(Missouri Football App) - Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said James Franklin could have played against Tennessee.
Franklin participated in pregame warm ups and would have been inserted into the game if Maty Mauk had struggled. If Franklin’s shoulder is recovering faster than expected but not 100%, then the question must be asked: Should he start against Kentucky?
There are many factors that go into that answer.
Missouri is facing a weaker opponent. Kentucky is 2-6 and is following its tradition of being at or near the bottom of the SEC. The Wildcats have not won any conference games in 2013 and their two wins have been against inferior competition, Miami (OH) and Alabama State. Even without Franklin’s play making ability, the Tigers should have little trouble taking care of business in the Bluegrass State. (That doesn’t mean they should take Kentucky lightly, after all things have been unpredictable this year in the SEC)
The Tigers also have a bye week after traveling to Lexington, which would give Franklin’s shoulder an extra week of rest before Mizzou faces a tough road opponent in Ole Miss; a completely healthy Franklin may be the difference between a big road win in Oxford and an upset that would most likely deny Missouri a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
The plan that Pinkel used for Tennessee is also the best arrangement versus Kentucky; start Mauk, but keep Franklin fresh and available in case the redshirt freshman is shaky.