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Rock M Roundtable!

1 - Who will miss All-Americans Chase Coffman and Jeremy Maclin more next year--the team or the fans?

2 - Lots of stories are coming out Blaine Gabbert's positive development from August through the bowl practices.  What should Mizzou legitimately expect from him in 2008?

3 - Missouri is ranked ahead of Kansas in basketball for the first time in at least five years.  What do you see from these two teams the rest of the season?

4 - Does anybody have a cooler nickname than the Stetson Hatters?

5 - How are you planning on celebrating Christm...uhh, Hanuk...uhh, Kwanz...uhh, Festivus...uhh, your chosen religious winter holiday?

The Beef: 1 - In the end, I think the fans will because we have been flat spoiled by them the last 4 and 2 seasons. The team will certainly miss them at times for their ability to make a big play, but the fans will miss it more because we will simply expect the next crop to do so, and probably at an unfair level. That will leave us pining for the salad days of 07 and 08 when we had them both…oh…those were the days. See…it has started already.

2 - I think we should legitimately expect for him to be able to manage the offense, but in less spectacular fashion obviously than his predecessor. I think we become more of a run-oriented team to start the season to further allow for him to get comfortable, but all I know is that he better be living Mr. Jones and a few of the WR’s from now until August….that will help him a ton.

3 - I don’t see that continuing, but I think it could go back and forth. I think Mizzou’s schedule is pretty back loaded, and getting past Illinois could certainly result in us ripping off a nationally prominent winning streak (while also certainly allowing us to crack the polls). kU certainly has some talent, but it is going to take a little more time for them to get it together, especially if they are not shooing well like they did (not) on Saturday.

4 - There was a high school in my conference called the Hatters…Danbury (CT)…they were named for the same reason and, in high school, I thought it was stupid. Age changed me…I respect the name, but nothing is cooler than the Campbell Camels.

- Christmas at the in-laws and Hanukkah…well…it is not really a holiday (technically it is only a Festival), so not really at all….gosh I hope my folks don’t read this….

Rptgwb: Geology final be damned... It's Roundtable time!

1. We can all cry at their departure together. I'm just thrilled I'll have the opportunity to see them off in San Antonio.

2. This sounds like a series for the offseason, but I think it's important to temper expectations a little bit. I hate throwing the "manage the game" cliche out there, but I think that's what it boils down to. Yeah, Coffman and Maclin are gone, but this team still shouldn't be short of capable playmakers. Gabbert's got to show early that he can make smart decisions with the football. All arm and no brain makes Blaine a  Josh Freeman.

3. I'm going to back out of discussing Kansas, but I'm certainly all aboard the Missouri bandwagon right now. Before the season, I thought this was a borderline NCAA team, but as the season's gone on, I think this is definitely a tournament team. Sure, they're young, and things won't go as well as they have against the Prairie View A&M's of the world, but I think this team is talented enough and, importantly, deep enough to make a solid run in Big 12 play. I'm sure there will be one or two "What the hell??" games where everything goes wrong on the road, Leo and DeMarre are shut down, and the freshmen look overwhelmed. I won't predict anything close to what Pomeroy predicts, but I think this team is absolutely on the right track. None of us need to play up the importance of the Braggin Rights game this year.

4. I was always a fan of the Gauchos, of UC Santa Barbara. I like to think that UCSB's willingness to give a degree to Jim Rome was offset by producing Michael Young.

5. I plan on celebrating the holidays like an American by eating large amounts of food.

Doug: 1 - I'll say the team, because there are a lot of key pieces gone for Missouri next year, and those will probably be the two biggest, after Daniel. A really good receiver can make an average quarterback look good (ie, Tony Gonzalez and Tyler Thigpen). And, while Daniel was a good quarterback in his own right, having targets like Rucker, Franklin, Coffman and Maclin through the past couple of seasons, really helped him out. With Coffman and Maclin gone, I would expect the MU offense to possible take a step backwards next year.

2 - Without knowing MU's schedule, I think 7 wins would not be a disaster of a season (despite the previous records), and 9 wins would exceed expectations.

3 - Kansas still has work to do to find those other three starters and a solid 7 to 9 man rotation for an entire game. Reed and Morningstar are good, but neither is the caliber of Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and maybe even Russel Robinson. I think Tyshaun Taylor is a pleasant surprise and he's proving more than adequate as the second guard, but he's just not consistent yet. I saw it against UMass, when Collins and Aldrich went to the bench, this is a very shaky team, easy to rattle, easy to beat and prone to major mistakes. That said, I think Self will get them together, but with the way MU is playing, I wouldn't be surprised to see KU finish fourth behind the Tigers this season.

4 - Talk about Product Placement U. How about the Colt State Revolvers?

5 - We'll probably see my family on Christmas Eve, but the wife and I will be spending Christmas day at home, chillin' as it were. We've had a lot of people in our house the past couple of months, and it'll be nice to have a quiet home for Christmas.

Question from the gallery - Gene Chizik: Worst hire in Auburn's history? Or, worst hire in college football history?

