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Rock M Roundtable!

1 - This is a ridiculously generic question, but now that the 2007 football season is officially over, share your single favorite memory of the season.  (And rpt, if you want to hold off on answering this one until you've revealed your Top 10 Moments, that's cool.)

2 - How do the draft defections (and non-defections) affect your perceptions of the 2008 football season?  Rank the 2008 Big 12 teams for me.

3 - To basketball...Big 12 conference play starts this week.  I asked this a few weeks ago, but a lot's changed since then--which Big 12 teams will be making the NCAAs?

4 - Give me two things you like and two things you dislike about your basketball team.

5 - Predictions for the weekend!  Texas at Mizzou, Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, Kansas State at Oklahoma, Colorado at Texas A&M, Iowa State at Baylor, Kansas at Nebraska.

Click 'Full Story' for answers.

The Beef: 1 - For me, I think the crowd against aTm was the defining moment for me.  I realize that one may be a tad out of left field, but in the past, even in their better of seasons, Mizzou had ALWAYS seen their final home game crowd dwindle for a myriad of really unrelated reasons (weather, hunting).  This year, fearing the same, especially after the lousy turnout for Iowa State, Mizzou fans showed up and showed up strong.  To have just south of 65K there for the game, especially with the few aTm people which made the trip, put the most Mizzou fans into Faurot to see a game in my 13 seasons, which certainly means the most since AT LEAST 1984.  That was the biggest moment for me.  Folks, there is just no reason we should draw south of 60K for any game this coming season.  None at all.  Averaging over 60 was a big deal, but we should move that number up the ladder a couple thousand this year.  I am not advocating selling out against SEMO and Buffalo, but I am saying you get 60K for those and more for the rest.  Hell, you sell out on homecoming now...just because we are where we are.  You most certainly sell out against K-state (since the home closer is NOVEMBER 8TH!! DAMN THAT IS EARLY...but no hunting bucking up against that one)  Alright...am off the soapbox.

2 - Not knowing if OU is going to have any (or how many) defections, this is a little tough...but here goes...and so people have some understanding...I ranked from 1-6, and then from 12-7 to come to these....strange I realize.

#1 - OU (have to be there until we prove otherwise)

#2 – MU (came through unscathed, defense would just get better with "addition" of Gaines for next year

#3 – UT (I actually started typing kansas, but I think UT at least has more talent at this point.  Whether Brown can coach it to a better record than Mangino, well...I have my doubts)

#4 – kU (Loss of Collins I think hurts, but they bring back a solid squad.  Just need to find another bull like McAnderson at RB)

#5 – Ttech (this is going to be strange to me, but they are ALWAYS going to hover in this area as far as I am concerned)

#6 – CU (yes..I know..CU beat TTech this year, but I think they lose some good players and while getting better, are not QUITE there yet)

#7 – NU (I think CU has passed them right now, not in talent necessarily, but in program strength.  I think Pelini inherits some talent in Lincoln, but what system will they run on offense?)

#8 – aTm (Does Mike Sherman even know he is the coach yet?  In all seriousness, I think there is some talent there, but not as much as NU)

#9 – OSU (I put them here because I think they have more talent than the next team, but I think Gundy is done after this because Pickens demand a better return on his 9 digit investment.

#10 – kSU (tough pick here, but I think Prince will be done after this year, and so will kSU football for awhile)

#11 – ISU (I think there is a decent gap between them and the bottom, but they are still some time away

#12 – Baylor (where else would they be?)

3 - Oh lord...I have no idea.  I think everyone will agree on kU, UT and aTm...after that..total crapshoot.  I think kSU SHOULD make it because the NCAA has always shown they will gravitate towards star players, and they certainly have a couple.  Will they be enough to overcome the rest of their team and their coach?  I am thinking it will.  I do not believe at this point that Mizzou can rattle off 10 wins to get there since we did not take any advantage of resume building in the non-con.  Truth be told, I have not seen enough of the rest of the teams to be able to hazard a guess, and while I do not believe the Big XII will only get 4 teams in, I really cannot come up with any more.

