost Index includes the prices of four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. By taking a look at the FCI for each team, a trip to a major league baseball game this year could cost you as much as $336.99 (Boston Red Sox) or as little as $122.53 (Arizona Diamondbacks). On average, a trip to an MLB game will cost you around $208 in 2013.

Win for Ware: A Producer’s Take

Win for Ware

When something goes wrong – the first thing to do is find the route that with the least amount of damage as soon as possible. While watching the Louisville/Duke game on Sunday, what went wrong was a devastating injury to Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware.

The injury was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I’m still trying to process how his leg bent that way because it still doesn’t seem possible. I don’t think I will ever actually know how it was possible either because I can’t watch it anymore. In fact, I refuse to watch it because it makes me sick to my stomach and brings tears to my eyes. As the scene developed, I somehow strapped on my producer hat and started thinking about what I would do if I were in that situation.

Ware with TeammatesIt’s something I can’t help but do. I stack these invisible hats on top of each other – all ones that define who I am. Aspects of our lives affect everything we do whether we want them to or not. This was one of the times when being a producer affected the way I reacted to an event and made me look at something differently than a lot of other people.

My first thought was to go to break. Something like this happens rarely and I was worried that it could spiral out of control quickly. CBS could replay that horrific scene too much, get the wrong angle of Ware on the court (showing his leg bent), etc. The numerous tragic possibilities started flowing into my head. I started to worry and waited to see when they would cut to break.

As producers, we are trained to constantly be thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong and how to handle it. That’s why going to break made the most sense to me at first. My mindset was to go to break, have the producers/staff tell everyone the game plan for when they came back and then proceed with caution. But what seemed like the best option to me wasn’t what they did.

Something I didn’t take into consideration at the time was the production team the producer was working with. Having a group of people that can look crisis in the face with blinking is something to be truly blessed with. I’m sure the team working the NCAA Tournament is the major league crew for CBS – which is why I don’t think they ended up going to break. They took control without even batting an eye but still managed to proceed with caution. They let the story unfold in front of America and kept it from turning into a disaster. CBS was able to feed the masses as hundreds of thousands started spreading the news on social media. They also taught me to view the audience a different way. I learned that sometimes I need to think of the viewers that I could get at any moment at the same level I think about keeping the viewers I have. By putting on my producer hat I learned a valuable lesson I might not have learned otherwise.

Win for WareAs time progressed, we slowly learned more about Ware’s injury – details so gruesome that hearing them didn’t make it any less painful than seeing it. In his post game interview head coach Rick Pitino described how despite having a bone sticking out of his leg, Ware kept telling his team to win the game. That type of passion and strength is something that everyone should admire, whether you are a Louisville fan or not. Having the ability to still put your team before yourself when you are in pain like that is amazing. My heart goes out to Ware, his family, his friends and his team. It made me become a Ware fan – even having never met him before. In that moment of pain, we got to see the true type of person he is. He is admirable and I pray that he is able to recover as quickly and painlessly as possible. I hope that the strength he had in front of his team will help in the long fight ahead of him. And most importantly I hope that Louisville is able to go to Atlanta, the home of Kevin Ware, and win the national title for him.

Louisville, I picked you to win it all just two weeks ago and I hope that to be true. Come on Cardinals, Win for Ware.