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Rock M Roundtable!

Alright, since I forgot to set up a live thread last night (I should really just throw 20 of them together for 20 Tuesdays at once), I guess that means I have to come up with questions myself, like a sucker.

1 - The blatantly obvious question: now that non-conference play is over, what do you know about your team that you didn't four weeks ago?

2 - Mizzou's conference season can be broken into two parts: The Beginning and End (CU, KSU, @ISU, vs KU) and the Ridiculous Middle (@ATM, OU, @NU, @Tech).  Give me your best guess how Mizzou will fare in each part.

3 - With the whole "TCU to Big (Not) East (Anymore)" rumor flying around, I must ask ... on a scale of 1-10 (1 being total peace and 10 being June-esque total chaos), how close are we to another bout with MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™?  Might the Big East go crazy?  Might the Big Ten go ahead and announce further expansion in the December-March range?  Might I need to go ahead and set myself up on some anxiety medication?

4 - Um...first person to respond gets to come up with the random pop culture/entertainment question today. I'm at a complete and total loss.

(How was California, Atch??)

Michael Atchison: 1 - They have some guys who can run the ball.  I still don’t know if they have a guy who can get tough inside yards against good defenses, but I am confident that they can run it well enough to keep opponents from pinning back their ears and teeing off against Gabbert.

2 - For the beginning, I’m going to guess 4-0 with one narrow escape.  I think the middle could be anywhere from 3-1 to 0-4, but I’ll be an optimist with reservations and say 2-2; every opponent in that stretch could be very good or even great on a given day, but they’ve also shown the ability to be pretty pedestrian (as has Mizzou).  For the end, this team is completely capable of going 4-0, but I’m guessing they’ll trip up at some point.  Put me down for 3-1.  That gets me to 9-3 on the year, which would have been about as optimistic as I could have been entering the year.  If it tips one way or the other, I think they’re far more likely to be 8-4 (or even 7-5) than 10-2.

3 - Put me down for 2.  I don’t think the Big East has the ability to trigger anything seismic; unless the Big 12 cracks open and leaves the Big Awesome Four without their ancestral home, the best the Big East can do is add schools from lesser leagues (TCU, Memphis, etc.).  And I don’t think the TCU talk is nuts.  Sure, it would be a geographic disaster, but TCU already has a geographic disaster.  Soon, their road trips will include Boise State, Wyoming, Fresno State and San Diego State, among others.  Is that any worse than going to Cincinnati, Louisville, Pitt and West Virginia?  If the Big 10 moves, though, all bets are off.

On a side note, as I was driving around Southern California last week, I couldn’t help but think the culture shock that would have ensued had the Oklahoma and Texas schools made the move to the Pac-10.  Los Angeles is a long, long way from Stillwater, in every respect.

4 - Given that I was at Disneyland last week, and given that I’m quite old, I’ll pose this:  Give me your favorite Disney flick ever.  It can be animated or live action.  I remain a sucker for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but Up would certainly be high on my list.

As for California, it was nice.  I was mostly doing kid stuff.  I will note that the Mizzou Stat Tracker iPhone app, though completely useless in the cell-phone abyss of Faurot Field, is pretty handy at Lego Land.

One last thing.  While I was away, I saw the news that John Cooper had passed.  I interviewed him for True Sons, and he was among the most delightful people I encountered during that process (his brother Clay was another).  He helped fill a gap in a time in the program’s history that was mostly forgotten, in addition to having his own great personal story.  The most gratifying thing about doing the book was shedding light on periods that few people remembered, and I really wanted to get the recollections of some of the players involved while we still had them.  We’ve lost both Clay and John Cooper since then, and we were unfathomably lucky to have them as long as we did.

ZouDave: Ahh, a Simpsons reference to open the roundtable.  It's gonna be a good day.

1 - That we apparently have been stockpiling fast running backs and are starting to figure out how to unleash them upon the world.  Like Atch said, we may not have a cannonball type back that can get tough yards, but we have speed.  And that's fun to see.  We also have corners that can cover.  And we have TJ................MOE!  Wes Welker wears TJ Moe pajamas to bed.

