Once-overlooked Missouri Tigers can be the best of the nation's best

— Years from now, when we all have flying cars and the NFL finally puts flags on quarterbacks, you or someone you love will forget about this fall and think there are certainties in the sports we love.

When that happens, you would do well to Google “2013 Missouri Tigers,” assuming Google is still a thing.

Because somehow, some way, a year removed from a bowl-less season and a few months removed from being picked ahead of only Kentucky in the SEC East, Missouri is No. 5 and rising in the BCS standings and now preparing for the championship game of the country’s toughest college football conference.

Mizzou beat No. 19 Texas A&M and its Heisman Trophy winning quarterback 28-21 here in front of a national television audience on Saturday. In one week, MU plays for the SEC championship in a game that may be watched by more people than any in the program’s history.

“We got a lot of respect back,” Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel says. “You know, respect is real, real important to me.”

No question about that. The best part for Mizzou fans is that the turnaround does not have the symptoms of a fade. All season, Mizzou has played its home games under two massive cranes working the early stages of a major stadium expansion, and the symbolism is impossible to miss.

Just like MU’s previous 10 wins this season, nobody walked out of the stadium thinking this was a fluke. The 11-1 Tigers outplayed A&M, the same way they did Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ole Miss before.

Pinkel, who may have a statue at this stadium someday, tied Don Faurot for the most wins of any coach in Mizzou history.

One more win, and it’s the most successful season in at least two generations — a year after a ridiculous string of injuries contributed to a seven-loss season, and three years after conventional wisdom had MU in over its head in the SEC.

Look at these guys now. They lost one game, when a short field goal in the second overtime against South Carolina banged off an upright. Other than that, perfect.

Henry Josey, who Pinkel called “sacred” to MU fans, scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, setting off a wild celebration that finished with many in a sellout crowd rushing the field in celebration.

Act like they’ve been there before? Well, they haven’t.

Not in the SEC, anyway. Not after many thought the upgrade in conference would be like dropping someone who can’t swim into the deep end without a floatation device.

They deserve this celebration, the continuation of a program fulfilling what Pinkel describes as “a quiet mission” it set back in January.

An offensive line beat up both literally and metaphorically a year ago is now overmatching opponents. A defense that gave up more than 40 points in half its conference games last year is now among the SEC’s best.

Mizzou, picked sixth in its own division in the preseason, will now play Auburn for the championship of the best conference in college football.

They have done it through James Franklin’s injury, Andrew Baggett’s miss and the passing of Don James, Pinkel’s greatest coaching influence.

This is the team that history probably will see as establishing Mizzou’s best self-image in a new conference: smart quarterback play, mutant receivers who create mismatches in the red zone and a strong defense that wins the line of scrimmage. Through it all is the kind of togetherness that every coach wants, and a toughness that all good teams have.

These Tigers have already exceeded many of their fans’ highest hopes for the season, and now they have a good chance for even more.

No. 4 Auburn beat top-ranked Alabama in an insane finish, meaning Missouri is a slight betting favorite against a fellow one-loss team for the SEC championship. Missouri never won a Big 12 championship but can win the SEC in just its second season in the conference.

Back before the season, Tigers receiver L’Damian Washington caused a minor stir by saying he expected 11 wins this year. Nobody outside the program or his immediate family paid it much attention beyond minor amusement, but as the season rolled along Washington reminded reporters about it.

Here we are, the regular season done, and Mizzou has those 11 wins with the chance for more.

This week, the leadup will undoubtedly include debate over whether a one-loss SEC team should play for the BCS championship over an undefeated Ohio State (should it beat Michigan State for the Big Ten title) or undefeated Florida State (should it beat Duke for the ACC title).

This is one of those partisan issues the media will beat into the ground for a week, even as a one-loss team jumping an undefeated team from a major conference flies in the face of precedence and logic.

In more relevant terms for Mizzou, it will also distract from the fact that the Tigers will be playing for its first conference championship since the 1960s and what many would consider the best season in program history.

And nobody saw this coming.

