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Rock M Roundtable!

1 - Conference season starts for basketball on Saturday.  What do you think your team's record will be in Big 12 play?  Assuming you think the best your team can do is win the conference, what record would you consider to be a disappointment?

2 -
Auburn or Oregon, and why?

3 - Stanford Band - Awesome or terrible? (Full question

4 -
New Years resolutions, have any?

The Beef: 1 – Without having seen too much of the rest of the conference, I like us to go somewhere around 12-4.  A split with kU would be great, and maybe kSU gets it figured out better by the time we play them in Manhattan.  I am guessing we lose one of the games between UT and aTm (know we play aTm on the road and pretty soon, so maybe we don’t have PPressey back by then) and then I guess one other one.

2 – I just have a feeling about Oregon.  I think people are sleeping on them a bit, but I like their defense better than Auburn’s.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I think Oregon is going to pitch a shutout or something, but considering this game may come down to one stop, I have more faith that Oregon can get it.

3 – Stanford band is awesome, and somewhat similar to the Yale Precision Marching Band which I have had the occasion to see a few times in my life.

4 – Not to make any resolutions.  I’ve done well with this one in the past few years, so I am sticking with it.

Bill C.: 1 - The way Missouri is playing, this feels like a 12-4 or 13-3 team ... but going 12-4 or 13-3 in this conference could be incredibly difficult (for teams not named Kansas, anyway).  Though I think that mark is possible, I think I'll be more than satisfied with 11-5 and 25-6 overall.  A 10-6 or 9-7 mark would keep us safely in the tournament, which is the ultimate goal, but that would certainly be at least a little disappointing.

2 - These two teams are really similar.  Both have explosive offenses that, when they get rolling, are simply ridiculous.  Meanwhile, both have defenses that give up yards and points but are great at making plays when you've begun to take chances because you can't stop their offense.  So to me, the only way I can determine who to favor is by looking at how tough their schedule has been and how consistent they have been.  In that regard, Auburn wins both categories.  Their slate was much, much tougher, and they played well, or at least above average, every single week.  Oregon very easily could have lost to Arizona State and Cal, and they might have lost to an average team the way they played against Washington State.  They can clearly still win this game, and since I've always liked them, I won't be heartbroken if I'm wrong ... but I've got to lean toward Auburn.

3 - I feel I've missed out, only having really learned about Stanford's band in the last couple of years.  It's like National Lampoon with brass.  Definitely awesome ... though I don't know if I'd always feel the same way if they were my school's band.

4 - Does "drink all the beer in my beer fridge" count?

Doug: 1 - I think with Texas coming to Lawrence, KU can realistically look at 13-3 in conference, maybe even 14-2. I think anything below 12 wins would be a disappointment for Kansas, but even that would probably mean a co-championship, so we'll say 11 or less means the wheels really fell off.

2 - The better defense, so Auburn. I think Oregon is the higher-powered offense, but people were starting to figure them out as the season went on. Yes, Auburn had to mount a furious comeback against Alabama, but they were able to make the second half surge by shutting the Tide out. Plus, Cam Newton looks like a legitimate pro quarterback, and Stanford proved one of those can be a big difference maker.

3 - I kind of torn. A lot of that stuff is great, but should we really celebrate the band that didn't know the rules of football despite playing at every home game since, basically, the 60's? Sure, they're zany and crazy, but c'mon, I'm pretty sure John Elway will hate them forever.

Although, any band will to take these kinds of shots at USC during a UCLA game... well... maybe I can change my mind.

4 - No more merciful be-headings. Less drinking before noon.

Doug: Another question for the peanut gallery: Ron Franklin was just fired by ESPN for his comments to Jeannine Edwards. I've long been of the opinion Franklin should have been let go several years ago. The game (both football and basketball) clearly passed him early in the 2000's. So, now that Franklin is out, who's the next ESPN play-by-play voice that needs to ride off into the sunset?

Even before Franklin, I would pick Bent Musburger. Every game he calls, I want to jab knives into my ears.

The Beef: Wow…I have a feeling you are about to cement your status as one of the most unpopular people on RMN

Not for nothing, but this was not the first time this has happened with "King" Ron, and I too agree that the game (especially football) was getting too fast for him.  I will say Brent has certainly lost a step, but he still paints a great picture and I think he knows he is a step slow on football, so the pairing with Herbstreit is not terrible.  While you may or may not like Herbstreit and what he has to say, he does a good job of following the action and bailing Brent out from time to time.

Bill C.: Brent is and King Ron was good-spirited on-air (Ron was apparently a bit less so off-air), and that goes a long way with me.  I still loved listening to Keith Jackson at the end, even though he had clearly become pretty iffy at his job.  I know what's going on in a given game, so just be pleasant and entertaining.  Lots of guys can do either (hell, Dave Lapham is pleasant), but few do both, and Brent is still mostly entertaining to me.

Doug: I like Herbstreit just fine. Honestly, my dislike for Musberger comes more from the basketball games he works with Bobby Knight. With the two of them sitting there in their sweaters, it can take only a few minutes of game time for the broadcast to turn into "Two Hours with Grumpy Old Men."

