In my brief Army career (I was a draftee), the term “ABOUT FACE” was used. It referred to  ”An abrupt turn to face the opposite direction. Or, it was a reversal of attitude or opinion.” Well…. The same type of thing happens in the sports world. There are plenty of “ABOUT FACES”..take a look..

…Mizzou took an ABOUT FACE this week. Their game against Georgia was vastly improved over the dismal loss to Auburn. The Defensive Line was much more aggressive; LB reacted quickly and the O-Line performed at a higher level. Sure, you say, but they lost.  Auburn isn’t Georgia. I mean, MU led by 10 points going into the 4th quarter after the 5th FG by Harrison Mevis. Georgia used its terrific receiving corp to rally for the win. If Mizzou keeps that same intensity, they’ll win some games.

….There are still some question marks about MU though. 1st of all…There might be an “ABOUT FACE” on  the thoughts on Luther Burden. Again in this game, he wasn’t a real contributor. I’m beginning to think that it may lay on his shoulders. He can’t just run “by” people in the SEC like he did in HS. He’s got to “grow” into the skills of the next level. Soph Dominic Lovett (another ESL player like Burden) has passed up Burden in my mind. A year older & a full year of experience sees Lovett was the top receiver on the club—32 catchers, 562 yds (92yds/gm). #2.

….I think that there should be an “ABOUT FACE on the use of running back Cody Schrader. Sure…he doesn’t look the part(he’s not real big or exceptionally fast)… doesn’t bring an heavy resume (transferred from D-II Truman State). He probably won’t win any 40 yd sprints but he sees & hits the hole at full speed, can follow blocks, set up blocks. Look @ his Stats against Georgia—he rushed for 89 of the 102 rushing yards against the Dogs. He should be the starting running back. Sure…use other backs throughout the game…but Schrader should be in the game in critical spots.

…the NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) World of the new NCAA regulations have made many students wealthy individuals. In some cases, the entire team has signed a collective NIL deal. Now, some of you will have to take an “ABOUT FACE” on the idea that NCAA women athletes would never benefit from NIL deals.  The Texas Tech Women’s Basketball team collectively signed a deal with Level 13 agency. This is the first ever team-wide NIL deal in women’s collegiate history. Each player will receive $25,000 in the deal.

….of course our Cardinals (like every other MLB team) had surprises in the 2022 season. The Cards had to take an ‘ABOUT FACE” on Matthew Liberatore. Still only 22 years old..seems like we’ve heard about him for years…and actually we have! It’s time for production, not prediction. He was drafted in the 1st round by Tampa Bay & signed as an 18 year old!!  In 2018, he pitched a total of 32 inn in the Rookie League. In 2019 he pitched a total of 78 innings. In 2019 for Tampa, he was in the Rookie League. In 2020, it was Covid—no minor leagues. In 2021- he pitched for Memphis Redbirds was 9-9, 4.04 ERA in 18 starts/22 games, struck out 123, walked 33. After 4 years of Minor league development with mixed results– 24-22 in his minor league career, it’s time to step up to the big stage. Apparently, his fastball has very good movement. 2023 MUST be his year to show improvement. So many times, we’ve heard about other “prospects” that often just don’t live up to their high expectations set for them. It’s time to find out in ’23 about Liberatore!

…remember all the excitement about the BIG NCAA games of the week! For decades, NCAA-F fans followed Texas-Oklahoma game closely. You’ll need an “ABOUT FACE” on that idea! Instead, NCAA-F fans should focus on the Kansas & K State teams!  No…it isn’t basketball season yet where these 2 teams usually excel…it’s actually football!  While Texas AND Oklahoma are each 3-2 in 2022. OU is coming off back-back losses to K-State 41-34 & TCU 55-24! Texas also  holds a 3-2 record but has fared a bit better…they lost to Bama 20-19 & to Texas Tech 37-34. However the Longhorn wins are over rather pedestrian teams..LA-Monroe; West Virginia & UTSA (U Texas @ San Antonio). On the other hand–Kansas is 5-0 (1st time since 2009) and ranked #19 in the USA. K-State is 4-1 but beat Oklahoma last weekend! K-State has a tough opponent this week in an improved Iowa State!

…While our Cardinals are living up to pre-season expectations of MLB experts, some of the 2022 predictions need an ABOUT FACE. On our web site called “The Ringer” 2022 MLB predictions were provided on Apr 5th. The Most obvious “ABOUT FACE” regards the Cleveland Indians. This “expert” ranked them as the 4th best team in the AL Central Division (commonly viewed as the weakest division in the AL). The ABOUT FACE has you actually seeing the Guardians holding a 90-69 record (only the NYY & Asstroes have more wins)! Yet could Joe Baseball Fan name any of their players?

Looking at the roster, Cleveland has only 2 (of the 8 regulars) over 27 years of age! They actually have two .300+ batters(Andrés Giménez & Steven Kwan). Granted they are only at .301 & .302 but what the heck! The Cardinals are higher than the Guardians in most batting categories (usually very close) with one exception. The Guardians have a wide advantage in sacrifice Hits (bunts).The Cards only have 5 sacrifice bunts for all of 2022. Cleveland has 22. I believe that that Cards are following exactly the analytics about giving up outs which says don’t bunt into an out to advance a runner.  But…. apparently, it still DOES work for winning teams that don’t own 2 or 3 power hitters.

…That wraps it up for today. Thanks for YOUR read! I have a reliable group of readers (around 800) but I’d like to add to that readership. I’m asking all of you to send me just 1 name(friend, relative, classmate, etc) & their email address with their permission who you think would enjoy the read. Just one!! I welcome the names of men & women.  Thanks for your help! I’m hoping to reach 1000 readers soon. If you’d prefer, you may catch up on any of my blogs, go to http://www.bobryansportsblog.com (goes all the way back to Jan, 2015) .  YOUR ideas & thoughts on any of the topics of this blog. It may be posted on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan). If you prefer, send them to me & I’ll post for you. Thanks for your read!  Bob

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