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Rock M Roundtable!

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1 - So...Alabama or Texas?

2 - The 2009 Mizzou football season ended on a less-than-stellar note, but...2009 is sooooooooo last year.  Give me your far-too-early prediction for next season:

9/4 - vs Illinois
9/11 - McNeese State
9/18 - San Diego State
9/25 - Miami-OH
10/9 - Colorado
10/16 - at Texas A&M
10/23 - Oklahoma
10/30 - at Nebraska
11/6 - at Texas Tech
11/13 - Kansas State
11/20 - at Iowa State
11/27 - vs Kansas

3 - So...Mizzou or K-State on Saturday?

4 - If you had to bet your life on Mizzou making the 2010 NCAA Tournament or not, what's your pick?

Michael Atchison: 1 - I know Alabama is the overwhelming and obvious pick, but I’ll go with the obvious.  Last I heard, the line was four points.  I’d give the points and take the Tide.

2 - Let’s see . . . Win all four in the non-con, beat Colorado to start 5-0 to ramp up expectations for the inevitable recriminations when they lose two of the next three to fall to 6-2.  After that, I think they could win all four, but I’ll bet they lose one.  Let’s call it 9-3.

3 - Mizzou wins at The Abbatoir.  Always.  Well almost always.  (everyone is trying to give the place a nickname; I decided to go with some panache).

4 - In, baby.

The Beef: 1 - I think I still need to go with Alabama.  I think their confidence is a mile-high and I just think their talent level has availed itself to be better than Texas, strange as that might be to say.  I came away REALLY impressed with how the ‘Bama QB handled the pressure of the first National Title game they played in a month ago, and think that experience will be worth something going forward.

2 - 9/4 - vs Illinois – better be a win
9/11 - McNeese State -win
9/18 - San Diego State - win
9/25 - Miami-OH - win
10/9 – Colorado - win
10/16 - at Texas A&M - win
10/23 – Oklahoma – yep…undefeated going into OU at Homecoming.  Yep…ESPN is there for GameDay…and we lose.
10/30 - at Nebraska – wow…tough…I think it is too early because we don’t know who is coming back for NU (who stands to lose some big juniors perhaps).  I will go with them right now…but that is subject to change
11/6 - at Texas Tech - win
11/13 - Kansas State - win
11/20 - at Iowa State - win
11/27 - vs Kansas - win

3 - I really don’t know at this point, only because I have not really seen kSU play at all this season.  I know they are guard-oriented at this point, which should play to our strengths.  I know the game is sold out and at home.  Therefore, I will take us, but that is more homer than anything.

4 - I would bet that we make it.  I think the Big XII is solid, but I think eventually a line will form of the have’s and have-not’s.  I think we need to beat up on the have-not’s this year, but it is something we should be capable of doing.  As always, winning on the road will be key, but you steal a few on the road to supplant any home loss and we should be in business.  Getting through non-con at 12-3 was fine…would have loved 13-2, but none of the losses are soooo bad and some of the wins seem to be improving (Oregon and ODU have nice wins I believe)

Bill C.: The problem with that nickname, Atch, is that this is Missouri.  It would be pronounced AB-uh-toy-uhr.

1 - Going with 'Bama, though it does spook me a bit that EVERYBODY is picking the Tide.  It's not like it's that clear one way or another.  But in the end, I think this game comes down to simply who makes more mistakes, and even though 'Bama was almost as lucky to beat Tennessee as Texas was to beat Nebraska, I think Texas is more likely to make the killer mistakes.

2 - Man, that 4-game stretch from ATM to Tech is intriguing.  Mizzou could literally win or lose all of those games.  Needless to say, despite a potentially tricky trip to Ames in mid-November, I'll say that however many Mizzou loses in that four-game span is how many they lose, total.  I'm an optimist, so I'll say 10-2.

3 - Another really fun matchup here.  KSU is one of the best in the country at offensive rebounds and getting to the line, which directly ties to two of our biggest weaknesses.  Meanwhile, they are VERY turnover-prone, which ties to our biggest strength.  Really, this one comes down to who better asserts their identity over the other, and since it's in Le Slaughterhouse, I'll go with Mizzou.

