Hope you got your Mizzou-Illinois tickets.
Dave Matter stayed through the rest of the Media Day festivities and wrote an article about Kansas State and Ron Prince's new-fangled love of JUCOs.
Another popular topic of conversation among the writers was Gary Pinkel’s future at Missouri — a subject a few writers asked me about in KC. Some assume another double-digit win season will lead to tempting offers from around the country. Seems likely there could be interest, but not necessarily on Pinkel’s part, in my opinion. Here’s why: Pinkel is 56 and in the midst of what appears to be a masterful rebuilding job, a process that’s taken some heavy lifting along the way. The subject brings me back to a conversation I had with Pinkel last December."There’s a school that called my agent … in November" of 2006, he said. "I talked to my wife about it. It was a school that had potential but would take a lot of energy. My wife looked and me and said, ‘You can’t do it again.’ She was right. Not that in any way I was going to" leave "because I wouldn’t have anyway. But she knew me well enough. And the energy it took to do something like this, I couldn’t. She was right. There’s no way. It just takes too much out of you. Nor do I want to go through it again."If that sentiment remains true — and I’m sure it does, especially now that all three of his children and their families live in Missouri — I’ve got to think the only sort of opportunity that might entice Pinkel would be a program that’s already established and in position to immediately win championships.
Here's a nice, quick post from ESPN's Tim Griffin on the friendship between Chase Daniel and Colt McCoy.
I like Stewart Mandel a lot, but I don't totally agree with this:
Stewart: Missouri ended the 2007 season at No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the Coaches' Poll. How do some preseason rankings have the Tigers ranked below 10th, when they have Heisman candidate Chase Daniel returning along with stars Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman, plus nearly all the defensive starters?
-- Justin, St. Louis
Once again, I have to ask, which preseason publications you people are looking at it? Chris Stassen has a great site where he's not only archived all the major preview magazines' rankings since 1993 but compared them to the final rankings to determine which was most accurate. Of the six publications he has listed for this season, none have Missouri lower than seventh, which is just about right in my mind.
On paper, the Tigers should be even better than they were last year. Daniel runs that offense like a machine, and while he lost a couple key receivers in Will Franklin and tight end Martin Rucker, coach Gary Pinkel will surely plug a couple of new ones in to complement the explosive Maclin. Meanwhile, the defense, which ranked just 59th nationally last season, will be much more experienced.
At the same time, there's definitely a ceiling when it comes to projecting Missouri. I can't imagine any sane person picking the Tigers ahead of Oklahoma in the Big 12 after the way the Sooners dismantled Missouri twice last season. The good news is, Missouri does not face Oklahoma during the regular season. So all they have to do is win the North division and pray someone besides the Sooners wins the South.
If you want to put OU ahead of Missouri, that's fine. Plenty of cases to be made for that. But "OU beat them last year" doesn't do it for me. That was last year. Both teams have changed since then.
Also: I doubt Chase Daniel, et al, are praying somebody else wins the South (though we fans might be). Methinks they'd be up for another shot at them.
But Mandel's link reminded me that I hadn't checked on Stassen in a while. Not much (if anything) has changed here. It certainly cracks me up that Ohio State's the #1 overall team considering nobody actually picked them #1, but them's the breaks. And it's also interesting to me that the two sudden columnist favorites--Clemson and Texas Tech--aren't as high with the written-and-organized-before-the-summer-buzz magazines.
The Missourian writes the 1,204th Big 12-centric "QB Size Doesn't Matter" story of the last 12 months.
For the second day in a row...MAILBAG!!!
In further recruiting news, 4-star TX RB Stepfan Taylor has Mizzou in his Top 5, along with Stanford, Louisville, ATM and TCU. I'll tell you...this kid's film has impressed me more than any other RB considering Mizzou (and yes, that includes fellow 4-star recruits Ronnie Wingo and Knile Davis). Dude's got both serious jets and big-time agility. Plus he's already 200+ pounds. He's got it all, and he looks like the absolute perfect Mizzou RB. He and Abilene LB Chris Williams are probably #1 and #2 on my wish list.
Finally, since it's Baylor week, I'll throw in one more Baylor link. Briles believes. Good for him.