Mizzou Links, 8-1-08

In light of yesterday's good basketball news, I present to you...MAILBAG!!!

dphilli42 asks: Not trying to be a downer here, but do you have any worry at all in the back of your head that this 2008 Tiger Football team may be being built up too high, and there is better than a slight chance they could stumble and end up 8-4 or 9-3? I could possibly see them losing to Illinois, @ Nebraska, @ UT, and possibly another one. I don't think they will, and I picked them to go no worse than 10-2, but is that something that worries you at all?

Can it happen? No doubt about it. Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma State are, to me, all loseable games. Not saying Mizzou will lose all of them, but you never know. The goal, to me, is to be playing in the Big 12 title game. I think most are expecting ten wins or more in the regular season. I think 9-3 still gets you to that title game if you lose the right three, but that would be at least a minor disappointment. Any scenario (barring major injuries) that doesn't end with the Tigers playing in Arrowhead in December is a major disappointment. Again, crazy things happen in college football. I don't see three or four losses on the schedule, but after what we saw last year, I wouldn't rule it out by any stretch of the imagination.

Meanwhile, Steve Walentik's got more on the Michael Dixon commit.

Goolsby offered rave reviews for the 6-foot, 165-pound Dixon, whom Rivals.com ranks as the No. 100 prospect in the 2009 recruiting class.

"He's a competitor, first and foremost," the coach said. "That's what makes him great. He's a pure point guard and makes guys around him better. He's able to distribute and shoot it, can really defend. He'll be a great fit for Coach Anderson and his system."

Dixon's commitment should also help Anderson's approval rating among Missouri fans. Dixon is the highest-rated in-state prospect to commit to the Tigers since Anderson took over in 2006. He has missed out on high-profile prospects from the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas such as Scott Suggs (Washington), Travis Releford (Kansas), John Brandenburg (Virginia) and Tyler Griffey (Illinois).

The KC Star has more as well.

Dave Matter's got a lengthy blog post up about Tigers of all kinds...Tigers in the NFL...new and current Tigers...current recruits...

How much money is spent on recruiting?  You don't even want to know.

Finally, in his latest mailbag (MAILBAG!!!) Stewart Mandel takes a look at the K-State "experiment"...

I'm a Kansas State fan and the Wildcats have recruited a Big 12-record number of juco players (19) this year. Can you talk some about the advantages and disadvantages of juco players, and do you see the Wildcats rebounding from last year's disappointing finish to have a great year?
-- Matt Durst, Herndon, Va

I will be very curious to see how K-State's season plays out, because, like you said, this is a fairly unprecedented experiment being orchestrated by third-year coach Ron Prince. While juco recruiting was one of the staples of Bill Snyder's success in Manhattan, even he never went this juco-heavy in a single recruiting class. Prince, a former juco player himself, has repeatedly stressed that this was a premeditated strategy aimed specifically for the 2008 season, when he knew the Wildcats would be inexperienced in several key areas. Thayer Evans of the New York Times wrote an interesting piece about Prince's strategy last week.

To me, it still seems incredibly risky.

Obviously, the potential advantage is that these players are already further developed than high-school recruits and will therefore be able to contribute immediately. If even four or five of them emerge as solid starters from day one, the Wildcats stand to benefit tremendously. Yet there would seem to be far more potential disadvantages. While not every player that starts out at a junior college is an academic or disciplinary risk, in a class of 19 one can probably assume there will be at least a few. Secondly, there's the issue of team chemistry. There's something to be said for a group of players arriving as freshmen and bonding together over a four- or five-year period. These new guys are almost like free-agent pick-ups who will need to come in and immediately mesh with current Wildcats players (many of whom they'll be competing with for playing time) who have already become close. And then there's the obvious question of, what happens in two years when these guys all leave? Does Prince do the same thing all over again? How will he produce program continuity?

I plan to keep an open mind and see how this thing plays out. But as for predicting whether K-State will have a "great year" -- I don't have the foggiest idea. For all I know, they'll be trotting out a lineup full of guys we've never seen before.

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