4 - Two things I like...I like how much we get to the line (and I perceive us to be a little better from the line overall, but not much) and I like the character of our coach.  Two things I dislike...that we have barely put together a complete HALF of basketball, much less a full 40 minutes and how maddening our interior defense is.  Best in the country from beyond the arc, but not so much inside of it.  If we don’t cause a TO on the transition and you get it past the FT line, odds are you are about to score.

5 - UT will beat us, TTech over Okie State, kSU makes a statement against OU, aTm over CU, Baylor guards the home floor early and kansas does whatever it wants against NU.

ZouDave: 1 - The easy answer would be Sodd Reesing but honestly the game was over before that happened so I'm not going to put it as #1.  Pig's fumble return TD was amazing as well, but I think I'll have to go with Maclin's kick return TD against Kansas State as my #1 single favorite memory of the season.  Not only was it the first time in 25 years that Mizzou had one (terrifying) but it was such a back-breaker in the final "trap game" of the season.  KSU had just scored and was trying as best they could to play spoiler as well as pick up a marquee win to get them into a bowl, and Maclin just said "not today."  He outran everyone but the camera, and even that was close.

2 - It means that Missouri is going to be basically a unanimous favorite to win the North and will probably enter the season as a pick 'em for the Conference Title against Oklahoma.  I would rank them:

1 - Oklahoma
2 - Missouri
3 - Texas
4 - Texas Tech
5 - kansas
6 - Colorado
7 - Texas A&M
8 - Oklahoma State
9 - Nebraska
10 - Kansas State
11 - Iowa State
12 - Baylor

I think anyone who is being honest will have the top 2 the same (though I won't argue with someone who puts Missouri in front of Oklahoma).  The next 3 are REALLY close in my opinion.  I give the edge to Texas because they're Texas, but I don't believe they're all that much better than the 2 teams right below them.  Tech is going to almost literally try to set the world on fire next year.  Harrell's senior season, Crabtree back and ready to prove he's not just a product of the system, and Leach may be auditioning for a bigger job.  I think Tech will be competing for a Cotton Bowl spot all season.  I have to put kansas at the bottom of this group of 3 because they just lost their 2 best non-QB players to the draft.  But, they still have Reesing and Sharp and they're still better than every team in the North other than Missouri.  South wins will come hard, but they shouldn't be any worse than 4-4 in the conference and if they can get the right effort against Texas at home they could push to 5-3.  I think Colorado is a clear 6 here, as I think they're better than everyone below them but worse than everyone above them.  I don't know who they play in the South next year (though I do know they don't play OU) but they should be shooting for a 5-3 in conference at best.  I think A&M, OSU and Nebraska are another group you could put the 3 in any order, but all 3 of these teams will struggle to be bowl eligible next season.  The top of the conference is starting to get heavier, so these teams can't slip up against their peers.  Then KSU is another Colorado in that they're better than ISU and Baylor but I don't think they're as good as anyone else in the conference.  They lost almost any good players they had, their QB would be a TE for any of the good teams in the conference, and their coach is a lunatic.  And they're bringing in like 15 JUCO players.  Ugly.  Then Iowa State and Baylor.  I don't care what ISU started to show last year, in the end they're just not very good.  And Baylor...poor Baylor.  They should be playing teams like North Texas, SMU, Louisiana-Monroe, etc.  The fact that they have to face OU, UT, A&M and Tech every year is cruel.

3 - Obviously kansas, Texas A&M and Texas.  I think we'll get 1 to 2 more and (outside of winning the Big XII Tournament) I'll tell you it won't be Colorado, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Iowa State or Missouri.  Baylor and Nebraska have a lot of wins but don't have much name recognition so they'll have to go at least 10-6 in conference to do it.  Kansas State might be able to sneak in at 9-7 because they have a couple of big name players on their team.  Oklahoma should probably be in with at least a 9-7.  I'd say the smart money is on Oklahoma as the 4th and if we get a 5th it will be Kansas State.

