Photo via Bill Carter.
[Editor’s note: Michael Atchison submitted a previous version of the following piece for the 2011 Missouri Football Preview magazine. When the decision was made not to publish a magazine, Michael was asked to revise his piece to make it consistent with Rock M’s decision to post the magazine material solely on this website. We believe that he has succeeded.]
Dear Rock M Nation Football Preview reader,
Congratulations! You [do not] hold in your hands the most sophisticated, timely and technologically advanced magazine devoted to a single college football team in any geographic region bordered by Iowa and Arkansas. A bold claim for sure, but we have the research to back it up.
It’s a marvel from
front to back [post to post], chock-full of patent-pending nanotechnology and Bill Connelly’s fabricated statistics. But more than the space-age polymers used to create this magazine [or not magazine] or the cutting-edge writing within its pages [or not pages], the Rock M preview's greatest advance is the variety of formats available to readers. If you are 43 or older, you are reading the conventional (or, as the kids call it, "dead tree") magazine format [a link e-mailed to you by a young person]. If you are precisely 42, you are reading on your desktop computer, and if you are 40 or 41, you are using your laptop. Readers aged 30-39 prefer their tablets, while those aged 20-29 read on their phones. If you are a member of our youngest charted demographic (6-19), you are likely to take advantage of holographic technology that allows you inside a play, enabling you to feel the paralyzing fear of seeing a life-size Will Ebner charge you like a highly caffeinated rhino. [this really, really was going to happen]
Or, if you're like me, you prefer the parchment version painstakingly handcrafted by Franciscan monks, one copy at a time (the gold leaf illustrations bring the game to celestial life!). [we actually did make this one]
That said, we know that for you, the reader, the format is secondary. You come for the content. Sadly, for most preview magazines [or not magazines], the goal is to publish as early as possible, with little care for accuracy. The first 2011 college football preview I saw hit newsstands in April. Of 2008. Its prediction that Terrelle Pryor will lead Ohio State to its second national title under Jim Tressel by defeating Big 12 champ Nebraska in the BCS über bowl is all but unassailable.
It's not that way at Rock M. We didn't even start to think about this thing until an Independence Day barbecue where our editors shrieked in simultaneous panic, "Ohmigod! We forgot the football preview!" Given that this entire endeavor was conceived, written, edited and
published [posted] in the past 72 hours, you can be assured that the information contained here is the timeliest possible, with the highest level of ed!tori@l care ed!tori@l care.
Still, we're not naive. We know that you don't come to us for news. You can get news anywhere, for free. You come to us for hope, to get revved up for the coming season. We also know that you won’t
pick this up [remember the url] again after some time in mid-October. That means no accountability. You [do not] give us cash, we give you hope. Everybody wins. Including the Missouri Tigers, in the national title game!
See what we did there? This thing has paid for itself already!
Here are some other tidbits to get you super psyched for the season:
- Contrary to widespread reports, redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Gabbert did not "leave" the program. Instead, through some Avatar-meets-Captain America scientific wizardry, he was subsumed within sophomore QB James Franklin, resulting in a signal-caller with a rocket arm, pinpoint accuracy, feathery touch, bionic legs and NFL quarterback half-brother. Expect them - ahem, him - to break a variety of Brad Smith's and Chase Daniel's records this year. Not single-season records. Career records.
- A late growth spurt and some serious dedication in the weight room have paid off for cat-quick sophomore scat back Henry Josey. Checking in at a chiseled 6-feet-5 and 245 pounds, Josey has bulked up without sacrificing a lick of speed or agility. Look for him to approach 2,000 yards rushing in his role backing up starter De'Vion Moore.
- Though an anagram of his name is Any Yokel, redshirt freshman defensive end Kony Ealy won’t play like just another ol’ bumpkin. Word from those close to the program is that former Tiger end Aldon Smith (selected seventh overall in April’s NFL draft) didn’t forego his final two years of eligibility to become an instant millionaire; he left to avoid falling below Ealy on the depth chart.
Didn’t that feel good?
Before you turn all skeptical on us, is any of that really more fanciful than the notion that the biggest crowd in ESPN College GameDay history would descend on the columns of Francis Quadrangle in the hours before the Tigers defeated the nation’s top-ranked team in a primetime national broadcast? No need to bother going back and checking, but that very same scenario may or may not have been predicted in these pages [or rather, on actual pages] just one year ago!
Remember, you [no longer even have to] pay for the hope,
but [and] Connelly’s advanced stats are free! That means that VORF (Value Over Replacement Flanker), SH/UC (Shotgun to Under Center ratio) and DORQ (Defense to Offense Recovery Quotient) are to the magazine what the reading lamp is to the Snuggie®. Won’t your friends be dazzled the first time you say "sure, Baylor has been impressive so far, but with that kind of DORQ, they’re bound to fall back to earth"? Well, won’t they?
So, again, thanks for reading. Without you, the Rock M Nation Football Preview never would have become the nation’s top-selling sports publication!
You can’t make this stuff up.
Rock M Nation senior correspondent