Yeah, I said it.

Bill C.: Well ... one grumpy old man.  I usually enjoy the 'curmudgeon vs happy grandpa' dynamic that Brent and Knight have ... though I will say it's a lot more enjoyable when I don't care about the result of the game they're doing.  I know why K-State fans are annoyed with Knight -- he is downright mean about KSU's offense half the time -- but in terms of simple dynamics, I tend to enjoy them together.

(Funny enough, I imagine that more Mizzou fans who read this will side with the KU guy on this one.)

Doug: The bigger issue with Knight is that I can tell you, within the first two minutes of game, what his primary color analysis will be for the REST of the game.

Whether it be free throws, the pick-and-roll, the high-low, defense of some sort; he latches on to a single topic and bleeds the over-loving life out of it by the under 4 timeout of the first half. But, he'll still keep going until the end of the game on that ONE topic.

Bill C.: I concede that point, yes.

Michael Atchison: 1.  I think 12-4 is the target.  9-7 would be a clear disappointment, and based on the way this team is playing right now, 10-6 would be a little disappointing, too.  But I think there’s more depth in the middle and bottom of this league than I did a couple of months ago.  A&M, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Nebraska and Colorado are all capable teams.  None of those teams will win it, but they might have a lot to say about who does.  It’s a tougher march through the conference than a lot of people think.

2.  Auburn is the sensible pick, but there’s something about Oregon that I really like.  I’m not sure it translates well to television, but when I was at the Mizzou-Oklahoma game, and when OU was effectively running its fast-break offense, it put a ton of pressure on the defense, and Oregon’s offense is way more dynamic than Oklahoma’s.  I know that there’s no way to simulate Cam Newton in practice, but at least he’s just one guy (well, he’s probably a guy-and-a-half). It’s not possible to simulate what the Ducks do.  Also, I know that the depth of the SEC allowed Auburn to prove itself over and over.  Oregon didn’t have that.  But they did drop the hammer on Stanford, and Stanford is really, really good.

3. I’ve not followed all of their antics, but I’ll weigh in on awesome.  College is a time for irreverence and pushing boundaries.  I love a well-organized prank, be it the Antlers in their glory days or the legendary conflict between Cal Tech and MIT.  More power to them.

4.  No resolutions, but the new year is always an impetus to try, even for a little while, to be a better man.  That typically wears off by Valentine’s Day.

As for the ESPN announcer thing, I’m rarely really bothered by any of them.  I’d like Dick Vitale to analyze the game he’s watching instead of whatever’s on his mind (and heeeere’s a shout out to Howard Garfinkel, who absolutely belongs in the hall of fame as a contributor for all the things he’s done for college basketball.  One of the best, B-E-S-T best.  Howard, love ya, baby!).  But Dickie V is an institution.

ZouDave: Good Lord...this Roundtable has already seen more action than last week's I think.

1 - I think anything under 10-6 will probably be disappointing to me.  The thing is, anything above 11-5 will be a nice surprise.  I'm picking us to go 11-5, and I think as long as we go 10-6 we're going to be in VERY good shape come Selection Sunday.

2 - Auburn, because they're more prepared for this size of a game.  Oregon has looked great all year, and they had to face some good teams in Stanford and USC, but there's a reason the SEC has won so many titles in a row right now.  The SEC prepares teams for big games, and if you make it out of the SEC undefeated it means you're really, really good.  I don't think Oregon's defense has a prayer of stopping Auburn's offense, which means Auburn's defense needs to come up with 2-3 stops in the game and it's probably game over.

3 - I haven't read enough about it to give an opinion.  Go, go, band geeks though.  Have fun with it.  The band will always take a back seat to the awesome tree mascot, though.  Especially when he gets arrested for being drunk like he did in 2007 or 2008.

4 - My New Year's Resolution is to break my New Year's Resolution.

RPT: 1. I think I concur with the 10-6 baseline. Nine wins would be disappointing, but not catastrophically so. Here's a fun game: Repeat those two previous sentences while imagining that it's the 2005-06 season.

2. I've flip flopped on this game more times than [insert politician you hate here]. Go Ducks, if only to see Bill pull his hair out and yell "WHY DO MY NUMBERS HATE YOU SO MUCH?!?!" at the television.

3. Awesomely terrible. It's one of those things you love until your school is in the crosshairs, at which point they're an abomination.

4. Have permanent employment by next January?

ghtd36: My little brother -- a freshman at Arkansas -- was at the Sugar Bowl last night. We even spotted him on TV on a couple of occasions. I can't help but compare our first bowl experiences. His was the 2011 Sugar Bowl; mine was the 2005 Independence Bowl. And even though the result was positive for me and negative for him, I, uh, think he wins.

1- Time to use the patented GHTD36 Almost Sure Win/Almost Sure Loss/Toss up Method!