4 - I like the fact that play defense and I like the fact that our coach has serious fire in his belly and his failures bother him more than it bothers fans.  I don't like the fact that we can't rebound and that we can't score in the half-court when it counts.

5 - Ugh, I'm not qualified to make these picks.  Without predicting scores, I'll say the winners are Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, A&M, Baylor and kansas.

mizzourobot: 1 - Todd Reesing coming up with a mouthful of turf stuck to his helmet, to ice the biggest win in the history of Missouri-Kansas Football.

2 - I think Kansas not only had a perfect storm with schedule, but personnel as well. With Talib going, that's going to hurt. Add to that Willy Mo staying and we're set, in my opinion. I was big on Willy Mo even before we lost Pig. Having him back is huge. Same for the boys up front.

  1. Oklahoma: To be the man, you gotta beat the man. Maybe next year we'll beat the man. Or at least, not have to play The Man in the Big 12 Championship Game (c'mon, Texas!).
  1. Missouri: Ready to take the top spot if the Sooners should tumble even slightly.
  1. Texas: Living in Austin, I can tell you. These guys have great talent, a coach that treats them like family, a gorgeous campus, and every reason to make a comeback next season to the top 5. Our showdown with them in the ATX is going to be Huh-UUUUUGE.
  1. Kansas: Nobody else is ready to make a leap and they return the majority of their team. That said, they'll lose the Oklahoma game, and one of the Texas trips as well.
  1. Texas A&M: I'm one of five people that think the Mike Sherman hire is pure genius. I like the way he coaches, his attitude, his professionalism, everything.
  1.  Texas Tech: Same ol', same 'ol. Harrell will be around, they'll score a lot of points, lose to OU and UT, make a bowl game.
  1. Kansas State: Always right there, almost good enough, but not quite. Losing some of their seniors from this year will hurt too.
  1. Colorado: They made big strides this year, even if they regressed at the end. I think they could make some noise next year if they can keep it together.
  1. Oklahoma State: He's a man, he's 40! He can't coach defense and his schedule's too tough!
  1. Iowa State: They're going to be a lot better, and they could either end up here, or as high as Kansas State's Spot. But for now, they're still lost in Iowa. Which sucks.
  1. Nebraska: Too much staff, personnel, and system to turn over for Pellini. Give him two years though, and yikes. They'll have one surprise signature win this year. I hope it's not us.
  1. Baylor: It's a really nice school. It really is. Nice people, too. But yeah. Going nowhere, at a mid-range Central Texas pace.

3 - Texas, KState, A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma,... Baylor?

4 - I like: our coach, our intensity. I dislike: our discipline, our inability to score buckets in crucial situations.

5 - Texas, sadly. Tech. KState starts the building process now. A&M. Baylor. Kansas-but I think it'll be close.

rptgwb: 1 - I'm pleading the fifth. Keep tuning in.

2 - The return of all the juniors has a huge impact on where I see this team standing in 2008. I never thought Daniel would leave, and with his return, the offensive unit should remain among the top units nationally next season. I can't help but figure that Coffman wanted to leave but the bone spurs were going to hurt his draft stock a little too much for his liking. Hood and Sulak returning is HUGE for the D-line, which was the only unit to lose a starter ('Zo Williams). The defense's improvement in Big 12 play was largely in part to Sulak's maturation at end, and Hood was a beast in the Cotton Bowl.

And then there is William Moore. I truly and honestly believed I had seen him in a Mizzou uniform for the last time in Dallas on New Years.  I don't think you can measure how important his return is to this team. Mizzou had enough problems trying to fill the shoes of Pig Brown (Delstin Gaward, anyone?), who was playing like an All-American when he went down. Trying to replace both Brown and Moore could have been crippling to the secondary, but Moore's return gives Pinkel and Co. some flexibility to work a new free safety into the rotation without having to worry about too many mistakes from a new strong safety.