The Beef: I think it is the worst in Auburn history, but not quite the worst in college football…at least Chizik has some tie to Auburn. Now…if he had no tie there, I think it might be the worst in college football

ZouDave: 1 - Excellent question.  At different times, it will be one or the other.  I think overall, though, the fans are going to miss them more.  The team is going to be moving on no matter what, but when we're in a tough 3rd down near the goal line or we need a big play on a passing route the fans are going to pine for both of those guys.  If anybody is even REMOTELY able to fill either void, obviously it means teams and fans alike will forget a little more quickly.
2 - Probably about what we got from Chase Daniel in 2006.  I'm betting Gabbert is going to have some really good games next year and is going to make some throws that make people say "oooh".  But he's going to throw some interceptions that leave you a bit baffled and make some decisions that show his inexperience.  While I obviously don't know how our offense is going to differ between Christensen to Yost and Daniel to Gabbert, I certainly expect us to run the ball more.  And I think more running is going to lead to more play fakes, and I think more play fakes combined with Gabbert's big arm is going to make our passing game more vertical as opposed to the uncanny accuracy within 15 yards that Daniel had.  We'll probably see a lot of big plays from our offense next year, but instead of it being Maclin making big plays it will be our QB setting people up for big plays.  And when you aim big, sometimes you're going to miss big.
3 - Well, while it's sure a lot of fun to see Missouri on the lip of the cup for the Top 25, where kansas is right now is obviously irrelevant.  I have to think kansas still has a lot more talent and potential on its roster right now, and they obviously have a more experienced coach, so this can't really be seen as a sure trend.  I think we can/should expect both teams to continue winning more often than they lose, and both teams to be making "freshman mistakes" given the amount of young players we're both relying on, but in the end I feel like it would be foolish to expect Missouri to have a better season.  I don't think it's a given we'll be significantly below them at the end of the year, but I just don't see it yet that they'd be looking up at us for very long.  All things being equal, the benefit of the doubt in the rankings will ALWAYS go to those God damn birds.
4 - No, they really don't.  My dad and I have a tendency to try to come up with nicknames like that for random schools that we see, usually high schools.  On the way to Springfield, MO, we always drive by Sherwood High School near Clinton, MO.  While their mascot is acceptable (the Rangers), they're missing a great opportunity to be the Forests.  Our favorite that we've come up with was when we were in St. Helena up in the Napa Valley back in 2001.  After discovering that the pronunciation is in fact "Hell-in-uh" we decided their high school's nickname ought to be the Handbaskets.  The Helena Handbaskets is about the only thing that would rival the Stetson Hatters.  I also think my place of employment should drop the Pirates as their mascot and should become the Rangers.  Yogi Bear could be our logo.
5 - On Friday I'll be heading to Augusta, ks, to spend the weekend with my wife's family.  We drive back home on Monday and fly out Monday night to Los Angeles so we can spend Christmas with the rest of my family at my sister's house in Thousand Oaks, CA.  If it wasn't for the fact that she's got 3-year old twins that I rarely get to see, I really wouldn't like the idea of spending Christmas in California.  It just doesn't feel right.

The Beef: Anything with your sister feels right Dave…..


Michael Atchison: 1 - This is a Confucian riddle.  Give me a week to mull it over.

2 - What should Mizzou expect from Gabbert?  I think we should expect him (1) to hand the ball to Derrick Washington a lot; (2) to be given a lot of short routes to throw, and to complete them at around 62%; and (3) to go deep more than Chase Daniel did.  I think we should also expect a fair number of mistakes as he learns how to drive this thing.

3 - I think Kansas probably has the greater upside because of the talent of Collins and Aldrich, and the fact that Mario Little hasn’t even played yet.  But Collins seems to have a little Stefhon Hannah syndrome – the belief that he has to take the ball in his hands and make a play despite the presence of four other guys on the floor.  If he doesn’t get past that, they’re going be up and down.  What’s encouraging about Mizzou is that all of the guys on the team seem to be past that already.  These guys really trust each other.  I’m going to guess that these two teams finish within a game of each other in the final conference standings.

4 - Another Confucian riddle.

5 - The Braggin’ Rights game and the Airing of the Grievances.

Michael Atchison: Back to the Chizik question, it’s a preposterous move.  Really hard to fathom.  If you’re going to fire Tommy Tuberville, you’ve got to hire someone you believe can do a better job.  Does anyone – and I mean anyone – think that Chizik will be an improvement?  Combine it all with Charles Barkley’s public comments and Mark Schlabach’s reporting, and it ranks with Indiana’s hire of Kelvin Sampson as an all-time head-scratcher.

ZouDave: At least Kelvin Sampson had at least had some on-the-court success (despite all of his other flaws).
Chizik won 5 freaking games at Iowa anyone can parlay that into a much better job is beyond me.  If I managed to destroy the Exchange Server here, I have my doubts I'd be in line for Senior Network Engineer at Cedars-Sinai.

