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Rock M Nation Roundtable

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Each week, we will provide Roundtable questions more Mizzou-centric than the Big 12 Roundtable that goes around each week.  Here are this week's questions, along with answers from rptgwb, The Beef, ZouDave, Michael Atchison, Doug, and myself.

1 - First things first...running a fake FG up 34-6: tacky, or (since it was Nebraska) the most strangely satisfying play in Mizzou history?

2 - Obviously it's too much to expect Mizzou to play like they did Saturday night...well, ever again...but reading quotes and interviews since Saturday, there seems to have been an attitude shift.  They seem to think they can and will play like that from here on out.  I'm rambling now, but...a) what's the ceiling for Mizzou at this point, and b) what's the most realistic end-of-2007 record?

3 - For those who weren't already tailgating at noon, what should we take out of KU's win over KSU?  Mangino owns Prince?  KU = MU's biggest challenge?  Black is slimming, even on Mangino?

4 - A&M's 2-0 despite all the drama, and Texas is tied with Baylor at 0-2.  If OU doesn't win the South, who does?

5 - Give me scores: MU at OU, CU at KSU, UT at ISU, BU at KSU, OSU at NU, ATM at Tech.

Click 'Full Story' for Answers...and feel free to provide your own answers in Comments...

The Beef: 1 - I will say strangely satisfying...I guess I have not wrapped my head around it from the standpoint of being up 34-6 at that point with a few minutes gone in the 4th.  If anything, to me it is like the need for the volleyball team to step on the throat of TTech like they did on Saturday.  They had regained their confidence they could win, but they needed to stomp on their opponent to gain another level of confidence.  I think it was the same with us.  Chase Coffman robbery notwithstanding, I think our team NEEDED that call not so much for this past game, but potentially for future games and continued confidence.

2 - I think the ceiling is still where some/most thought it would be.  North champs, perhaps up to 10 wins and hopefully a Cotton Bowl birth (since no one from TX is likely to want the spot once all is said and done).  I suppose the ceiling is 11-1 since I think we are better than everyone else we will play save Oklahoma, but I still have that mentality we will trip at some point.  I just hope they keep proving me wrong.

3 - I think it means that Prince really does own Mack Brown and not much else.  Having not seen a second of the game, that is about all I can say.  Each QB threw for 3 INTS, so clearly there is still room for improvement on both sides.  It would not surprise me if the kU QB is better than Freeman at kSU either.  I still do not believe kU will keep it entirely going, but hey....they should make a bowl and the Big Man can keep his job from the 8-4/9-3 season they potentially end up with.

4 - I think Tech beats aTm this weekend to further spread the south out....so I really don't see how OU does not win it at this point.

5 - I think OU wins something close....I don't know....27-24 maybe?  kSU beats CU 28-20.  UT beats ISU 45-13.  KSU wins again over Baylor in the first ever college double-header 35-17.  I think NU bounces back at home (don't ask me why) and wins 38-34.  To close it out, I think Ttech wins over aTm 34-24.

The Boy: CRAP.  I meant BU @ KU.  I'm no KSU fan, but I guess it would be unfair to make them play twice.

Doug: 1 - I think there are three schools of thought.  First, we've all seen MU's defense giving up several late scores against offenses that were considered nowhere near as prolific as Nebraska's.  So, there's no reason to leave a chance at 7 points out on the field.  Second, I'm sure MU fans were extremely satisfied about the play.  Believe me, I wish KU had managed to roll 60 on K-State, but that was not going to happen.  Nebraska gave every team in the North lumps for several years after the formation of the Big 12, because, well, it could.  Now I have no problem with any school returning the favor.  And, third, as much as you may want to put the extra points on the board or run up the score, whatever Pinkel's thought process was, I think it was a bit foolish to show the fake in the first conference game, especially with the game so in-hand.  Everyone knows about it now, and will at least have it in the back of their minds.  

2 - I'm not sure about the ceiling yet, I think we need to see Saturday's result against OU.  Until then, I would say Big 12 North is the ceiling with the penthouse apartment being the Big 12 Championship.  Tigers win in Norman, then obviously the ceiling becomes the Big 12 Championship.  And, I'll say it, I think both OU and Kansas beat MU, Tigers wind up in a very nice bowl, possibly the Cotton and finish the season with only 2 losses.