Here's my 200 Preseason Big 12 Power Rankings:

  1. Mizzou - Gets nod over OU simply by virtue of momentum
  1. Oklahoma - If Stoops can turn Fiesta Bowl loss into "No Respect," the Big 12 is in trouble
  1. Texas - Finished hot, but underclassmen are jumping ship and Mack Brown is painfully mediocre
  1. Kansas - Reesing is a gamer and the Big Man can coach; Wouldn't surprise me if they take two of three from Tech, OU, Texas
  1. Texas Tech - Trying to put Tech in a power poll is like running on a treadmill - it's exhausting and you end up going nowhere
  1. Texas A&M - I don't usually trust NFL retreads, but Mike Sherman can do good things in Aggieland if he finds a defense
  1. Oklahoma State - With Reid fiasco behind them, Zac Robinson and the Pokes may finally take next step (for fifth consecutive year)
  1. Kansas State - K-State is the Tech of the North; they're good enough to win big or roll over and die on any given day
  1. Colorado - How fast can young Cody progress?
  1. Nebraska - Can Pelini run that same LSU defense with that heartless unit that's left at Nebraska?
  1. Iowa State - Signs of life from Ames towards the end of last year could create trouble for North teams in 2008
  1. Baylor - Good for you, Baylor, hiring Art Briles. But remember, you're Baylor.

3 - Here's what (little) I know:

  • Kansas may just be the best team in college basketball and my hands-on favorite for the title at this point.
  • Why is everyone sleeping on Texas A&M?
  • Texas has the talent, but maybe not the heart to compete with any team in America
  • K-State and OU's hot and cold nature makes them hard to predict, but they'll be on the bubble come tourney time.
  • In an earlier Roundtable, I said Baylor may be the fourth best team in the conference, and I'm willing to stick by that at the moment.
  • Mizzou WILL make the tournament - the NIT.
  • Teams I see in: Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, K-State
  • In with BIG runs: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Mizzou
  • Nope: Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa State

4 - Like: High intensity system

  • Dislike: Lack of established offensive system
  • Like: Clear commitment to effort and work ethic
  • Dislike: No "go-to" guy in pressure situations

5 - Predictions:
Texas > Mizzou
Texas Tech > Oklahoma State
Kansas State < Oklahoma
Colorado <<<< Texas A&M <br>Iowa State <Baylor <br>Kansas >>>> Nebraska

Michael Atchison: 1 - You’ve picked the hardest season ever to ask this question, and maybe I’ll put together a list of one hundred moments at some point, but, in general, the favorite memory was the Kansas game, which was unbelievable all the way around, and my favorite memory from that night is the jailbreak pass rush that turned Todd Reesing into a potted plant and sealed the victory.

2 - Obviously, the fact that all of Mizzou’s underclassmen are returning is huge, and the fact that Talib and Collins are leaving Kansas is something of a blow to a Kansas team that will still be good.  This is a complete guess, especially as it relates to the bottom half of the league, but I’ll say:

  1.  Oklahoma (they get this spot until the Tigers prove they can beat the Sooners)
  1.  Missouri
  1.  Texas
  1.  Kansas
  1.  Texas Tech
  1.  Colorado
  1.  Oklahoma State
  1.  Texas A&M
  1.  Kansas State
  1. Nebraska
  1. Iowa State (though, it wouldn’t surprise me if they jump up and beat some teams; this could be three spots too low)
  1. Baylor

3 - I think it’ll be five teams.  Definite:  Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M.  Probable: Oklahoma.  The other one is up for grabs.  K-State has loads of talent, and they’re still assimilating the guys who just became eligible, but they look like a mess on the court too often, and not having David Hoskins really hurts them.  At this point, Mizzou has to go at least 10-6 in the league, and I’ve not seen much to lead me to believe that’ll happen.  Nebraska’s record is good, but they haven’t done a thing on the road.  By elimination, I’ll guess that Baylor slides in as a 12-seed, but I’ve never been less confident of a prediction in my life.

Kansas and Texas both have real shots to advance a long, long way.  My concern for the Longhorns is that they may be gassed come mid-March.  They’re a five-man team.  All five starters average over 30 minutes a game, and the top reserve gets less than 12.  No one else averages even nine.  Teams like that wear down.  And, obviously, any injury to Augustin, Abrams, Atchley or James could be devastating.