I'm also going to say that we have a QB that doesn't look to me like he's taken a lot of steps forward from last year.  We hard an awful lot about him in the Spring and Summer camps that he looked like a new QB, that he was comfortable in the offense, that he was leading the team, etc.  I'm not saying Gabbert has been bad.  Not at all.  But I am saying I haven't seen much of a difference.  I don't think he's a great fit for this offense, and I think he'd be showing off his talents better in a more vertical passing game.  The kid can make throws very few other QBs can make, but we're still asking him to throw bubble screens, 5-yard ins and 7-yard outs.  I'd love to see some 30-yard go routes.

2 - The beginning and end go very well for us, I think.  We get the absolute toughest opponent of those 4 (KSU) at home, which is a huge plus.  We're going to stomp a mudhole once again in Colorado.  We should TCB against ISU up in Ames, and then the kansas game at Arrowhead.  At absolute worst we're 3-1 in this group, and I'm just going to say I fully expect 4-0.

The ridiculous middle is ridiculous.  I have no idea what to think of Tech or aTm yet, because both appear quite different than what I expected going into the season.  We really, really need a split with them.  We won at Kyle Field in 2002 and in Lubbock in 2006, so it's not like Pinkel hasn't had success on the road against these teams.  And we've spanked Texas Tech the last 3 times we've played them, though that was against Mike Leach.  We have to have a minimum of 1-1 against these two teams, but I'll be bold and say we pull off a sweep of the Texas teams.  Neither will be easy, but both are winnable.

As for the other two, well...I don't like our chances.  Can we win them?  Oh absolutely.  Oklahoma has obviously looked very beatable so far this year, having won 3 of their 4 games by a TD or less and two of those were in Norman against teams definitely considered "lesser".  But they also opened a case of whoop ass against Florida State.  When OU travels to Mizzou, for Homecoming no less, I fully expect the Sooners to be beating the disrespect drum and for some reason I get the impression that OU just really doesn't like Mizzou so we're going to get their best effort.  And going to Lincoln?  In the last conceivable time we will face Nebraska for quite a long time?  In a game they basically know they have to win to win the North?  Against a team I'm CONFIDENT doesn't like Mizzou?  I don't like our chances.  1-1 is the BEST I will hope for against these two team, but we'll be 0-2.

So I will boldly predict 6-2 in the conference, putting us 10-2 overall, and the naysayers will quickly say "Yeah, but you didn't beat anybody."

3 - If I learned anything this past summer (and I'm not saying I did), it's that I need to relax, not worry about it, and see where we end up.  I feel confident that Missouri is an attractive enough package that we're not getting left behind in any kind of big realignment scenario.  I can't control anything, and my opinion couldn't matter less on this subject.  Ultimately, I still want to join the Big Ten.  I think that's our best fit, our best future, and I think it gives us the most opportunities financially, televisionally (COINED!) and athletically.  TCU to the Big East?  No.  No that won't happen.

So, uh...1.  I guess.

4 - Favorite Disney flick ever is The Lion King.  No question, no thought needed, I loved that movie the moment I saw it and I love it still today.  However, I also have a MAJOR soft spot for Miracle, which I don't think a lot realize is a Disney production.

Atch are you glad you're not in Los Angeles right now when they're experiencing record high temperatures since EVER?  I saw it was 113 degrees there yesterday, that's insane.

Bill C.: Two responses so far...

To Atch: "Sure, it would be a geographic disaster, but TCU already has a geographic disaster."

Honestly, you're right.  Hadn't really thought about the whole "they'll be adding Fresno to the mix" thing.  It just feels like Texas is further west than they are, I guess.

To Dave: "So I will boldly predict 6-2 in the conference, putting us 10-2 overall, and the naysayers will quickly say 'Yeah, but you didn't beat anybody.'"

Slight correction: the naysayers will quickly say "Yeah, but we didn't beat anybody."  Missouri fans are the biggest Missouri naysayers around.

ghtd36: Coming to you live from the home of the American League West Division Champions. Yes, prepare to hear that a lot.

Side note: I took the ghtd36gf to the Rangers-Mariners game (meaningless baseball!) as a date last night -- or, as she would likely characterize it, dumb time. On the way out, they handed fans bottles -- full sized bottles -- of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. Best giveaway, or bestest giveaway?

1- Missouri's defense and running game are better than we originally thought, and the offense is slightly worse than we originally thought. I'm confident that if Wes Kemp can get on a roll, he can become a legitimate deep threat for the team, but until then, you have to consider this an offense that isn't clicking as well as it could be. Also, Henry Josey is good at being a football player.

