'Ask a Midwesterner' talks World Series, fans, Missouri nickname - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hot Reads: More good times for Middle America

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Strength in numbers couldn't help Tennessee last week against Alabama, but can they right the ship against Mizzou? (Source: Alabama Athletics Communications) Strength in numbers couldn't help Tennessee last week against Alabama, but can they right the ship against Mizzou? (Source: Alabama Athletics Communications)
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(RNN) - We have your definition of bittersweet right here - an otherwise great week for people living in the middle part of the country has some soiling on it.

The St. Louis Cardinals are fielding a group of rookie pitchers already good enough to carry them to a World Series, but they have to finish the Series on the road.

The Missouri Tigers are contending in the SEC about a decade sooner than anyone thought, but they're less than a week removed from their first loss of the season.

The one thing both teams have in common is that their next matchup is against a highly recognizable opponent with cyclical success and loyal fan base that tends to be obnoxious, even when its team stinks (Full disclosure: Hot Reads has been a Red Sox fan since before a World Series title was even a possibility).

With that said, it's time for our next installment of "Ask a Midwesterner."

This week's guest is Jill Finney, who works for the city of Nixa, MO, (Google map it, people), believes in being nice to all species of animals and has the Midwest version of a potty mouth (which means she likes to say "pooh" when she's displeased with something). She's wild, I tell ya.

Hot Reads: What are your thoughts on the World Series?

Jill Finney: "I hope we can win. I'm starting to get concerned. We work best under pressure, but I hate that we have to win two games in a row in Boston. I didn't want us to go to the seventh game to win the World Series because I have to take my kids trick or treating."

HR: Speaking of irritating things, does it bother you that as a Red Sox fan I'm wearing a Memphis Redbirds jersey at this very moment? (For those who don't know, the Redbirds are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cardinals. I bought it during a road trip when I was still single. It's a nice jersey. What can I say?)

JF: It doesn't make me mad. It's still red, so that counts. Honestly, it's not technically a St. Louis jersey, so you wouldn't be a traitor to your team. Cardinals fans are some of the best fans in baseball. We go to other cities, and they boo us and they're mean. I don't like getting booed because I think our players are stand-up players and stand-up men.

HR: Heartwarming and touching, it truly is. So are you a fan of corn?

JF: I briefly lived in Indiana, and I ate a lot of it, but I'm not a big fan. It has a lot of starch. And I hate cornbread, but that's right up my husband's alley. He loves it. He likes to break it up and dip it in milk.

HR: Actually, I was talking about Korn, the band.

JF: I don't listen to them. I'm a country music fan. But not the old, twangy country - I'm a fan of modern country.

HR: Just kidding, I actually was talking about the food. Who doesn't like cornbread? I mean, really... Brad Pitt and some other famous folks are from Missouri. But who are some famous people you guys wish you could claim?

JF: I don't know, that's a hard one. Probably someone who has done some good for society, not that actors don't do that. Hmm, it'd be nice to have Mother Teresa.

HR: Wow, Mother Teresa in a Cardinals jersey. That's a picture.

JF: Yep. Nobody understands the Midwest. People think we're a bunch of hillbillies, and all we do is cowtip, but I've never been cowtipping. We're home to Bass Pro Shops, and my husband works for their corporate office.

HR: Ma'am, you and your husband just earned about a million fans in the southeastern U.S. OK, final thoughts on your great state and general area of the country.

JF: I really don't understand our nickname, "The Show Me State." I think we could have come up with something better. I have no idea what that means. It sounds like we're trying to prove ourselves to people. Maybe it should be "Simply the Best."

HR: Or maybe, "Hey, We're Still Here."

JF: No, that sounds like we're trying to prove ourselves again. How about "Holding the Country Together?" Because without us, the country would be divided.

SEC vs. SEC

Florida at Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Remember way back in the day when this would have been a good game? And by way back in the day, I mean three weeks ago.

You see, back in those early times of October the Pirates had a fighting chance of beating the Cardinals in the playoffs; gas was 3 cents lower in the morning and 2 cents lower in the afternoon; and there was this thing called the government shutdown that was disrupting people's lives. Yep, those were the days.

Most important, the Bulldogs and Gators actually looked like contenders in the East Division, and Nov. 2 was a date they could circle on the calendar.

Now, two teams who are 4-3 entering an annual series that has a vague reference to alcoholic indulgence are being forced down our throats on national TV. Thanks, Obama … oh wait, wrong conversation.

The once great offense of Georgia and the once great defense of Florida are both being held together by duct tape and prayer.

However, this game will be fun to watch because Aaron Murray is currently the best thing on two legs in the state of Georgia. He could set the SEC career record for passing touchdowns Saturday, and he could become just the third Georgia quarterback to beat Florida three times in his career, joining the company of Johnny Rauch (four) and Buck Belue (three).

You have to realistically figure it's a race between Missouri and South Carolina for the division, but with a win for either team and a little help it's a wide-open contest again.

Remember Chas Henry, Florida fans? He kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime in 2010 for the Gators' last win in the series. Florida's kicking percentage is second-worst in the conference this season, although Frankie Velez is 3-for-3 with a long of 44. So there's that.

Tennessee at Missouri, 7 p.m. ET Saturday

Wouldn't you love to know how Mizzou responds to its first loss in what could still be a dream season? And wouldn't you love to know if the team that beat South Carolina two weeks ago will walk off Tennessee's bus?

Boy, Hot Reads sure would. It would also be nice if this game ended at a reasonable hour. Mizzou has played more overtime games than any other FBS team since the rule was created in 1995 and is also the all-time leader in OT wins with 11.

Who is second, you ask? That would be the Vols with 10 OT wins. They were also involved in three of the four longest OT games in SEC history and lost to the Tigers last year on a field goal in the fourth extra period.

Fun times ahead, for sure.

There's life outside the SEC?

Texas-El Paso at Texas A&M in prime time on ESPN? Really? Surely, one of the interns in the network's scheduling department is the niece or nephew of a suit at Disney.

The only possible justification for nationally televising this game is that the Miners' Jameill Showers was Texas A&M's QB1 before losing the job to some redshirt freshman who won the Heisman. But Showers is out for the game with a shoulder injury, so now what?

Only 16 defenses out of 120 are worse than UTEP. Only two offenses are better than Texas A&M. Don't miss sleep for this one.

Also, don't sleep on Alabama State. The Hornets have won six straight games and are taking on a team that has lost five straight. Yes I realize the team they play Saturday is Kentucky.

So, what's your point?

Stat of the Week:

.818: Oregon should reeeeally rethink that "We Want Bama" chant. The NFL Lite has the highest nonconference winning percentage since 2006, and the other leagues are not even close. The Big 12 is second with .738 (71 fewer total wins than the SEC). The Pac-12, Oregon's league, is way down the list at fifth with a .631 nonconference winning percentage in the last eight years.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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