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Rock M Roundtable!

1 - One football game remains.  Who wins it--Florida or Oklahoma?

2 - Give me the one storyline you're most interested in for Mizzou (or in Doug's case, Kansas) Spring Football in two months.

3 - Missouri stands at 13-2 in basketball right now, and despite being labeled as the conference's "Biggest Disappointment" by Andy Katz and Adrian Branch on ESPNU, that has to be just about the best any self-respecting Mizzou fan could have expected at the beginning of the season (despite the gut-wrenching quality of the Xavier loss).  At this point, seeing what you have (or haven't, ahem) seen, what do you expect from this team in Big 12 play?

4 - I may have already asked this question a while back, but who's your favorite player on this (or in Doug's case, KU's) team?

5 - Give me the four teams that will receive first-round byes at the Big 12 Tournament.

ZouDave's Out-of-Office Auto-Reply: I will be out of the office until Wednesday, January 7, 2009.  I will have limited access to email during this time and am unlikely to respond in a timely manner.

The Beef: 1 - Having seen OU in person, I just cannot get it out of my head that they won’t be the winner….and I even think Florida comes into this game healthier and in better shape.  But, there has been plenty of disrespect being created out of Norman, more than I recall when OU played LSU in a similar game, so I will go with that.  OU has been embarrassed of late in bowls and I think that plays to their favor.  In the end, I believe it will be a very good game, but I think OU takes it.

2 - I think the QB battle is going to be the standard (and perfectly acceptable) answer, but I am going to be more interested in the D-backfield and D-line.  On the D-line, seeing how the depth plays out and who takes the other interior spot from Ziggy Hood.  In the D-backfield, seeing whether Gettis becomes more of the full-time nickelback, and does that mean we are going to go back to more of a full-time 4-2-5 (which we did against Northwestern with seemingly good success).  And then, who else fills in the remaining open spots back there.

3 - I REALLY want to expect this team to win in places like Lincoln, Ames, College Station, Boulder and the like.  I am not saying we need to win EVERY game in those places, but the way we are playing, we appear to be a better team than most in the league.  Winning the games we SHOULD win should get us the record we need to get back to the NCAA’s.  I just want a Mizzou team to perform at the level it should this season, because I think that will be enough.  I don’t need the sparkling upset (though of course it would be nice)…I just want the sweeps of NU, ISU and CU.  6 wins there puts you two thirds of the way to the 9 I believe we need.  Surely we can find 3 other wins

4 - I am really becoming pretty partial to Ramsey at this point, based on the inside presence he has provided in the past few games.  And god bless Demarre Carroll, he sure tries hard all the time, even if he looks like a Dr. TJ Soyoye with long hair at times.  I just want to see a little better handle from Taylor (though he has been good most of the season, this last game was not his best at 3 assists and 3 TO’s) and I want to see Miguel Paul stop chucking up 3 pointers right now (same for Mike Anderson, Jr.).  But, the entire team should be PLENTY rested and ready for NU, considering no one played more than 20 minutes last night.

5 - Got to go with the standard OU, TX (though both losers to what I guess is an up and coming Arkansas program), kU and….I am thinking Baylor even though the south will be tougher than the north.  I am thinking we and Baylor may actually have the same record, but they earn the tie-breaker over us.  I think we get the 5, which is never a terrible thing since you get basically the 5/12 freebie before a winnable matchup with the 4.

Michael Atchison: 1 - If I get my wish and the stadium suddenly falls into the ocean, neither team wins.  Barring cataclysm, I’ll take Oklahoma.  I’ve grown weary of the supposed superiority of the SEC.

2 - Spring football at Mizzou has to be about quarterbacks, doesn’t it?  I don’t mean to belabor the obvious here, but really.

3 - I expect this team to beat up on the bad teams in the league (and there are many) and to hang with the good ones.  I think 10-6 is eminently reachable.  I’d like 11-5.  I’d really like Ken Pomeroy’s 12-4 projection.  All that said, Lyons and Carroll have to stay on the floor.  Ramsey has given them good minutes, but he plays like a tweener and he’s still too passive offensively.  And Safford looks – how shall I say? - a little personally disorganized on the offensive end.