2- There's no excuse for the Beginning/End not to be 4-0; Colorado is only slightly better, KSU is the best of the bunch but comes to Columbia, Iowa State still isn't there yet, and Kansas lost to North Dakota State. The Bible Belt Death March is, as we all knew it would be, the crux. I'm liking Mizzou's chances better @TAMU and @Tech more than I did at the beginning of the season. I'm liking Mizzou's chances worse @Nebraska than I did. My feelings on the OU game remain about the same. I'm going to say 2-2 during that stretch, and when you factor in the Inevitable Slip Up Against A Team You're Better Than, that puts Mizzou at a relatively respectable 9-3.

3- Approximately a 2. TCU fans aren't going to like reading it, but I have to reiterate: what, exactly, is TCU's appeal to a major conference? They don't travel well. They don't sell out their own football stadium for a Top 5 team. Their basketball program brings very little to the table. TCU Baseball is a fine program, but we all know that conferences don't absorb schools for their baseball programs. So, what is it? The media market? Dallas isn't a TCU town; Fort Worth is. And picking up Fort Worth isn't some big coup, to be quite honest. I just don't get it.

4- To Atch's question, how about Flight of the Navigator? A great underrated 80s film. Paul Reubens as the ship's onboard computer? Hell and yes. COMPLIANCE. Also, Sarah Jessica Parker's in that movie, before she went all horse-face.

ZouDave: Shit, honestly that's what I meant.  "We".  But whatever, you're still absolutely correct.  A measurable portion of Mizzou fans will bitch up a storm if we're 10-2 with losses to OU and NU.

Let's say we do get to 10-2 like that.  NU obviously wins the North, I'm going to guess OU wins the South, so they face each other in the B12 Title Game.  Possibility one of them is undefeated and gets a shot at the whole thing?  Sure, but I doubt it.  Both have looked too inconsistent.  So they'll each have 1 or 2 losses as well, one of them wins and goes to the Fiesta Bowl.  The other loses, is sitting at 11-2 or 10-3.  Will that be enough for an at-large BCS bid or will that push them to the Cotton Bowl?  And now where's Texas?  I'm assuming that OU beats Texas this weekend, I just think it's going to happen.  I think Texas probably loses at least another conference game this year, so they're 9-3.  Mizzou is 10-2.  Is there ANY bowl game in the history of bowl games that doesn't take 9-3 Texas over 10-2 Mizzou?  No, no there's not.  The bowl game could be in St. Louis and they'd still take Texas.  Could that mean, in my hypothetical, we're looking at Holiday as our best bet (and that's if B12 gets 2 BCS bids and Texas goes Cotton)?  Would the Gator Bowl take Mizzou?  Or even at 10-2, are we slipping to the Alamo Bowl?  I forget the rule, but could bowls still take 8-4 teams over 10-2 Mizzou or would they HAVE to take us first?  Because honestly, as jaded as I am with the bowl selection process, I've already talked us down to the Gator or Alamo most likely even at 10-2.  If there's a 8-win aTm or Texas Tech sitting there, don't you think they probably get preference too?

I hate the Big 12 bowl selection process.

Bill C.: Actually, just to screw with us, the order of the bowl selections has changed this year...Holiday got a measurable bump down...

1. BCS (duh)
2. Cotton
3. Alamo
4. Insight
5. Holiday
6. Texas
7. Pinstripe
8. Dallas Football Classic

So in your scenario...

BCS = Nebraska or OU
BCS #2 (if) = Nebraska or OU
Cotton = Nebraska/OU or Texas
Insight = Hello, Mizzou.

ZouDave: 10-2 and playing in the friggin' Insight bowl against the 4th place Big Ten team.  Assuming OSU, Iowa and Penn State remain atop the Big Ten for the season, 4th place could be a battle between Michigan and Wisconsin.  I wouldn't care about playing Wisconsin, but Mizzou vs Michigan would be kinda fun.  Aldon Smith chasing Denard Robinson around the field would be entertaining.

Doug: I'm writing this from my new office! It's very exciting.

1 - That KU may be the biggest bi-polar team in the country. You would have hoped the win over Georgia Tech would have meant good things against Southern Miss, but no. Frankly, this first conference game against Baylor will probably tell us more than the first four non-con games. (I hope.)