4 - Like: The effort and the backcourt depth/skill

Dislike: Lack of interior size, lack of enough offensively skilled players, carelessness with the ball (that’s three, I know)

5 - Texas 85  Mizzou 72

Tech  77  OSU  68

Oklahoma  75  KSU 67

A&M  A Lot  Colorado  Not much

Baylor  81  ISU 64

Kansas 87  Nebraska 73

rptgwb: The Beef makes an outstanding point about the crowds. During non-conference, I was SO apathetic/depressed towards the Mizzou home crowds to the point where I began openly whining about not attending a "traditional football powerhouse." Then something happened: Nebraska and ESPN came to town.

The atmosphere and energy at that game was unlike anything I've ever seen, including when I went to Texas-Texas A&M at Kyle Field later that year. This was the game the Missouri fan base had been waiting for. 2003 and 2005 were nice, but 2007 was something bigger because of what it was supposed to mean (Nebraska kind of fell off their end of the bargain). The night game atmosphere, the gold pants, the loudest I've ever heard the alumni side, the most packed I've ever seen the student section, seeing the Rock M disappear - everything about that night was everything I love about college football, right down to walking back and watching the game on TiVo with Ron Franklin's voice in the background until 3:00 that next morning.

I kept my Top 10 Moment countdown to plays on the field, but if you want a true "moment," I will NEVER in my life forget the roar of noise when the Tigers took the field that night out of that smokey south end zone tunnel. I will never forget actually feeling, rather than hearing, the sheer force of the alumni yelling "Z-O-U." That night I knew Mizzou could do football right, and confirmed what we all suspected: Mizzou was in for one hell of a special season.

The Beef: It is truly amazing what 8-10 hours of tailgating and booze do to our crowds :-)

I am with you on every piece of these thoughts...the aTm crowd was just more impressive because of all the reasons we KNEW the crowd was going to suck (cold, hunting, time of game) and Mizzou fans FINALLY overcame those things to show up in force.  The NU game was a perfect chance for to show what we could do, and we did.  The aTm game was a terrible set up that we turned into a BIG achievement, making it all the more impressive in my eyes.

rptgwb: No doubt - I was concerned about the A&M crowd, especially with deer becoming public enemy No. 2 behind Kansas at that point. That NU game was just the perfect storm  of "Mizzou's here" to me as fans electing not to bail on the home finale was to you.

Why does this season have to be over?

The Beef: At this point, this is what I am looking forward to...in order...

ZD's year end video
Reports from winter workouts
Spring practice
Getting the Mizzou DVD
Spring Football game

You can certainly sprinkle in heavy doses of Mizzou wrestling in this line up....and that at least gets us to mid-end of April....after that...Mizzou baseball will carry me through for awhile and then...well...I guess the countdown clock begins.

ZouDave: Oh, good, I don't feel any pressure from that at all.

The Beef: Well...understand reports from winter workouts really wont start coming until probably really late January/early February....plenty of time to get it right....and it had better be right.

ZouDave: I don’t like you.

The Beef: I know...but less talking more editing.

ZouDave:

The Beef: I love when the roundtable breaks down to Skandar Akbar and Joe-Pa type pics.

The Boy: This thing has disintegrated, and I haven't even posted my answers yet.

1 - While there are a thousand moments to choose from, I can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment I started getting a "this could end up really special" buzz: Chase Coffman's hurdle-spin touchdown against Colorado.  Not only did it allow me to type the words "THRUST NUNCHUK GODDAMN UPWARD!!!" in the live blog (8:07pm - http://www.rockmnation.com/displayst... the highlight of my liveblogging career to date), not only did it put the bow on an absolute blowout in Boulder (a place where OU had lost a month earlier), not only did rptgwb just post a clip of the exact play, and not only was it the moment when the evening's fourth pint of Flat Branch Pumpkin Ale went to my head, but it was also the crystallizing moment of realization that this team had more weapons than almost every single team in the country, and that for once, the "sky is the limit" cliche was 1000% true.  And for the next month, that realization was repeatedly proven to be true.