4 - Like my children, I love them all equally.  I really like to watch Carroll because of the effort, and I’m quickly falling for both English and Denmon.

5 - Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas.

On a related matter, I was a little skeptical of K-State entering the season, but they’ll sneak up on some people.  There’s more talent on that roster than people realize.  They could change the dynamic in the north.

Doug: 1 - It sure would be nice if the Big 12 South reached 500 for the bowl season, so I'll go with Oklahoma.

2 - I'll be interested to see the continued growth of Dez Briscoe (who'll probably be in his last year at KU) and also how the replacement line-backers are doing. That will be KU's biggest hole to fill next season. But, I think they've got some decent underclassmen and some good recruits coming in. However, it'll be tough to fill the shoes of that group of seniors.

3 - Well, I haven't seen much. I think Missouri and Kansas State are kind of in the same boat. However, Missouri has won more against BCS schools than K-State has. Beef is right, the best way to look for progress from Mike Anderson this year is to start getting some of those road wins that have eluded him at times. I think the trips to Ames, Boulder and Lincoln are all very winnable. Manhattan falls under the likely category. He needs to get some of the wins to continue building the program.

4 - I'm still a big fan of Sherron Collins. It is definitely his and Cole Aldrich's team, and with the Tennessee game, I think you'll start see him exerting more control on the court. Sure, there will be times the two of them will be on the bench, and you can tell KU is still looking for a leader on the floor, but when those two guys are on, KU should be very difficult to beat.

5 - Oklahoma, Texas, KU and (okay, here's a stat for you: 12 times the Big 12 tournament has been played, one division had three of the four byes 5 times. So, 7 times there's been an even split 2 teams from both divisions) so I'll go with an even split this time and say MU.

The Boy: 1 - Here's my one problem with picking OU, and it's one of the main things I mentioned in my Football Outsiders preview today: the bowl break kills momentum.  And while OU and Florida were both ridiculously hot to end the regular season, OU relies so much on their rhythm in the passing game (particularly on passing downs, where they've been automatic even though nobody's supposed to be automatic on passing downs) that I'm worried they'll be a little off.  And if they're off, Florida will stop them.  Florida, meanwhile, relies on more base "Tebow right, Tebow left" plays that aren't as timing-based.  So that's why I picked Florida on FO.  That said, I'm really having trouble with that pick simply because I've seen OU a lot more and saw just how dominant they were at the end of the season.  If THAT OU team shows up, nobody can beat them...but the break scares me a bit.

2 - I almost said "Besides the QB race, give me the one storyline..." but didn't.  While I'm certainly curious about the QB race, and while coverage of that will be inescapable, I think I'll be choosing to focus mostly on the WRs and the secondary.  The D-line will be very interesting once Sheldon Richardson (hopefully) enters the mix, but he won't be there in the spring, so I'll be looking at those two units--they're where we'll be relying the most on RSFr's, and if one or two emerges as a serious threat, this team could be pretty good next year.

3 - The Big 12 is relatively down this year, so I'm thinking 10-6 is what's necessary to guarantee entry into the NCAA Tournament, and honestly...there's a pretty doable path:

  • 5-1 versus the dregs of the North (CU, ISU, NU) - that allows you to slip up once, but slipping up twice means you've got work to do elsewhere
  • 1-1 versus K-State
  • 1-1 versus Kansas (surely we beat them at home again this year, right?)
  • 3-3 versus the South (which means beating Tech and then taking 2 of 4 against OU at home, Baylor at home, OSU in Stillwater, and ATM in College Station...we're not winning in Austin)

There's your 10-6, and there's your 23-8 regular season.  I didn't think it was possible before the season, but while I'm still wary about what this team will actually do when people are paying attention to them, it's certainly a possibility, which is lovely.