Almost sure wins: @CU, NU, ISU, CU, OU, TTU, BU
Almost sure losses: @KU, @Texas
Tossups: @A&M, KState, @OkSt, @ISU, @KState, @NU, KU

Best case: 14-2
Worst case: 7-9
Reasonable expectation: 11-5 or 10-6

I'm probably being a touch pessimistic. I honestly believe Mizzou's good enough to win vs. K-State, @ISU, @OKSt and @Nebraska -- simply because they're better -- but I don't know that I'm willing to put it in the "Almost sure wins" column. Let's put it this way: if you told me you were from the future, and said that Mizzou went 12-4 (with losses @KU, @Texas, @KState and vs. KU), I'd believe it. If you told me that Mizzou went 9-7 (with losses @KU, @Texas, @KState, vs. KU, vs. KState, @A&M and a game they shouldn't lose like @Nebraska), I'd also believe it.

2- Atch pretty much stole my line on this one. The brain says that Auburn's offense is unstoppable, its defense is good enough, and it wins something like 44-21 in a relatively unexciting college football finale. But the gut keeps nagging about how Oregon has so many explosive weapons, how the defense has gone a bit under-appreciated all year, how Chip Kelly is a better coach than Gene Chizik. In the end, give me something like Auburn 31, Oregon 24.

3- Pass.

4- My new year's resolution is to read 20 books in 2011. I've long maintained that I simply don't have time to read for pleasure -- there's so many things wrong on the Internet, and they're not going to correct themselves! -- but I'm realizing that that's not true (and a cop-out). I've already finished two books (thanks in large part to beach reading time): Joe Posnanski's "The Soul of Baseball" and Richard Russo's "Empire Falls." Any recommendations from either fellow Roundtablers or from the residents of Blogfrica would, of course, be appreciated.

Bill C.: Screw that...the 2005 Indy Bowl was awesome.  And...Shreveport this time of year?  Magnifique!

(I guess that's how you spell "Magnifique")

RPT: Especially around this time last year, when Aggie fans literally drank a few of the casinos OUT OF ALCOHOL.

Michael Atchison: For Greg, I’m currently reading Keith Richards’s autobiography Life, and can highly recommend it.  Next, it’s on to George Dohrmann’s Play Their Hearts Out. The last book I finished was Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, which is an early 70s stoner-beach-detective-mystery story, which allows me to say I’ve read Pynchon without having to tackle Gravity’s Rainbow.  My boy Steve Rushin’s Pint Man came out last year, and is a breezy, warm and funny book about a boy a girl a bar and its urinals.  Also, read all of Michael Chabon’s books, and Nick Hornby’s first three.

Bill C.: The books after Hornby's first three are also probably worth it, though admittedly less so.

And after you're done with Richards' book, you can move on to Mick Jagger's book-sized letter in response to it.  It is awesome.  Bitter, with plenty of Jagger-esque arrogance, but very, very worth it.

ghtd36: Ah, Gravity's Rainbow. Its reputation -- very good, but insanely long -- precedes it. Depending on when I finish Book No. 19 -- like, if I have a month and a half to finish one book -- I might try to slay that dragon.

Michael Atchison: But be advised that Jagger didn’t actually write it.  Bill Wyman (the rock critic, not the former Stone) did.  It’s his fictional response.

That caused quite a lot of confusion upon release.  But still read it.  It’s great.

Bill C.: DAMMIT...I read it the day it came out and didn't hear any of the "it wasn't really him" talk.  Oh well, I guess.

So...Rich Rodriguez was fired after all. Who do they get?


The Beef: I am quite busy today…but I just wanted to tell you I hate you

ZouDave: Is there going to be a bidding war of sorts on Jim Harbaugh?  Is he the hottest name in coaching right now?  The NFL is going to want him, and bigger programs are probably going to try to steal him from Stanford.  Could Michigan do that?

Doug: Sadly, for Michigan, he's as likely a candidate as any.

Seriously, have you heard any name other than Harbaugh's attached to Michigan? And, Harbaugh either goes pro or stays with Stanford if Luck does (though that is a very slim possibility).

Michigan seems a lot like Notre Dame at the moment, though the Wolverines have more recent success. Who really wants to go there?

ghtd36: I've heard -- and this is all just speculation -- Brady Hoke's name attached to the Michigan job.

Doug: Well, isn't that the name on the tip of every Michigan fans' tongues right now?

That hire at Kansas probably would have thrilled me, at Michigan... it's like announcing Turner Gill's name in Lawrence.

ZouDave: I heard that as well.  That would be a great move for Hoke, I think.

The Beef: From what I understand (and know that I do have a good friend who is a Michigan alum and who is still fairly well connected), Harbaugh is who they want, but Harbaugh does not appear to want them.  I can envision the perceived "delay" in the Michigan AD meeting with Rich Rod was to allow Harbaugh to complete his season at Stanford and test the waters without actually offering.  Michigan got pretty embarrassed last time when getting spurned by Miles and Schiano of Rutgers before getting to Rich Rod.  I don’t think they want to lose face again if Harbaugh…who played there…and whose father coached there, were to officially turn them down.  Hoke, while not having played there, did coach there under Lloyd Carr (who is still held in very high respect), and it appears he is the next most likely name.  Beyond that…who knows…but I don’t think they get past Hoke.

ghtd36: Yep. With all due respect to San Diego State, if you can make that jump to Michigan, you do.