4 - I like how we've played in the last two "real" games.  Even though neither Illinois nor Georgia are amazing teams, we showed major improvement in the areas where we most needed to show improvement (rebounding, offensive flow), and our backcourt depth has gone from a strength to a lethal weapon.  Because of that, I say we make it in.

Doug: 1 - After seeing the last games both teams played, Alabama looks like a far better team, and a more competent team, especially when compared against Texas' last possession. Therefore, Roll Tide.

2 - I have a feeling the game against Nebraska will determine the North winner (I know, crazy, right?). I think an undefeated non-con is expected, I'll say 4-1 against the North, and 1-2 against the South.

3 - Am I picking who I'd root for? What are the geological conditions necessary for a sinkhole? Because I'll root for that.

4 - The Big 12 looks very strong, and even though there will probably be a big divide between 1 and 2 and then the rest of the league, if Missouri can wind up in the top half with at least 20 - 22 wins, I don't see how they would miss the tournament.

ghtd36: Happy New Year, homeys. Let's rock this thing.

1- I was discussing this with my friend (a Texas fan) yesterday, and it seems way too obvious for Alabama to win some sort of 24-17 slugfest. That kind of scares me off: TCU was an obvious favorite, Mizzou was an obvious favorite, heck, Nevada was an obvious favorite. And all lost.  Texas' path to victory, however, is much more complicated than Bama's. I think Texas needs to establish some sort of running game (which can, and likely will, be Colt McCoy draws), I think the Texas defense absolutely has to take Ingram and Richardson out of the game, and I think they need a special teams/defensive score. If all of those happen, I like Texas, 20-16.  If Ingram/Richardson get going OR Texas can't get the running game going, I like Bama, 31-14. So, I'm not making a pick.

2- Let's go by my foolproof Sure Win/Sure Loss/Tossup formula, shall we? Sure wins, in my opinion, are Illinois, McNeese State, San Diego State, Miami-OH, Colorado, Kansas State and Kansas. Sure losses are...jeez...I'm not sure I'm comfortable calling any of these games "sure losses." I don't think OU is going to be all that good -- remember, Landry Jones will be the QB, and they won't have Gerald McCoy or DeMarco Murray. I think Nebraska takes a step back, especially defensively without Suh, and still has offensive problems.  Quite simply, I think Texas A&M is going to be wildly overrated next year. I guess the closest thing to a Sure Loss would be in Lubbock, but with all the coaching turmoil, who the hell knows? So the rest of the games -- @A&M, OU, @Nebraska, @Tech and @Iowa State (my sleeper next year) -- become Toss-Ups. So you're looking at 12-0 at best (hmm...), 7-5 at worst and realistically around 10-2 or 9-3. Being a Mizzou fan, I'll go with 9-3.

3- If anything, it comes down to home-court advantage. Mizzou Arena is a beartrap, or in this case, a wildcat trap. I like Mizzou by 7 or so.

4- I defer to my deity of choice, Ken Pomeroy. He views the rest of Mizzou's schedule like this (not including Savannah State, which he has as an almost guaranteed win, meaning Mizzou starts at 12-3):

Kansas St. (W, 71%)
@Texas Tech (W, 73%)
@Oklahoma (W, 81%)
Nebraska (W, 90%)
@Kansas (L, 10%)
Oklahoma St. (W, 90%)
Texas A&M (W, 83%)
@Colorado (W, 87%)
Iowa St. (W, 89%)
@Baylor (W, 62%)
Texas (L, 49%)
@Nebraska (W, 72%)
Colorado (W, 96%)
@Kansas St. (L, 41%)
@Iowa St. (W, 69%)
Kansas (L, 28%)

So, KenPom likes Mizzou to finish 24-7, go 12-4 in conference (though in his "projected record", he puts Mizzou at 23-8, 11-5, probably accounting for The Inevitable Mizzou Road Game Brain Fart). When I first saw that, I thought it was overly optimistic. But look at it in depth.