4 - It was a three-way race between Bowers, Denmon and English until Keith Ramsey surged ahead in Georgia last weekend.  I just had to ask this question to point out that, unlike previous seasons, it's actually a competition!  We actually have numerous highly likeable players!

5 - It could potentially be an interesting race, as the three no-brainer teams (Texas, OU, Kansas) are super-duper young.  But being that no other teams have shown the potential to compete with them over 16 games, I'll take all three of the no-brainers...and ATM.  I'm not jinxing Mizzou by putting them on the bye list.

Ridiculous Matt: 1 Well, seeing as I've got a $150 on Oklahoma on a bet dating back to before the season, it damn well better be Oklahoma. I haven't come this far to fail now. (NOTE: No, I did not bet on Missouri, because that would have been the jinxiest jinx of all.)

2. Is Danario Alexander ready to shake off the injuries and be a No.1 guy?

3. I think we've got a great shot at a 6 seed. The North teams are terrible, Kansas is vulnerable, K-State's a year away. Both OU and Texas are vulnerable, and if we have to play one of those two on the road, I want it to be Texas. There are probably a few more "What the hell was that?!" games but I think this team will surprise a lot of fans that didn't expect us to be this far along.

4. Tiller, no question.

5. UConn, UNC, Wake Forest, Oklahoma (mmm....easy schedule...)

The Boy: I don't think it would be very fair to let UConn, UNC, and WF play in the Big 12 tournament...if they do, there's no WAY we get a bye...

Ridiculous Matt: 5. That was actually, in a weird, coincidence meant for another thread on which teams I see in the Final Four.

Let's try, Missouri, OU, UT, and Kansas for $700, Alex.

Michael Atchison: On an only tangentially related note, I'd really, really like to go to the Big East tourney this year. That league is sick.

Sent from my iPhone

The Beef: Sent from his I-phone?  Seriously?

And yes…having been to the Big East Tourney once and seeing Allen hit the floater over Iverson is WAY up there for me in my sports pantheon…

Michael Atchison: No, I just type that at the end of my messages to project a cooler image.

Sent from my iPhone

The Beef: So being that Dave had an out-of-office message left over from the holidays, when do you think he finally gets to the bottom of his email inbox to find these?

Michael Atchison: More important, when does he discover that I got a cool new iPhone?

Sent from my iPhone

ZouDave: Look at me, being all sick with the flu and stuff!  Even if you had sent this to the wrong Dave, I probably wouldn't have responded any slower.  I'm sitting at work the the door to my office closed, so as not to risk anyone else's health.  Just walking from my bed to the shower this morning caused me to have to sit down to take a rest.  Normally I do that anyway, but I also eat a hot dog.
1 - I want Florida to win it, because I'm sick and tired of OU's shenanigans.  Hearing Sam Bradford claim that Mizzou players were saying that the losses in 2007 were a fluke was disgusting beyond words, and while I know it isn't Bradford's fault that his coach is a lying piece of shit I still have a severe hatred for all things OU now.  I will forgive Bradford, however, if he is drafted by the Chiefs in April.
However, I don't want Florida to win just because I don't want the SEC to continue claiming their supremacy.  So...a pickle.  I have nobody to openly root for.
With all of that said, OU is going to win this game.  They're better, they will not be remotely intimidated, and they will prove Big 12 Offense > SEC Defense.
2 - Yes, it's all about the QB in Columbia.  Gabbert has the upper hand obviously, but having Dalton and Glaser there is going to make this REALLY interesting.  Beyond that, though, there are SO many great new things to watch for.  RB is about the only position that won't be interesting, but even then it will be fun to watch Moore and Temple fight for the backup spot (obviously Moore is the odds-on favorite for that).  But between breaking in 3 new starters in the secondary, 3 new starters on the defensive line, and at least 1 if not 2 more starters at LB (I think Spoon is coming back...his Facebook status, according to someone on PowerMizzou, seemed to indicate he wasn't happy with the 3rd round projection he received), plus new starting TE, a couple of new starting receivers, and 2 more starting OL...this ain't your father's Missouri Tigers I guess.  Lots of new faces for the Spring, and it's all going to be really interesting.
But none moreso than QB.
3 - We're the biggest disappointment?  You're joking, right?  We've lost 2 games so far, both to good teams, one was a squeaker and the other was...well...embarrassing.  But seriously, we're the biggest disappointment?  We could be, at best, 2 games better.  Nobody has done worse with more?  It's not like Missouri was picked pre-season #2 or something.  Tell Katz and the other guy that it isn't 2003 and we're not exactly coming off of a great year.  Biggest disappointment?  That pisses me off.  It ought to piss the team off as well, if they pay attention to that kind of stuff.
As for what I expect, I expect us to compete in every single game and win the majority of them.  I've seen enough to know we're athletically superior to half of the teams in the league, most of them in the North, so we should be able to get 7-8 wins just in the North.  Then we just need to steal a couple from the South teams, or kansas, and we're a 10-win conference team on the right side of the bubble.  I don't know enough about the B12 South teams to know how good a few of them are, other than Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor.  Are we good enough to beat Tech, Okie State or A&M?  If we have any of them at home, sure why not?
4 - I can't say I have one yet.  I haven't had a favorite player on our basketball team since Clarence Gilbert graduated, although Arthur Johnson sure made a strong push that next season.  Still, nobody has gotten me totally attached to them yet, so I just kinda cheer for whoever's hot for the night (like Lawrence last night).
5 - OU, Texas, kansas, Baylor.  I want to say Missouri, but I am not convinced just yet.  I think we may be 5th, which means we'll win our first game in KC and then get to take on kansas or Baylor in the 2nd round.  I think that should be good enough for us to be dancing this year.

