With the return of Big 12 play looming on the schedule, it was about time we revived the Big 12 Roundtable. This week's set of questions comes to us from PB at Burnt Orange Nation...
1. We start with a review of your team's non-conference performance. Take the format of my Week 5 Big 12 Report and give us your Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, and Projected Finish. (Limit 125 words max on each.)
RMN: Credit to BON for a fairly even-handed assessment of Missouri entering Big 12 play, which can be read here for reference. As much as I love Jeremy Maclin, though, I find it difficult to name him the offense's MVP when arguably the most valuable player in the entire nation lines up under center. I know it's "cool" to distribute credit and name drop wherever possible, but Chase Daniel is the most valuable player in the country, much less for the Missouri offense. As much as I want to give some serious dap to Maclin, Derrick Washington, Chase Coffman and the MU offensive line, Daniel is your man. On defense, everything PB said about Sean Weatherspoon stands true. As for projected finish, before the season, I tabbed Missouri to be a perfect 12-0 and 8-0 in conference during regular season play (note that this is NOT a prediction of Big 12/National titles). For now, I'll stick by that prediction, although the Texas game is beginning to worry me far more than it originally did.
2. Oklahoma State is one of two Big 12 teams not represented by bloggers. Don your oversized Cowboy hat for a day and give us your take on Mike Gundy's team. Are they same old same old (above average offense, putrid defense)? Or something else?
RMN: I have the same issues with Oklahoma State that I currently have with Texas and Texas Tech: I have simply no idea what to make of them until I see them play someone semi-legit (sorry, Arkansas, but you don't count this year). The Pokes certainly found ways to put up numbers in non-conference, and the offense Gundy's compiled in Stillwater provides the kinds of energy that T. Boone Pickens is dedicating his life to finding. I realize I'm supposed to be an "expert" on the Big 12, but I (and others, I assume) really won't know much about the Cowboys' worthiness until I see them up close and personal on the road in Columbia for a nationally televised night game. Sure, beating Texas A&M at home is nice, but the road to legitimacy for OSU begins Oct. 11 at 7:00.
More roundtable madness after the jump...
3. Your team has reached the Big 12 title game, but in a cruel twist of fate, your coach is declared ineligible and you have been asked to select among the other 11 coaches in the conference your team's game day maestro. Who do you select and why?
RMN: Everyone at Rock M Nation: close your eyes for a moment. If Pinkel's a no-go, I'm stuck with one answer: Bob Stoops. The man knows how to win Big 12 championships, even if they come at the price of being embarrassed in BCS games every year. Outside of Stoops, not many coaches are proven. Hawkins, Pelini, Prince, Chizik, Sherman, Briles and Gundy are all relatively untested in big games. If it were long-term rather than just one game, I might take a flier on Mangino. The same goes for Mack Brown, who I still consider to be one of the elite program-builders in the nation but only an average gameday coach. And Leach? I'll turn to him if I have a date after the title game.
4. Same situation, but different replacement: Assume this time that it's your quarterback who can't participate in the Big 12 title game. Which other quarterback from the conference would you select to lead your team for that game?
RMN: Allow me to quote what I said in the preseason edition of the Roundtable:
"Replacing Daniel is a tough task, but that has a lot to do with personal biases. Graham Harrell puts up huge numbers and has a gun of an arm, but he is neither mentally nor physically tough. Ditto for Colt McCoy. Sam Bradford is extremely efficient, but I wonder what he would do if he wasn't behind the impenetrable force known as the Sooner O-Line. I love Todd Reesing's grittiness, but, come on, this is a Missouri site - I'm NOT taking Reesing to replace Daniel. Can I cop out and make a hybrid? I'll take the leadership of Reesing, the arm of Harrell, the composure of Bradford, the legs of Texas backup John Chiles and the cojones of Stephen McGee. I just created the Tim Tebow of the Big 12."
So, yeah. What I said. Although I'm beginning to come around on McCoy, and I should probably find a way to fit Zac Robinson into the discussion somehow...
5. Imagine it is July 2008 and you receive an email from the conference's director of public relations, who informs you that the Big 12 has officially partnered with Austin City Limits Music Festival 2008. To promote the partnership, the conference has asked you to choose one of the festival's participating bands as metaphor for your football team and explain it. Go.
"Fleet Foxes are the next hot young band that is getting tons of hype for the greatest album of the year. Which means in about five years no one will remember them, but if they did they would chant “Overrated!” at them. This is clearly Mizzou."
Since I don't feel qualified enough to pin one artist on Mizzou, I'll instead pick out a couple of songs from ACL artists whose music I happen to be a fan of and apply them to Missouri football in 2008:
- Foo Fighters "Everlong" - Hello 2008, we've waited here for you, everlong.
- Robert Earl Keen "Feeling Good Again" - It's been awhile since Mizzou's had an era of football like this. It feels so good, feeling good again.
- Eli Young Band "That's the Way" - As much as it begrudges me as a fan of Red Dirt music to use Eli Young, I can only hope "fate's got a plan for us."
- I'd love to include Blues Traveler, Old 97s, Jose Gonzales and Donavon Frankenreiter, but I can't do it without epically failing on the correlation. So I'm content to just name drop...
6. Answer all of the following in no more than two sentences:
(A) Conference's best quarterback?
(B) Conference's best offense?
(C) Big 12 South winner?
(D) Big 12 North winner?
(E) Big 12 champion?
(F) Big 12 team you would adopt as your favorite if forced to abandon your own?
(G) One prediction that might surprise the rest of us?
RMN: Rapid fire answers!
A) Chase "Golden Watermelon Balls of Fury / Booger / THERE'S NO GODDAMN 'S' IN DANIEL" Daniel. End of story.
B) Missouri. End of story.
C) Oklahoma, although Texas is a lot closer than I expected. The Sooners are the class of the nation right now, much less the conference.
D) Missouri. It's the Tigers' division title to lose until someone knocks them off.
E) (Earplugs, RMN) Oklahoma. I'll catch sh*t for it, but until I see a little bit more, I'm sticking with my gut feeling of OU over MU in the title game.
F) For family ties, I side with my brother's alma mater: Texas A&M. Other than that, it goes to either Oklahoma State (seem like good people) or Kansas State (ditto).
G) Are there really many possible legitimate predictions that haven't already been made? Just for fun, I'll say the Big 12 ends the season with more AP Top 10 teams than the SEC.