3 - Here's what you take... Mangino is a hell of a game planner and, also, game adjuster, perhaps one of the best in the conference.  KU may have the only defence in the conference that will not be intimidated by MU's offense.  Think about it, in the first quarter, K-State was playing with the wind and a short field, they had three possessions and came away with 7 points, on a pass play that K-State never called again.  That's a defense that knows how to stand tall.  Add to that an offense everyone thought would be rattled, especially the quarterback, with its first start on the road in a hostile environment, and managed to put together a game-winning drive in only five plays and about a minute.  I don't know if Mangino owns Prince, but he certainly understands the importance of the KU-KSU game.  He knows Bill Snyder put his first team defense back on the field to preserve a shut-out in Lawrence.  He realizes that recruiting the handful of three-,four- and five-star recruits Kansas produces requires winning this game.  Prince should figure it out, but I don't think he'll win in Lawrence next year, which will make the K-State natives restless.
Oh... and even black is not slimming on Mangino.

3 - It comes down to November 3rd when Texas A&M travels to Norman.  The winner of that game wins the Big 12 South.  Oh, and if the Aggies win, Franchione is still forced out, ala Frank Solich, not a perfect parrallel, I know.

4 - OU 24 MU 21 , KU 45 BU 14 , CU 21 KSU 20 , OSU 27 NU 14 , aTm 27 Tech 24 , UT 35 ISU 6

The Boy: To show that I don't always have to answer last, I'll go ahead and jump in:

1 - It wasn't the biggest play, or the most exciting, but yes...after all the whoopings and kicked footballs and general agony involved in playing Nebraska between 1978 and 2002, the fake was tremendously satisfying.  It allowed for that last bit of rage and frustration to release, and that can't be a bad thing.  The funniest thing I read about the play was that Pinkel, Christensen, etc., draw up a couple of fakes for each opponent, depending on the coverage they run.  My only response was...how in the hell does field goal coverage differ from team to team?

(It also demands that I recall last year's fake FG against ATM...it was the most poorly designed fake I've ever seen, and I have no idea what they saw in ATM's FG coverage that made them think that Ekwerewku running to the short side of the field was going to work...but whatever.  I'm too pleased with the present tense to worry about the past tense for now.)

2 - You guys are wrong: there's only one ceiling, and it's an undefeated season.  Won't happen in a million years, but...they would have beaten LSU with the way they played Saturday night.  Do that every game, and you won't lose.  Of course, they won't do that every game--Saturday night was a perfect storm...it was Nebraska, it was in front of 70,000 fans, it was coming off of two weeks rest, etc.  But that's not the point--they've shown that their ceiling is high enough that they can beat absolutely anybody if they play their best.  And I do think that 10-2 is probably the most realistic outcome at the moment, though though looking at matchups (and game location), I don't think KU is likely to be the second loss.  To me, the final 7 games, in order of most likely to least likely loss, would be 1 - @OU, 2 - @KSU, 3 - @CU, 4 - Tech, 5 - KU, 6) ATM, 7) ISU.  If you asked me to rank those an hour from now, I'd probably come up with a different order, but that's what I think for now.

3 - The main thing I took away from the KU-KSU game is that Josh Freeman is overrated.  He has no footwork (and therefore shaky accuracy), and while he plays well against UT, he doesn't really do much against anybody else.  KU blitzed Mortensen pretty much every play in the fourth quarter, and the minimal pressure Mortensen seemed to get made Freeman completely and totally forget whatever fundamentals he does have.  Credit Mangino, though, for knowing how to take him out of his game.

The other thing I took away from the game was that KU's defense has rebounded.  They seem to be playing quite a few newcomers, but the chemistry is relatively strong right now.  I still have memories of Chase Daniel torching Talib and the KU secondary last year, and I'm not sure the KU D has improved enough to prevent that from happening again (especially since the MU offense has improved as well), but the improvement is obviously there.  KU isn't spectacular at any one thing, but they're sound in every department, and looking at their schedule, being sound each game should get them somewhere around 8-9 wins.

4 - I say OU 34, MU 27 if Tony Temple is full-speed and 34-20 if he's not.  NU's defense was poor enough that MU didn't even have to pretend to run the ball, but they will against OU...and without Temple (or without a star-turn from Derrick Washington), just throwing the ball won't get the job done.  Other scores: KSU 23, CU 14.  UT 28, ISU 7.  KU 38, BU 17.  NU 28, OSU 27.  Tech 42, ATM 34.

ZouDave: 1 - I couldn't have less of a problem with it.  It sent the kind of message we needed to send on so many levels.  First of all, it showed that Pinkel can and will put the hammer down on someone and not always call the dogs off.  Second, it showed that the coaching staff knew what an incredible opportunity they had to make a huge statement on national TV.  Third, it completely humiliated a coach that has still managed to beat us out for some high-profile Missouri recruits.  There was nothing at all wrong with doing what was done.

