Since it doesn't look like backup QB Dominic Grooms is coming back, PowerMizzou takes a look at what that means for Mizzou's recruiting efforts (short answer: not a lot).
The most common question has been, "Does Missouri go after a junior college quarterback?" Our simple answer: Why would they? In recruiting a juco quarterback, you would be saying that you think he is better than Dalton and Gabbert. If you can find one juco quarterback, or transfer quarterback, who has proven to be that good in recent memory, you've done better research than us. Gabbert and Dalton are being brought in to be the successors to Daniel and the players that sustain the success Smith and Daniel began. For Mizzou to go after a juco quarterback after losing their third-stringer would be the equivalent of pounding on the panic button with both hands.
Let's peruse the Big 12 SBN blogs, shall we? Burnt Orange Nation examines a quote from Mack Brown about the recruiting 'arms race' (Brown says there certainly is one, and that's perfectly fine) and says you're to blame (along with the media, the pros, the boosters, the regents, etc.). And speaking of the media, TB at Bring On The Cats takes on the NY Times' new college "blogger", who ranked KSU #84. EIGHTY-FOUR. That's, like, below Baylor territory right there.
Clone Chronicles ranks the Big 12 coaches. As always, Mark Mangino is ahead of Gary Pinkel. That's fine...different expectations at play there, but I'm (mostly) okay with that.
Oh yeah, and Corn Nation decides to take a look at MU-NU. It is Nebraska Week, after all.
5. Mizzou is expected by most fans and media outlets to win in Lincoln for first time in three decades. How much of a chance do you give the Huskers against Missouri at home this year?
Corn Blight: I put our chances at 40%. Wait. Maybe 45%. Missouri had a great season last year, but they're still Missouri so they'll need to "Show Me" that the Tigers can sustain greatness. The ass-kicking the Tigers laid on us last year will inspire the Huskers to play that much better and that fourth quarter fake field goal will come back to haunt Gary Pinkel. Lincoln has been cruel to the Tigers - there is no reason why it won't continue to be so in 2008. Incidentally, I was at the last game Missouri won in Lincoln. I don't think I'll go this year so there'll be no jinx in place. Let's raise my expectation to 55%.
Blankman: About as good of a chance as they’ve had in those three decades. Nebraska benefits from the loss of Mike Rucker and Pig Brown, but they still have to take Daniel, Maclin and Coffman into account on offense. It will take a LOT to stop what I think will be an aerial assault against an inexperienced Nebraska secondary and barring an amazing day from Armando Murillo, I think Mizzou will have success there.
Flipping it over, Nebraska has more quality depth on the offensive line than they’ve had in a long time which is not what you want to hear as a team looking to claim such a historic victory in the series. If Mizzou can get pushed around, you could see something similar to Chase Daniel’s last Lincoln experience. In the end I call it 55-45 in favor of the Tigers as of right now.
Husker Mike: Missouri returns a bunch from a top-ten team, but Nebraska fans aren't just assuming defeat. Call it blind optimism that things will be better, or maybe just the realization that the Pinkel factor can only be held back for so long before the inevitable sets in. Without really knowing what Nebraska is going to be like in 2008, I'd give Nebraska a 1 in 3 shot of pulling off the upset.
Mike Rucker. Nice.
Shifting to basketball, The 12th Manchild posts excerpts from a Deandre Jordan interview. Jordan's an interesting test case this year. He's proven absolutely nothing beyond the fact that he's a specimen and has tons of potential, and while it's far from rare that teams would look at potential over proven quantities...I mean, Jordan's proven next to nothing. Somebody will be drafting with a huge leap of faith...bigger than normal.
Finally, the Trib's Steve Walentik takes a look at the US Olympic Basketball team and asks...can this team win gold? My thought: yes. Of course it can, but what makes this team different from the last few superstar-loaded squads? First of all, Larry Brown's not their coach. That was a terrible move four years ago, as Larry's possibly the most youngster-phobic coach ever (outside of Phil Jackson, anyway), and the 2004 team's strength was its younger players...who rotted at the end of the bench. Second of all, they've finally started thinking of this team as a, well, team. They've got their long-armed defensive stopper in Prince, their Isaiah in Chris Paul (and one helluva backup in Deron Williams, if he's a backup at all), their rebounder in Howard, their marksman in Redd...and of course they've still got the pure superstar lineup of LeBron (or Kidd...who they better not play too much over the other PGs), Wade, Anthony, etc., if they want to go that route. This team has flexibility, and that's its biggest strength.
Finally, Michael Wilbon insists this team can't win, and he hasn't gotten a prediction right since the last Olympics, so that fills me with confidence as well.