2 - I think it totally depends on which K-State team shows up in Columbia, the one that beat UCLA, or the one that almost crapped the bed against Central Florida. A loss at home against the Wildcats could put the team in a bad place for the trip down to College Station, and the next two would be likely losses after that.

3 - If TCU joins the Big East, and all indications from them are that they would accept an offer, then it becomes a much easier sell, I think, for the Big 10 to offer Texas and, maybe, Oklahoma. It is kind of interesting to move from one part of the country that dealt with conference defection, to another part of the country that is starting to deal with it now as well. The Mountain West does have Boise State coming in next season, but there's a lot of concern that if TCU does bolt, the conference takes a hit losing the Dallas-Fort Worth market. In Albuquerque, the head coach is under a lot of fire at UNM, and if the school had any money to buy him out, I think they would, but they could be stuck with him until 2013.

4 - A schmaltzy sports story about a group of lovable under-dogs up against a powerful, nearly invincible opponent that blew them out earlier in the same film, and it's about hockey? How could that NOT be a Disney movie?

Oh, and I'll second the Lion King, probably the high-point of Disney animation. Then came Pocohantas... and the magic was over.

(30 minutes later...)

ghtd36: The owner of the Segway company dying by driving his Segway off a cliff is at least a little funny, right?

ZouDave: not as funny as your FACE!


ZouDave: So how's the ABQ treating you so far, Doug?  Have you eaten at Firehouse yet?  Their burritos will melt your face.  I also highly recommend Gardunos.

And I'm confused about your answer in #2.  You mention the possibility of us losing at home to KSU (assume you're talking about us, since you said Columbia and the question is about us).  But then you say if we lose to KSU and travel down to aTm...and I'd just be remiss if I didn't point out that we play @aTm on October 16 and home against KSU on November 13.


Michael Atchison: Got to leave for a while, so I’ll offer cats morphing into croissants in my absence:

ZouDave: Damn, now I'm hungry

RPT: Here's my delayed responses now that the internet is up and running at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center in Lawrence, Kan. And a shiny Stanley Nickel to anyone not named "Doug" that can correctly pronounce the facility's name.

1. I concur with everyone's thoughts about the development of the tailback position. The defensive progression and the improving cover skills of the defensive backfield is quite encouraging. But I think the thing that I haven't heard much about is the play of the offensive line. Here's to hoping that continues in Big 12 play.

2. I err on the side of caution. They'll drop one they aren't supposed to in the Beginning/End portion, and are staring down somewhere between 1-3 and 3-1 in the middle. Just like everyone else, I'll call it at 9-3, though on a continuum, I'd put them closer to 8-4 than I would 10-2.

3. As a fan of a team who struggles to fill the stadium for a team that was Top 5 as recently as 2008, I'm not sure I'm willing to condemn TCU, even though Greg's points stand.

4. Here's a fourth question: How about Tremendous Stubble?

ghtd36: Speaking of hungry...

That, friends, is a chocolate Pop Tart and bacon sandwich.

Doug: ABQ is interesting so far, though my interactions with the city have pretty much been limited to my apartment, WalMart and my new station. This weekend, I'll hit one of the first days of Balloon Fiesta. I'm hoping to see more of the town very soon, but so far, it's been pretty low-key for me.

To the second part, I was going off Bill's description of the schedule, which made it seem like MU played Colorado and K-State prior to aTm, so therefore, blame Bill.


ZouDave: Fair enough.... have blame on your hands.

Bill C.: Doug, if you're going to blame me for your own shortcomings, could you at least mail me a box of fresh-picked green chiles?

Doug: Absolutely not.

Bill C.: Ingrate.

Sent from my iPhone

ghtd36: Let it be known that Bill sent that from his iPhone. He is no doubt out doing AWESOME stuff right now, and doesn't have time for this LAME Roundtable on the AWESOME website that he helped start.

Bill C.: I think helping to prepare our youth to become great doctors one day is important, yes.

Sent from my iPhone

ZouDave: Choking on a hot dog and requiring an 11-year old girl to give you CPR is not the same as preparing youth to become a great doctor, Bill.

RPT: You don't want to know what that old trick did for Bill's prison nickname.

ghtd36: That joke was a stretch, RPT, and I'm someone who specializes in jokes that are a stretch.