Brad Madison has had an up-and-down season in his final year of university ball. Yet Madison, a senior with the University of Missouri Tigers football squad, is hoping his club can finish off its 2012 campaign on an upbeat note.
Madison, a member of the Nez Perce tribe, has seen his team, often simply referred to as Mizzou, post an over-all record of 4-5 this season. This includes a disappointing 14-7 loss to the host Florida Gators this past Saturday. Missouri has three games remaining in its regular season schedule. Madison said his teammates are hoping with a strong finish they will receive an invitation to a season-ending bowl match. "That's our goal right now--getting into a bowl game," Madison said. "The last 6-7 years we have gone into a bowl game. And we don't want to be that team that breaks the streak and doesn't get in." Missouri has competed in seven consecutive bowl games since 2005. A year ago the club defeated North Carolina 41-24 in the Independence Bowl, held in Shreveport, Louisiana this past December.
As for this season, Mizzou's next game is Saturday in Knoxville against star quarterback Tyler Bray, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and the University of Tennessee Vols. The Tigers will then host the Syracuse Orange on Nov. 17. And the squad will conclude its regular season on Nov. 24 with a road contest versus at Texas A&M. "I think we'll need to win at least two of them," Madison said of what he believes his squad will require to garner a bowl invite. This marks the Tigers' first season in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Prior to that Mizzou competed in the Big 12 Conference. "They'll all be tough games," Madison said of the Tigers' last three contests. "In this new conference you see a good team every week. You need to bring your A game every week. If you don't, you can lose to any team. But you can also beat any team."
Madison, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive lineman, entered the 2012 season with high hopes but also as a bit of a question mark. He had surgery on his left shoulder this past January. His shoulder injury had hindered his play during his junior season. And his shoulder is still not 100 percent following the surgery. "It's not too bad," he said. "I feel it's getting better." Madison has played in all nine of the Tigers' matches so far this season. But he only started four of those games. "We have a bunch of good defensive ends," he said. "We rotate in and out. There's a lot of competition at my position. But I'm playing a lot."
Madison has been credited with 3.5 sacks this season. He's also registered 14 tackles, including eight solo ones. Madison would also welcome the opportunity to keep playing football after this season. But he's unsure whether any type of pro career on the gridiron will materialize. "It's kind of tough to tell right now," he said. "It's a waiting game. I might try and play somewhere. I'll see how things work out. I'll see what happens after this season is over."
Madison graduated with an agriculture degree from Missouri this past May. But he returned to the school as he had another season of football eligibility remaining. He's now doing some graduate studies, working towards a sports psychology degree. "I probably won't finish that degree here," he said. "I'll have to see where I end up." For now, Madison will be happy if he can lead Mizzou to some late-season victories and another bowl appearance.