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VOL. 128 | NO. 229 | Friday, November 22, 2013

College Football Notebook: November 22, 2013

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For the East Division-leading Missouri Tigers (9-1, 5-1), the last road test of the SEC season comes this Saturday in Oxford against No. 24 Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3), which is on a four-game winning streak. The No. 8 Tigers need to win out to ensure a trip to Atlanta for the SEC championship game. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is trying to push even the idea of pressure to the fringes.

“That is clutter,” he said. “Teams that prepare right don’t let that affect them. They focus on what they control, and that is playing well. That’s when your mental toughness kicks in, and you do not let outside things change your focus.”

Quarterback James Franklin returns from injury as the starter for Missouri, but Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze isn’t as concerned with Franklin taking over for second-stringer Maty Mauk as he is with the Missouri receiving corps.

“They’ve done the exact same things with their second guy that they do with their first one,” Freeze said.

As for the receivers: “That’s a physics problem we can’t solve. Their guys are just more able to make plays on the ball than maybe some DBs that they’ve faced.”

Missouri’s L’Damian Washington is averaging 18.9 yards per catch and has caught nine touchdown passes and Dorial Green-Beckham is averaging 14.5 yards with nine TDs.

Former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron is not only 5-1 as interim head coach at USC since Lane Kiffin was sent packing, he is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Football Club’s Coach of the Year Award, USA Today reported.

What might not help Orgeron’s chances? The backing Kiffin gave him on a Los Angeles radio station, saying USC should hire Orgeron as the full-time coach. “That’s easy … it should be Ed Orgeron,” Kiffin said.

Vanderbilt (6-4, 3-4) is bowl-eligible for the third straight season under coach James Franklin, the program in the unusual place of being above Tennessee (4-6, 1-5). The two schools meet this Saturday in Knoxville and the Vols have to win and then beat Kentucky to become bowl-eligible.

Franklin believes the UT-Vanderbilt game is “good for the state,” but he stopped short of calling it a rivalry, saying, “I don’t think it’s there yet.”

Asked about recruiting against UT, Franklin said: “Yeah, we definitely recruit against them, just as we do with Georgia and Ole Miss and really a lot of the SEC schools. We also recruit a lot against Duke, Stanford and Northwestern for obvious reasons.”

Don’t think he meant it as a shot but, yeah, you can take it that way if you want.

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