2 - The ceiling is, quite honestly, the National Title.  Should we expect it?  Absolutely not.  But when have we ever been this close to legitimately competing for it?  We're one win away, one win, from being in the talks from all of the media analysts about who can win the National Title.  That has not happened since the 60s.  And seriously, can you look at Oklahoma (the toughest game remaining on our schedule) and tell me they're unbeatable?  I can't.  They're more talented than Mizzou, but hell so is Nebraska if you ask Rivals.com about it.  It's one of those opportunity games and seasons.  We have an opportunity to do something so special none of us even really have a grasp on it yet, and it could be gone on any given Saturday.  The reality is, though, that we can play with anyone in the country...especially this year.  I still think the most realistic record at the end of the year is 10-2.  It's likely we're not going to win on Saturday, and there's probably another road game out there that will trip us up.  I'm still not 100% certain 6-2 will be good enough to win the North, but I obviously know absolutely nothing about the rest of the Big XII since I picked KSU to win the North just a week ago and they got beat at home.

3 - Mangino seems to own Prince (hopefully replacing Pinkel on that list), and after Oklahoma I believe ku is Mizzou's biggest remaining challenge.  Make no mistake, the game against Nebraska was the biggest challenge on our schedule.  We crushed it.  Everything went the way we wanted it to.  It was a total program effort, from the walk-ons to the fans to the starters to the coaches.  Mizzou's program has never been in that kind of sync.  That's a challenge we had to overcome, and we have and it will start to be easier (have to think we're going to start seeing 65000+ regularly at home for conference games, because people just had too much fun out there Saturday night).  I was able to watch a small part of the 1st quarter and then the last few minutes of the 4th quarter of the Sunflower Showdown, and the only thing I can say for sure is that both teams looked slower than Mizzou.

4 - A&M can still win the South.  A good running game and a good defense can never be underestimated.  That said, Oklahoma wins the South.

5 -

aTm - 24
Tech - 38

OSU - 31
NU - 27

BU - 14
ku - 44

UT - 31
ISU - 10

CU - 21
KSU - 24

MU - 27
OU - 30

rptgwb: 1 - Tacky or strangely satisfying? How about a little of both? I'm on record as saying the play was a fairly classless, but, that doesn't mean I didn't love it. More than anything, the play sent the message from Pinkel to both fans and doubters that questions about "killer instinct" were being answered. The think the play was a memo not to Nebraska, but to the rest of the nation. And maybe, just maybe, Bill Callahan just paid for the sins of Tom Osborne.

2 - I have never seen as Missouri team as sharp or as inspired as I saw them Saturday night. This team has a swagger and confidence that finally matches their talent level and newfound composure. The result of that is a ceiling that that never seems to end. At the start of the season, the ceiling was most likely a Big 12 North title and a drubbing in the conference championship. Now, if the same Missouri team shows up for the rest of the season, there are very few teams in the nation that could drub Missouri. The ceiling, if the Tigers play seven/eight more games like the one against Nebraska, is in the BCS National Championship game. Is this likely? Probably not, but Saturday proved that that Tigers are indeed capable. I still think the most probable record is 10-2, with a loss in Norman and then a home loss to another Big 12 South team, either Tech or A&M. But this team continues to show me something each week and no record with double digits wins will come as a surprise to me.

3 - The most important thing "we" as Tiger fans can take out of the KU win has nothing to do with the Jayhawks, but rather that Kansas State is vulnerable at home. After the win over Texas, so many people (myself included) began looking at the road date in Manhattan with a certain amount of anxiety. College football guru Phil Steele even changed his predictions to show Kansas State defeating the Tigers towards the end of conference play. The win was HUGE for KU and gave them the credibility everyone withheld from them in non-conference. But now the challenge for KU is the same it is for Missouri: Can they do it for a full season?

4 - If OU doesn't win the South, then I no longer know what to make of the division. Every other team has significant flaws. Let's go ahead and take Baylor out of the running. Oklahoma State seems way too inconsistent and the shuffles between Reid and Robinson are making for a highly volatile situation, especially if the Pokes don't take care of an extremely vulnerable Nebraska team in Lincoln this weekend. Texas A&M won't be able to survive its ridiculous conference schedule with a porous pass defense and an offense whose most effective passer is a running back three burgers shy of 300 pounds. Texas looked like Texas again against Oklahoma, but the 0-2 hole may be too much to come back from. And, as much as it pains me to say this, Texas Tech may have the best shot at catching the Sooners in the North. Michael Crabtree can light up any team in the country AND the Sooners have to travel to Lubbock in Tech's last game of the season. If Missouri beats Oklahoma this week and then proceeds to lose to Tech in CoMo, Leach may have finally found himself a team to put him over the top.

