Tom Ackerman, @ackerman1120By Tom Ackerman

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The best part of the sports calendar is here… fall.  Let’s get to it!

– The Cardinals are taking it down to the wire again.  Will they make it to the postseason? It’s considered to be a long shot at best. The fact is, they were swept last weekend in Chicago at a time when they really needed all three games to go in their favor.  Another fact, however: they’re 1.5 games out of a wild card spot heading into the weekend. It’s that close.

– How many times did you bury the Cardinals this season?  Three times?  Five?  72 times, one for each loss, as a Twitter user pointed out to me?  In the meantime, for people who hate the Cardinals, this is a horror movie.. where the heroes have a hard time killing off the villain.

– For some Cardinals fans, it’s entertaining to see this team refuse to go quietly.  These younger players are gaining extremely valuable experience.

– There will be a time to discuss 2018, like maybe next weekend, if the season comes to an end.  But until then, it’s one inning at a time until this team is eliminated.  If the Rockies resemble the 2011 Atlanta Braves… who knows?

– The Blues are already playing games at Scottrade Center.  I always appreciate how the NHL has a couple of practice days and then their teams just get after it.  Unfortunately, the Blues have racked up a load of injuries in just a week: Forwards Alexander Steen (hand) and Zach Sanford (dislocated shoulder) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (fractured ankle). Sanford’s requires surgery, he’s out 5-6 months. And that’s not to mention forward Patrik Berglund, who is out for the foreseeable future after offseason shoulder surgery.

– In the interim, this is a prime opportunity for some of the team’s exciting young prospects to shine at the world’s top level… until the opener on October 4 in Pittsburgh.  The one I’m watching the closest?  Klim Kostin.  Strong, skilled winger with tremendous upside.  The only reason the Blues got him at 20th overall was because of a previous injury.  Keep an eye on Kostin as he rises through the system.

– It’s discouraging and disappointing, what’s happened on the field so far with the Mizzou football program.  But there is plenty of time for Barry Odom to show improvement.  You can only go up from here, quite honestly.  You can’t get much worse than letting Missouri State take it to you, from the opening drive, where the missed tackles and missed assignments were appalling.  And then how South Carolina and Purdue, two Power 5 schools looking to make major progress this year, had their way with you.  Odom needs to show athletic director Jim Sterk that his team has promise and can play with the big boys – and as a unit.  Auburn will be a very difficult test on Saturday, the way the Tigers have been playing.

– Can’t wait for basketball season.  It’s right around the corner… and this area is warming up to it quickly.  Mizzou certainly has fueled that with Cuonzo Martin signing one of the best recruiting classes in the country.  What people might not know is that Missouri State could very well win the MVC this season… the Bears are loaded with returning talent.  SLU will be very strong as Travis Ford rolls out an impressive group in his second season as coach.

– Join the Missouri Athletic Club for a College Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon on Monday, October 2.  Brad Underwood (Illinois), Travis Ford (SLU), Barry Hinson  (Southern Illinois) and Jon Harris (SIUE) are among those committed.  Lunch is at 11:45 with the program at 12:15, parking included.  You can sign up for the luncheon



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