Wins at home against Kansas State, Nebraska, OKState, A&M, Iowa State and Colorado; road wins in Lubbock, Norman, Boulder, Waco, Lincoln and Ames.

Two losses to Kansas, a home loss to Texas and a road loss to K-State.

Which one of those sounds wrong? The six home wins, I feel pretty good about (K-State being the only one I'm less-than-totally-confident in).  I feel pretty good about five of the six road wins (@Baylor looks like a perfect place for a classic "looking ahead to the home game against a top 3 team, and not focusing on the relatively dangerous team on the road right in front of you" game).

Two losses to Kansas and a loss in Manhattan, I've come to terms with.  But...who's to say Mizzou couldn't steal a win from Texas at home?  KenPom has it as a 1-point game right now; who knows?

I think that all things being equal, Mizzou has a puncher's chance at 12-4 in conference, a decent chance at 11-5, a good chance at 10-6, and a great chance at 9-7. And I think Gabe said it best this morning in the Post-Dispatch: 21-10 in the Big XII likely gets you in.

So, yes, I think Mizzou makes the tournament.

RPT: 1. Roll Tide.

2. Unscathed through non-conference, goes 1-1 in Texas (not sure which they drop), loses in Lincoln, and the OU game is a toss up at home that probably ends up in that "was close but ends up being a 10-14 point margin of victory" losses. So, 9-3, I guess, with potential for the inevitable WTF game (a la Baylor 09 and ISU 06) still looming.

3. K-State. All good things, including badass home winning streaks, must come to an end. I'd be more than willing to be wrong about this, however.

4. I think they're in as a 10-11 seed. I'll defer to the KenPom analysis, which saves me a lot of typing. Thanks ghtd!

(Two hours later...)

Michael Atchison: Fill in the blank:  This roundtable is ______________.

ghtd36: ...like Steve Moore: starts strong, and you love his upside, but ultimately it's probably going to end really quickly and anticlimactically.

The Beef: That's what she said.

RPT: Here's a matter of grave national importance: Fred McGriff has never even seen the Defensive Drills video that led Tom Emanski's team to BACK TO BACK TO BACK AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Discuss.

The Beef: I need HIS agent…that is tremendous work right there

ZouDave: 1 - I think Alabama wins this one by a couple of scores.  They're just a better team.  I say that having witnessed Texas absolutely destroying Mizzou in person.  I still think Bama is better.  And at this point I'm not even remotely cheering for the Big XII to do well.  Dan Beebe has pissed me off enough that I want the Big XII to fail.
 
2 - 4-0 in non-con is a minimum to me.  Miami (OH) may not be an easy game, but it shouldn't be that tough.  Illinois has no chance.  The other 2 are gimme putts.
 
I think we beat Colorado and KSU in Columbia, and I think we'll beat ISU and Tech on the road.  So 8 wins next year is the MINIMUM that should be even acceptable.  Less than that better mean that we lost Gabbert plus another starter on offense.
 
I think A&M is beatable in College Station, but that's a tough one.  I'd say 67% chance on that one if I'm being generous.
 
I will pick us to beat kansas simply because we beat them this year, we're bringing back almost all of that team, while kansas brings back almost nobody.  But this is a rivalry game, you just can't ever really tell.
 
There's maybe a 25% chance we beat Nebraska in Lincoln.  On paper I think we'll be comparable with them in talent, but it's just really difficult to call that a win since we've only won up there once since the 70s.
 
OU at home...I don't think we win that game.  I know OU wasn't all that great this year, but I think they're going to get a lot better next season.
 
So...all that said, Mizzou should win 9 (including kansas) with a real chance at winning 10 (aTm).  If the exact right situation happens, we win 11 (Nebraska).  Miracle, obviously, means 12.
 
I'll pick us 9-3.  We may indeed beat aTm but lose to a team we shouldn't (kansas).
 
3 - I'm going with Mizzou, because this is the kind of game we win.  Anywhere but Mizzou Arena, I think KSU wins comfortably.  But in our house, jazzed up in front of a crazy crowd, we're taking them down.
 
4 - I'd bet on it, but that may be because I don't care about my life ;-)