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Rock M Roundtable!


1 - Three Big 12 Tourney titles, an Elite Eight run, Top 20 finish in football, Top 10 finish in wrestling, both softball and baseball now positioned well for the postseason...since it seems like the theme of the week on other sites, is this the best year ever for Mizzou athletics?

2 - What has been your #1 highlight from the year?  (Same question goes for Doug, I guess, only with KU.)

3 - Mizzou Baseball had high hopes in the preseason, and halfway through the season it looked like they were dead in the water.  Now they're surging and close to locking up another NCAA Tourney bid.  Would a bid alone make this season a success?  Winning a game or two at regionals?  Super Regional?  In other words, what should be the new benchmark for success for this Mizzou Baseball team?

4 - It looks like Sheldon Richardson may not qualify and may indeed be headed to JUCO.  Does that change your hopes/impressions of the Mizzou defense at all?

5 - Tell me something you'd enjoy less than a week straight of Notre Dame coverage.

ZouDave: 1 - Sure, why not?
2 - Beating Memphis, no question about it.  That game was freaking amazing, and really showed what our basketball program is capable of.  It was such a rollercoaster, because we had the high of Denmon's 500' shot (I measured it) giving us a huge halftime lead and then we had the low of Memphis starting to close the gap.  In the end, the game was ours and it was beautiful.
3 - I'm not really one to judge this, since I don't follow college baseball at all.  I would have to think, taking the season on its face and seeing where we were vs where we are that making the tournament would be a success.  It doesn't necessarily matter what you were picked to do, it matters more of where you are halfway through the season and then how you ended.
4 - Not really, because he was going to be our 2nd DT this year anyway (as good as Sheldon can be, I think Baston is going to have a fantastic year and end up being yet another Mizzou DT getting drafted next year).  It changes my hopes for 2010, when Sheldon would be The Man and starting as a Soph.  But, if his Facebook status is to be believed (and can be deciphered), Sheldon is set on getting to Mizzou even after the JUCO route.  So we'll see what happens.  It would be nice if he showed up at Mizzou with 3 years to play 3, but I'm going to guess we'll get him with 3 years to play 2.
5 - A week straight of rectal examinations.

The Beef: 1 - Don’t forget gymnastics All-American in Sarah Shire as well….  Anyway, it is certainly the most successful year I can remember and have been a part of.  That takes us back to 1995.  The combination of basketball and football success was missing going back even further until the early/mid 80’s, so I am guessing we would have to go back to at least there.  But each season has been fun and hopefully the fun will continue until June.

2 - I enjoyed the basketball tourney title because of the people around me, but it was more a sense of relief (like winning the bowl game) when it finished because we did have a bit of an easier road to get there.  The win over Memphis was far more satisfying to me in the end.  Soccer was exciting, but I think softball was a tad more since I had invested some more time into following and chronicling their season here.  I will take Mark Ellis’ national title as my highlight in the end.

3 - Based on where they were halfway through the season, yes, an NCAA bid makes the season a success.  Based on where we thought we would be?  Not entirely, but no one saw the pitching situation being like it is.  I think the team should be fine to win a game or two at a regional, but unless the offense is really clicking I see their lack of starting pitching to be their eventual downfall.  The new benchmark of success, for right now, I think should continue to be making the NCAA’s because if anything has been proven this season, it is that making it year in and year out is rather tough.

4 - No…not really.  I think our DEnds our looking rather stout and while he might have been #4 in the rotation, I would have been surprised to see him get into the starting 22.

5 - I don’t hold ND in the highest regard, and hated them growing up as a Penn State fan.  But I am a college football fan and so I would probably watch that show if it was put on in front of me and think some of the information and history to be interesting.  But to answer your question, I would enjoy being a full-time media watchdog less than that week’s worth of shows.

Michael Atchison: 1 - I don’t know if it was the best year ever, and it would take a lot of work to try to figure that out.  In 1981-82, the football team finished the year ranked 19th after a win in the Tangerine Bowl, and men’s basketball spent time at number one before winning the Big Eight regular season and tournament titles.  I don’t know what the other sports did off the top of my head.  Still, by any reasonable measure, this was an awfully good year, and certainly the best in a long, long time.