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Simon Olsen: Man, 54, arrested by armed police and charged with murder after fisheries owner, 56, is shot dead near his land

  • Steven Langley was shot in the abdomen, yards from Bax Farm fisheries

  • Paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene

  • Police have now charged Simon Olsen, 54, with his murder

  • He was arrested shortly after the attack, and went quietly with officers

  • The victim's wife, Lucia, paid tribute to her husband, a former firefighter

By Kieran Corcoran


Murdered: Steven Langley was gunned down on Friday in Tonge, Kent

Murdered: Steven Langley was gunned down on Friday in Tonge, Kent

Police have charged a man with murder after a fisheries owner was shot dead on Friday.

Steven Langley, 56, was gunned down not far from Bax Farm fisheries in Tonge, Kent, which he owned.

Parademics rushed to the scene, but Mr Langley was pronounced dead at the, having sustained wounds to the abdomen.

Simon Olsen, 54, was arrested by Kent Police shortly after the attack on Friday afternoon, who later charged him with the murder. He remains in police custody.

A spokesman for Kent Police said that the suspect did not put up a fight and went quietly with officers.

The man, who is believed to have once worked at the fisheries, is being questioned by officers.

Police are not looking for anybody else in connection with the murder.

Mr Langley, described as a 'gentle giant', worked as a firefighter at Kent Fire and Rescue Service for 22 years and yesterday friends and colleagues paid tribute on social media.

The victim's wife, Lucia Langley, paid tribute today to her husband, saying: 'He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold. He loved his family who always came first and he would do anything for anybody.'

Friends and colleagues also paid tribute to the father and husband, saying he will be 'greatly missed'.

Jim Green, from Sittingbourne, Kent, who had worked with Mr Langley, said: 'It is with great sadness to hear of the death of Steve, especially in such horrific circumstances.

'He was a great colleague and someone who I am glad to have called a true friend. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.'

Another friend posted on the GoFishing website: 'I am posting here news of a great mate's tragic death. Steve Langley, owner of Bax Farm Fishery Kent, was murdered on site.

Shot: The victim was found near Bax Farm and Fishery near Sittingbourne, Kent. A 54-year-old man is being held

Shot: The victim was found near Bax Farm and Fishery near Sittingbourne, Kent. A man, 54, is being held

'I had known Steve for many years: a great angling ambassador, stalwart and friend.

'We had fished together, drank together and worked together. I am heartbroken but my love, my thoughts, my peace and my prayers are with Steve's family and many friends, especially his old mates with whom he served in Kent Fire and Rescue.'

Detective Inspector Gavin Moss, of the Serious Crime Directorate said: 'Mr Langley was a much loved father and husband and was also a well known member of his local community.

'We are continuing to investigate the circumstances that have led to this tragic death.'

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Pregnant woman has unborn baby girl forcibly removed by caesarean after social workers obtain court order because she had suffered a mental breakdown

  • Italian woman claims she was not warned she would be given a ceasarean

  • Essex council obtained order allowing them to sedate her against her will

  • The case has now escalated into an international legal row

By Daily Mail Reporter


The Italian woman, who was in Britain for work, claims she had not even been warned that she would be given a ceasarean.

The Italian woman, who was in Britain for work, claims she had not even been warned that she would be given a ceasarean

Social services forcibly removed a pregnant woman's unborn baby by caesarean section and put it up for adoption after obtaining a high court order on the grounds the mother had suffered a mental breakdown.

Essex council obtained an order allowing them to sedate the woman against her will before taking her daughter and placing it into care.

The Italian woman, who was in Britain on a work training course, claims she had not even been warned that she would be given a caesarean. It is not believed a natural birth would have posed a risk to her or the child's health.

Social workers argue they were acting in the best interests of the baby, who is now 15 months old, and are refusing to hand her back to the mother despite claims that she has made a complete recovery, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Brendan Fleming, the woman’s British lawyer, told the newspaper: 'I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.

'I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented.

'If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there.'

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, reportedly suffered a panic attack while staying at a hotel which her relatives believe was a result of her failing to take medication for a pre-existing bi-polar condition.

She called the police and was taken to a psychiatric hospital where she was sectioned under the mental health act.

The baby was born five weeks later after which the mother returned to Italy.

The case has since escalated into an international legal row with an Italian High Court judge questioning whether British care proceedings should have been applied to the child of an Italian citizen.

In February the mother requested the return of her daughter at a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Despite hearing that she had resumed taking her medication, the judge ruled the baby should be placed up for adoption because of the risk that the mother might suffer a relapse.