The Boy: Aww...poor ZD...

Rptgwb: 1. I have no clue. Oh, I forgot to "RMN-ize" that statement: No. Freaking. Clue.

2. What, the four piece QB race isn't interesting enough? I am interested to see and hear the development of the secondary as well, though.

3. The win at Georgia was huge to me, just because it proved this team could win a true road game when things aren't going well early. I don't think that can be undervalued. That being said, I don't know how the atmosphere at Stegemen Coliseum on Christmas break translates to Allen Fieldhouse on Big Monday. If Mizzou keeps its collective head together on the road, we're looking at 9-7 to maybe 10-6. But if the young guys struggle or the road inconsistency we all know and love show up, we could also be looking at 7-9.

4. It's got to be J.T. Tiller. I swear he can fly when he hits top speed. Oh, and since he's from that part of the country: "SSSSS EEEEE SEEEE SPEED!"

5. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Baylor. Maybe Missouri steals that fourth spot from the Bears.

(An hour later...)


Doug: You know... as commercials for useless, poorly named crap on TV go... the actual offer was a might disappointing.  I mean, there's no call in the next 30 minutes and get a second Wunder Boner for free (just pay shipping and handling), no free fishing lures to help you catch fish to debone on your Wunder Boner. 

Really just a poor sales job all around.

Sent from my Wunder Boner.

rptgwb: I didn't watch it all the way through.

PLEASE tell me there's a "Must be 18 years or older to order" stipulation at the end.

Doug: No, but they do tell kids to get their parents' permission before calling!

Sent from my Wunder Boner.

ZouDave: There was no such stipulation at the end.  But was that one guy wearing a
Mizzou hat?  I fear he might have been, as it looks too familiar to me.

Doug: No, it's a Michigan hat.

You get the back of the hat in about the 5th shot, and it's the M with "Michigan" in the bar across it in miniature on the back of the hat.

ZouDave: phew...that was close.

Doug: I'm not saying you don't know the guy. Could be that's the only other hat wardrobe had available that day.

ZouDave: His handlebar mustache was sublime.

And the main guy, who brought the Wunder Boner, looks like Fred Ward (aka, Joe Dirt's dad)

Doug: But it was really the mustache paired with the mullet that completed the look.

ZouDave: And it's the look that made me glad he wasn't wearing a Mizzou hat.