2 - In general, it was the unexpected rise of men’s basketball and the way that team became so fully embraced, finally, by the fan base.  The best individual moment I saw in person was Zaire Taylor’s shot bouncing in against Kansas.  The best thing I saw on television was standing toe to toe with Memphis and winning.

3 - After the miserable start, just making the field is going to feel like an accomplishment.  I’d sure like to see them get at least as far (super regional) or further (CWS) than they have in recent years, but not doing that certainly won’t render the year a failure.  But I think it would probably take a regional title to completely wipe away the bad taste left by the slow start.

4 - Would it be better to have him?  Sure.  Was I depending on him to make a substantial difference this year?  No.  It’s going to hurt more a year from now.  That’s when I would have expected him to become a full-fledged destroyer.

5 - Adam Lambert signing the complete Aerosmith songbook.

rptgwb: 1. I'm not sure I'm wholly qualified to make that decision, but I'll go ahead and say yes. It's certainly the best year of the Alden regime.

2. I'm deadlocked between the destruction of Memphis and Zaire's shot to beat KU. The win over Memphis meant more in the grand scheme of things, but the win over KU was the most incredible sporting event I've ever attended in my life. I will never forget how my chair on press row shook when Zaire's shot fell in.

3. Their poor start isn't enough to lower the bar for success. Making the NCAA Tournament at this point is impressive, but not completely satisfying. I'm not going to place the burden of winning a regional on them, but they need to be competitive in that regional and win at least two games. As well as they're playing lately, I'm not sure this is a Super Regional caliber baseball team.

4. No. Sheldon was going to be a bonus.

5. It's better than a week of full coverage on Middle Tennessee State.

(An hour later...)

ZouDave: Something about today sucks, and I can't figure out what it is (Seth).

ghtd36: 1 - Unequivocally yes. Especially considering my fandom began in 2003, and anything before 2003 never happened. FACT.

2 - Oof, that's a toughie. Maclin's punt return touchdown against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl gets overlooked way too much, but that was a monumental game-changer and my last big impression of Mizzou's most dynamic player ever. So that's up there. Zaire Taylor's transformation into Mr. Coffee against Kansas is in the conversation. The entirety of the Memphis game, and the birth of Jesus.Tyrannosaurus. Tiller. Even moments in the UConn game, like when Keith Ramsey (!!!) put Mizzou ahead for the first time. That's a pretty substantial list that I'm willing to submit as my choice.

3 - This enters into dangerous and often-confusing territory for me. I have no problem with shifting expectations higher (see: 2007 football, 2008-9 basketball), but I simply cannot bring myself to shift expectations lower (see: 2004 football). The expectation at the beginning of the year was a Super Regional berth. That remains my expectation. Anything less than that would be a disappointment for me.

And I know that they've battled, and I know that being where they are right now is a coup in relationship to where they were earlier in the year. That matters not. If Mizzou wants to put on its big-boy pants in the athletic world, it's time to have big-boy expectations.

4 -

That is all.

5 - Here comes ghtd36's Rant O' The Week!

Why do we hold Notre Dame in such high esteem anymore? I mean, really, what have they done in the past decade that Mizzou hasn't? Since 2002, Notre Dame's record has been 50-36 (.581). Since 2002, Mizzou's record has been 55-34 (.617). So, where is Mizzou Week? They have been significantly superior to Notre Dame in the past seven years...why do we allow teams to rest on their laurels in college football?

Notre Dame is a slightly better Baylor. Think back to the pre-Big XII Baylor teams. People forget that Baylor used to be a real force in the Southwest Conference. Players like Mike Singletary and Don Trull and Thomas Everett were monsters. It's a program that used to be pretty darn good; maybe not as good as Notre Dame, but still damn good.