2 - I said this yesterday, but this week just could not have gone any better for Mizzou.  They finished in the Top 5, they scored a couple big-time recruits, they confirmed the return of all their own non-senior studs, and just about every remotely scary team on the 2008 slate lost somebody.  Illinois lost Mendenhall, Texas lost Charles and Finley, Kansas lost Talib and Collins.  The paranoid part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop, but...yeah, things are shaping up unbelievably well.

As far as rankings go...
#1 = OU (if they lose Kelly and a defensive player or two to the draft, I'll be tempted to change this)

#2 = Mizzou (obviously)

#3 = Kansas (I wanted to be a contrarian and bump Texas down for not having a single reliable offensive weapon, and Kansas benefitted from that)

#4 = Texas (Mack Brown will need to coach his ass off, and that's not something he's proven he can do when Vince Young isn't his QB)

#5 = Texas Tech (we'll see how well Leach's system can do, as he'll never have a better QB-WR combo than this)

#6 = Oklahoma State (If Gundy's program is going to take a step upward, it's going to have to start next year, with Robinson and the young talent--Dez Bryant & Kendall Hunter, with no Bobby Reid drama, and with a more experienced--if still deficient--defense. I think he'll get at least two more years to prove himself since he's an OSU hero, but he better start improving.)

#7 = Texas A&M (I laughed at the Sherman hire when it first happened, and now I'm indifferent.)

#8 = Colorado (If they get a commitment from that Darrell Scott kid, I'll change this.  He's the real deal, and I think he'll be an immediate contributor, but without him, look out.  Their offense loses Hugh Charles, and their defense loses Dizon and Terrence Wheatley.  In other words, they will not be getting better next year without an explosive incoming offensive component.)

#9 = Nebraska (Joe Ganz = sleeper.  If the incoming staff institutes some sort of spread with a run-pass threat at the QB position, Ganz' numbers could be pretty impressive.  Too bad their defense could be even worse than this year's.)

#10 = Iowa State (I wanted to put them over somebody other than Baylor...)

#11 = Kansas State (...and KSU got the nod.  No James Johnson?  Ouch...better hope Leon Patton's 2007 suckitude was a simple case of Sophomore Jinx.)

#12 = Baylor (If this were the NCAA 2008 playstation game, Baylor would have been kicked out of the conference in favor of TCU or Tulsa or Grambling or something by now.)

3 - Obviously KU, UT, and ATM.  I agree that OU's got a strong shot at #4 in conference, though last time I complimented OU they lost to Stephen F. Austin.  I'll pick KSU #5 simply because I don't like them...and teams I don't like have a history of success.

4 - I like watching opponents' brains breaking down from the stress of the press, resulting in 3-5 minutes of total chaos.  I like Leo Lyons' 12-foot jumper.  I dislike what happens if the press doesn't work, and I dislike the simple fact that this year's pieces just don't fit that well together.  Every player in the country has both strengths and weaknesses, but our players' strengths just don't seem to compensate for our weaknesses.

Until Keon Lawrence remembers how to shoot consistently, we don't have a single reliable outside shooter that a) isn't our point guard (who you want distributing as much as shooting) or b) isn't tremendously one-dimensional (when Matt Law's shot isn't falling, he has no other strengths to fall back on).  And nobody on the team other than Leo Lyons seems to be very good at making contested layups/putbacks.  Meanwhile, you can run organized post-up plays for Lyons because he travels about 2/3 of the time when you do.  We have lots of individual skills, but we don't have a single go-to guy/weapon/set, and that's killing us.

5 - Texas > MU (You couldn't draw up a team better-suited to handle 40 minutes of hell...or whatever amount of minutes of hell we actually produce).

Tech > OSU (Knight coaches well against OSU, and...well, OSU just isn't very good).

OU > KSU (KSU needs to prove to me that they're actually mentally tough enough to win tough conference road games).