5 - see below: MU @ OU, CU @ KSU, UT @ ISU, BU @ KU, OSU @ NU, ATM @ Tech.

OU 38, MU 34
KSU 24, CU 20
UT 41, ISU 10
KU 30, BU 21
NU 27, OSU 24
TTU 38, TAMU 20

Michael Atchison. 1 - At first, I was stunned.  That's not the sort of thing that kind-hearted, never-show-them-up Gary Pinkel does, and it made me wonder whether there was some personal animosity at play, because it really seemed like he shoved it up Callahan's nose.  Looking back, though, I'm not sure it was that big a deal, and there was something about it that I liked a lot.  The play came early in the fourth quarter and the touchdown gave them 40 points.  Forty is not running it up in college football.  And the one complaint I've had about this team is that they often build a lead in the first half, and get complacent in the second half and fail to put teams away.  That was a pure go-for-the-throat move, and I think it's the attitude this team needs to adopt.  It also served notice that there's a crazy man in the north and he's heavily armed.  You don't know what he's capable of doing.

2 - Really, if they win this weekend, there is no ceiling, is there?  But if we're playing Guess Right or Die, I'll put them down for two losses.

3 - I've long thought that Mangino is a pretty savvy football coach, and I don't think the outcome of any game in the mushy middle of the Big 12 north should be taken as much of a surprise.  But with a road win under their belt, and neither Texas nor Oklahoma on the schedule, it would be foolish not to think that the Jayhawks can contend.

4 - It's gotta be A&M, doesn't it?  They're a game up a quarter of the way through the schedule, and I have a hard time believing that Oklahoma State or Texas Tech will be consistent enough to be ahead of OU at the end.

5 - That's a really hard group of games to pick.  This is just a stab:

KSU 28  CU 27
Texas 42  ISU 13
Kansas 31  Baylor 20
Nebraska 38  OSU 35
Texas Tech 49  Texas A&M 45

Don't make me pick Mizzou- Oklahoma.  There's just too much of my psyche at stake.

The Boy: Well there you go...any other issues at hand this week?  We survived another "Gold helmets!  Gold jerseys!' rumor session unscathed this year...I consider that a good thing...actually, I have a question for the field...
 
College Football News, which seemingly always holds Missouri in higher regard than most publications, says that if Missouri beats OU on Saturday, Chase Daniel becomes the Heisman favorite.  Now that I have awoken from having passed out reading that, I am trying to refute that thought.  It's definitely an interesting Heisman year, as the top candidates from the current Top 5 are probably a DT (LSU's Glenn Dorsey) and a Boston College QB not named Doug Flutie (Matt Ryan).  Cal's Desean Jackson still has plenty of time to work his way into the conversation after a lackluster start to the season, but...who WOULD the favorite be?

Most of the preseason guys--the John David Booty's and Michael Hart's of the world--have either underperformed or had their chances decreased by their team's underperformance.  If Daniel has a good game and somehow Mizzou beats OU, they'll be somewhere around #6 or so in the country.  He really might be the favorite then.  Pardon me for a sec...I'm going to pass out again, then I'm going to remind myself that we're not going to beat OU, so it's a moot point...

The Beef: I think Michigan can do worse and Mike Hart can win than Mizzou can do and Chase Daniel win it.  By that I mean, I believe we have to RUN the table for Daniel to win it, but I think Michigan can lose potentially one more game and Hart can still win it.  Remember a lot of what the Heisman has become is school marketing, notoriety and exposure.  The Big XII and ABC did Chase no favor this week by putting the best game of the week on cable rather than regional free television.

That being said, I believe Chase can win it...next year, based on what he does this year.  I do not get the sense the AD is going to make any sort of concerted push this year on him, but can see them starting strong and often next year with the marketing on him.

Michael Atchison: I think it's completely wide open, though I suspect that Darren McFadden still leads in the minds of many.  But if Chase puts up big numbers this week in a win, I can't think of any rationale for why he shouldn't be one of the guys invited to the ceremony.

Here's a guy who won't win it, but somebody needs to give a good reason why he shouldn't merit serious consideration:  Michael Crabtree.  He has played half a season.  He has 70 catches, 1,074 yards receiving, and 17 touchdowns.  Let those numbers sink in a little.

The Beef: Well...and I am interested in how much stock people put into the "system" in which a player plays.  With the spread offense which we and TTech run, I have to believe that works to the discredit of the student-athlete in the minds of many...that and not playing for a perennial power house as well.  But Crabtree has worked WELL under the radar of most, though this week could be his coming out party vs. aTm in what should have been our time and TV slot (yes...am bitter).