So what changed? Recruiting. Both Baylor and Notre Dame had a significant recruiting hook back before the recruiting game truly went national: religion. Every Baptist mom wanted their kid to go to Baylor, and every Catholic mom wanted their kid to go to Notre Dame. Now? Recruiting has gone national, and the best players are going to go where they want regardless of religious affiliation.

Think about it: if you're the No. 1 recruit in the nation in 1955, and you're Catholic (which there's a decent chance you are; 28% of Americans were Catholic in 1990), you're going to Notre Dame. Period. End of story.

If you're the No. 1 recruit in the nation in 2005, and you're Catholic, where are you going? Notre Dame might not even be in your top six choices (Texas, OU, Florida, USC, Ohio State, Michigan).

The era of Notre Dame is dead. They might come back and have good seasons now and again, but let's stop pretending that Notre Dame is this powerhouse. They were a powerhouse. Now, they're a slightly better Baylor.


rptgwb: "Since 2002, Mizzou's record has been 55-34 (.617). So, where is Mizzou Week?"

Fun Fact: In the last two years, ONLY Southern Cal and Oklahoma have more victories than MU. That's a pretty exclusive list that doesn't even include the last two national champions.

ZouDave: And Oklahoma only has more victories than Mizzou because they beat us 3 times in the last 2 years.

Damnit, I just made myself sad.

The Boy: 1 - Really, from all I've read, it does seem that Atch's contribution--1981-82--is the only even relatively recent one that really applies.  And 2008-09 has it beat.

2 - With all due respect to beating NU by 35 in Lincoln, and Mark Ellis winning the heavyweight wrestling title, and Jeremy Maclin's punt return against NW'ern (and his kick return against Illinois), and the NFL Draft success, and the Big 12 Tourney titles (even the basketball ones), the year really does come down to two things to me: Zaire Taylor's shot against KU, and beating Memphis.  The number of "Holy crap, we matter in basketball again!" calls I got after the KU game was just staggering, and then the Memphis game was our national "Holy crap, Mizzou matters in basketball again!" coming-out party.  Just a great, great couple months there, sandwiched in the middle of a great, great year of Mizzou sports.

3 - Make the regionals, don't bow out in two games, and taking into account where we were in February and March (and into April), that's fantastic.  I'm dying for a CWS bid one of these years, but for now I'll take that.

4 - If I hadn't gotten myself so riled up about Jacquies Smith, Aldon Smith, Brian Coulter, and Jaron Baston, I'd be pretty down about this--I mean, the dude was a Top 5 recruit, and whether he was at DE or DT, he was probably going to be good enough to crack into the rotation.  So we're a hair thinner than I'd imagined we would be, but that doesn't quell my excitement for those other guys.  And yeah...missing him in 2010 kinda stinks.

5 - What ghtd36 said.  I'm glad I didn't get around to answering these Q's immediately because his rant was a lot more fun than mine would have been.

The Beef: The word of the day around my office and I guess around this roundtable seems to be malaise….can’t help it if my worlds cross over from time to time

ZouDave: is it a haze of malaise?

ghtd36: Jenna Haze?

/count it, and the foul

Doug: 1 - Like I have any idea.

2 - We talking academic year? If so, easy answer. Arrowhead.

3 - Uh... getting to the Super Regional?

4 - I think to answer this question I needed an impression of the Missouri defense to begin with... so, pass.

5 - Easy, we're in the middle of it right now: "Coming up on Sportscenter... are fans tired of Brett Favre and his manipulation of the media? Why his will-he-or-won't-he game is wearing thin. But, first on Sportscenter, Brett Favre... is he coming back with the Vikings? Let's start with 10 minutes of bloviating without substance or fact... because, let's face it, that's all we do on Sportscenter anymore."

ZouDave: That has to be the first use of any form of the word "bloviate" in the Roundtable.  Well done.

Doug: Just trying to raise the class level however I can.

Though I see my response comes after the mention of Jenna Haze, so maybe I'm too late for today.

The Beef: I once saw a clip of Jenna Haze bloviating…needless to say…I was impressed.  I keep meaning to thank Atch for lending that CD to me….

Doug: He's here all week, folks.


The Beef: Oh wow….well played there sir