Missouri Tigers Need to Be Wise in James Franklin's Return

By Tim Letcher

If reports are true, then the Missouri Tigers could face a decision on their starting quarterback this weekend. James Franklin, who was the starter at the beginning of the season until being injured against the Georgia Bulldogs, appears to be healthy again. However, there are three factors that say Mizzou should either ease him back into the mix and/or wait another week before playing him.

The first reason is that, in Franklin’s absence, backup quarterback Maty Mauk has played fairly well. Mauk finished off the win over Georgia, and has led the Tigers to a pair of wins as the starter. His only loss, which is Missouri’s only loss of the season as well, came in double overtime against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Mauk has proven that he can lead this team and can continue to do so.

Reason number two is the health of Franklin. If he’s not completely healthy, Gary Pinkel should elect to keep him off the field for another week. Missouri controls its own destiny in the Southeastern Conference‘s Eastern Division, and having Franklin for the stretch run is much more important than rushing him back.

And the final reason is this week’s opponent, the Kentucky Wildcats. Missouri should be able to handle Kentucky with or without Franklin. So if Pinkel is not forced to put Franklin into a situation where he could be hurt again, then he shouldn’t have to, especially against the worst team in the conference.

Missouri’s last two games will be tougher than this week’s game. That’s when Franklin should be counted on to get the Tigers over the top. Not this week against the SEC’s cellar dwellers.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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