Doug: Even more to the point, it's not like there was a lack of successful coaches out there ready to make the leap to a big-time school.  Much as some KU fans may not like it, Mark Mangino will probably leave to take a better job at some point, and if I'm Auburn, don't you at least talk to the guy who turned a proverbial cellar-dweller into a decent team.  Imagine what he could do with Auburn?

Perhaps most daming of all, was not talking to Turner Gill.  Who cares who is wife is?  If you can't see beyond that to the really good coach he is... then, Auburn enjoy Gene Chizik.

ZouDave: I guarantee Alabama fans are loving this, like Mizzou fans would be loving it if kansas hired Franchione to replace Mangino if when he leaves (either to another program or by natural causes).

Michael Atchison: It’s even worse than that.  Franchione turned out to be a train wreck, but he also won a fair number of games as a head coach.  And you have to look at it in light of Saban’s presence in Tuscaloosa.  It would be like if Mizzou hired Bill Parcells and Kansas hired Frank Gansz.

Michael Atchison: Some other thoughts.

If anyone hasn’t read The Boy’s posts on the traditional football powers’ domination in landing elite recruits, you must.  It’s as good an explanation as you’ll ever read on what the other 100 D-1 coaches are up against.

I just read that Mario Little broke his hand, and his debut at Kansas will be delayed at least a couple of weeks, and possibly until next season.

(An hour later...)


Polar Bear = This Roundtable



The Beef: Those damn cats scare me sometimes....

ZouDave: If I call you a pussy, is that redundant?

The Beef: Fairly...I just always think my two cats (and by my, I mean the ones my wife owned before we got married) are always plotting against me...I can see it in their eyes....

The Beef: How about we talk about this instead?

Quite the photo shoot she evidently has in the new GQ….

Michael Atchison: I’m disappointed that my face got cropped out of the picture on the right hand side.

Rptgwb: Don't you work for a living? How'd you manage to pull this photo and still keep your job?

The Boy: Alright, I lost control of my work day but have just enough time to crank out my answers...

1 - Being that Maclin and (in particular) Coffman were not only All-American caliber players, but also showmen of sorts, I think in the end the fans will miss them longer.  There are enough decent parts to craft a pretty decent offense next year, and while you never don't miss them when you lose two All-Americans from your lineup, I think their entertainment level will be even harder to replace.

2 - Really, in the end Derrick Washington is the key to Blaine Gabbert.  I don't expect Gabbert (or whoever wins the job) to be at the level Chase Daniel was at in '06, but '09 Derrick Washington should be much, much better and more consistent than '06 Tony Temple.  That could create more margin for error for Gabbert (or whoever wins the job), and that could be very important.

3 - I think TB at BOTC had a good line yesterday about Kansas--they should be a solid team by February.  But with that many new players facing such key roles, there was inevitably going to be a breaking-in process.  As for Mizzou...I'm trying to be cheerfully realistic.  Last year aside (Athenagate killed any hope) there's been a point in just about every season during this crap streak we're on (2003-present) when I believed the season was starting to turn around or pick up steam, and I started looking at scenarios for how Mizzou could make the NCAAs.  This year, I'm grateful for the unselfish and fun team wearing Mizzou jerseys this year, and I'm pretty optimistic...but I'm going to try as hard as I can not to even pretend to think about the NCAA Tournament until at least February 1.

4 - I've always been partial to the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

5 - Heading back to OKC, baby.  Can't wait to catch the BCS title game buzz first-hand.  Blech.

6 - That's my tie Jennifer is wearing.

(30 minutes later)

ZouDave: I simply have to do this:

The Beef: So just looking at the CSB college hoops schedule, and there are two LOVELY games in UCONN/Gonzaga and Xavier/Duke…but opposite them at 1 and 3 are the two games I will actually get to watch in STL, which are Purdue/Davidson (still decent, but not as good as UCONN/Gonzaga for me) and Michigan State/Texas (again…decent game, but I would prefer the other game of Duke/X)

Doug: Speaking of basketball and Christmas, the NBA has, what I believe is, an historic quintuple header on Christmas Day:

New Orleans @ Orlando
San Antonio @ Phoenix
Boston @ Lakers
Washington @ Cleveland
Dallas @ Portland

Some of biggest name franchises and biggest name players all on one day, against absolutely no competition.

Who among you is brave enough to admit they'll ditch the family to watch, let's say, a complete half of any one of those games.

Michael Atchison: I’ll fess up.  Boston @ LA is huge, and Dallas @ Portland is a pure past versus future matchup.

The Beef: I admit…I will be very surprised if I see a single quarter of action of the 20 which will be contested…are all of them even on TV?  I thought ABC maybe only had two of them.

Doug: Yeah, the first one is on ESPN, the next two on ABC, the last two on TNT.

The Beef: I doubt anything interferes with my watching of this

Doug: See, I buy that.

But, if I tell my wife she has a choice between NBA and A Christmas Story, we'll be watching the NBA until our eyes bleed.

The Beef: Hmmm…my wife probably chooses sleep over both of those options….

The other thing is…I actually have to work on the 26th…and since the average time of a televised NBA game is starting to touch American League playoff baseball…those games will just go FAR too late for my blood