A&M > CU (yikes).

Baylor > ISU (though this might be close...Baylor's best players are all over the place, and while ISU doesn't have much skill, they're tough and physical).

KU > NU (this series is interesting...it seems like every game is either a 10-point NU upset win or a 60-point KU win).

ZouDave: something about pictures and a thousand words.

Doug: 1 - The Orange Bowl win.  Say what you will about scheduling, about whether Kansas should have been there in the first place, the reality is, KU and VaTech provided the most entertaining of all the BCS bowls, made all the more sweeter by the Jayhawk victory.  That was the perfect cap to the season.

2 –

#1 - OU... someone has to prove otherwise... and no, not Colorado.
#2 - MU... odds-on-favorite to win the North next season... of course, I don't recall that working out to well for some of the previous pre-season picks.

#3 - KU... a homer pick to be sure, but I'm not going to count out Mangino and Reesing.  Plus, there's more in the secondary than just Talib, he'll be missed, but not as much as say James McClinton.

#4 - UT... even though I have no idea what to expect out of them.

#5 - TT... Mike Leach could probably win the Big Ten or Big East with the Red Raiders, but he plays in the Big 12 South.

#6 - CU... Dan Hawkins is building a solid team, and I think they'll take another step next year.

#7 - OSU... Only because I don't worry about them quite as much as the bottom five.

#8 thru 12... NU, KSU, ISU, aTm, Baylor... Damned if I know what to expect out of any of them, suffice to say, I think Prince will be gone after the 2008 season.

3 - I don't think it's changed nearly as much as you think, aside from the bubble teams... Kansas, aTm, Texas are the only locks at the moment.  However, I think K-State and MU have both been replaced on the bubble by a rather surprising NU team and Baylor.  There's still lots of time left, but whoever, among those four, and hell, toss in OU, so out of five... say the top 2, maybe 3 will make the tournament.

4 - Two things I like... umm... geez, kind of hard picking just two.  Okay, fine, rotational depth... you can sub between three big guys and not lose anything and between four guards and not lose anything.  Plus, you can bring in another big and another guard and not see a depreciable drop in talent and gameplay.  And, two, the breathtaking ease with which they play, often times outrunning the other team down the court and back.  Sometimes, that half court pass is a thing of beauty.

Two things I don't like, far easier, Brandon Rush needs to shoot the frickin' ball on occasion.  There was no need to pass up shots in the first half last night against Loyola Maryland.  And, the breathtaking pace at which they play, often times outrunning their own brains on the court.  Sometimes, you don't need to make that half court pass.

5 - Yeah, I think I'll just pick winners, too... UT, OSU, OU, aTm, Baylor, and KU.  (Though, I'm not entirely sure why I'm giving the South so much credit.)

ZouDave: "2 - MU... odds-on-favorite to win the North next season... of course, I don't recall that working out to well for some of the previous pre-season picks."

Worked out this year!

Sorry, just didn't feel like a day where Atchison was going to start anything...

The Boy: You beat me to the punch on that one.

ZouDave: And wasn’t Nebraska picked to win it in 2006?

The Boy: Yyyyyessss!  You are correct, sir!

Doug: Yeah, my mistake for going with what my gut told me.  I was thinking back to when Nebraska was seemingly picked every year to win the North and wound up losing it to Colorado or K-State.

ZouDave: Well one thing is for sure, we're YEARS away from Nebraska being favored to win the North again.

mizzourobot: I wouldn't go that for. ESPN is involved. And MSNBC just picked tOSU to go to the title game. The media, which runs this whole shebang, just just looooves big name schools like Nebraska.

The Beef: I agree that tOSU will make the title game next year, and the sooner we all come to grips with the notion that we will play all next year for a shot at only ONE trip to the big game....the better...they will even lose to USC and still make it there...once again, on the wings of their NOT playing for the last 3 real weeks of the season.

mizzourobot: I for one choose to accept our new inferior conference Buckeye overlords...

ZouDave: I’m Kent Brockman.