1. Les Miles is gone. Whether or not you agree with the move, it's objectively sad to lose such an entertaining, unpredictable coach. Before we get into the game preview, let's reminisce a bit. What's your favorite Les Miles moment from his LSU tenure?
Josh Matejka - Every time Les Miles ate grass was my single favorite moment of his tenure. But if I had to choose, I'll take the 2014 Alabama game. How awful would it be to eat grass and then lose to your rival in OT?
Sam Snelling - Les was refreshing for being off the wall and unique amongst a group of peers often paranoid and boring. So I'll just say anytime Les took the mic in a press conference it was far more interesting and fun than most coaches.
Chris Bohkay - Les Miles appeared to be a lot of fun to cover because he seemed to not take this whole college football thing so seriously. But specifics, I guess that time Johnny Jones outlasted him, because that's what should obviously have happened. LSU, you are so dumb!
Jack Peglow - There are so many to choose from, but I think the clear winner has to be Les' hoisting of the crystal ball in 2007. He led a two-loss LSU team that lost to Kentucky to a national damn championship. I will forever love him for that.
Oscar Gamble - Faking a field goal against Florida. Again.
TheRonDavis - I've heard stories about Miles eating grass, but I haven't seen it until I looked it up. The fake field goal where the holder flipped the ball to the kicker always stuck out to me.
switzy227 - The grass. Just too iconic.
dcrockett17 - Les Miles is a singularity; an uncaused cause. As such, his tenure cannot be disaggregated into a collection of moments. "Les Miles" is a fundamental element; a thing that cannot be further deciphered. He (it) exists outside of traditional Manichean categories like reactionary and revolutionary, right and wrong, time and space. Or, perhaps it would be more apt to say that "Les Miles" collapses these dichotomies. To truly contemplate his one-man insurgency against clock management and the forward pass would be to go mad.
AlaTiger - The ongoing contradiction of conservative offense, poor cock management, and truly surprising trick plays.
PBoggs - Miles' reaction when asked at a presser what it's like to be interviewed by Erin Andrews.
jaeger - My favorite is the weirdo fake field goal where the place holder blindly tossed the ball backwards over hi shead, then the kicker caught it on the bounce and ran it in for a TD.
2. Death Valley is arguably one of the toughest places to win as a visiting team. If the Tigers want to bring home the W, they're going to need to tap into some bayou voodoo. What do you think MIzzou needs to do to win this game - both on the field and off?
Matejka - Are any of our guys a trained shaman? Perhaps a witch doctor in their spare time? ... I'll do some reading.
Snelling - Score early, get ahead and attack on defense, force LSU to throw a lot and hopefully Fournette doesn't crush somebody on the way to the endzone. Off the field, don't breathe in too deep. Baton Rouge has a scent to it.
Bohkay - On the field, score early and get a turnover to take the crowd out of the game a little bit; then don't follow that up with 17 of your own. Off the field, organize a large fan-boat tour for the LSU team, and have them accidentally not get to the game on time because their bus' tailpipes are full of bananas - just like Axel Foley did. Damon Wayans cameo, notice it!
Peglow - Prior to the game, it probably wouldn't hurt to pay the local witch doctor a visit. Maybe pick up a few talismans and whatnot to combat the otherworldly forces that Ed Orgeron gains access to whenever he becomes an interim head coach. Once they start playing the game, it's of the utmost importance that Mizzou strike first. I know this is becoming a common theme, but getting out ahead of LSU really puts their offense in a tough spot. Plus, I trust the defense a handicapped LSU offense. I don't think the Missouri unit is a good defensively as Wisconsin's, but I do think they could have similar success if LSU has to play from behind.
Gamble - On the field: limit Drew Lock turnovers. Off the field: show up.
TheRonDavis - Mizzou needs to play very mean. Set the tone that it's not intimidated by Death Valley. That will go a long way, considering it'll be a low scoring game, at least in my humble opinion.
switzy227 - Stay focused, win third downs, don't abandon either run or pass. (aka, template for every game ever)
dcrockett17 - Where I've seen LSU beat teams, even with a sub-par offense, is to wear them down on special teams. That's often where their athleticism advantage really shows up; it's in the athletes they ahve who don't even get regular snaps coming in an dominating your athletes who don't get regular snaps. Their defense rarely lets a game get away, and then they get a big play late on special teams that flips the field and/or makes the opponent march the whole field. If you're Mizzou, you run your stuff on offense. It'll either work or it won't. I feel like the defense is generally good to go. Where the team has to "do" something is on special teams. I don't know what that is. I just think to win, holding onto the ball isn't gonna be enough. That has to be a given. But, Mizzou is also gonna have to find a way to keep LSU from doing what it so often does in these situations, which is dominating field position.
AlaTiger - Mizzou must pass the ball successfully and do enough with running, screens, etc. to keep the passing game going. Hopefully the experience limiting Chubb will help with limiting Fournette/Guice.
PBoggs - I'm going to assume this will be a tight game, because that's what every LSU team likes to do. They will bring you to the fourth quarter and beat you in the last minutes of the game based on their size and talent. Unless the score gets out of hand from either side, this will show how well Odom can prepare the team to finish a game. So it's really all about finishing.
jaeger - Leonard Fournette voodoo doll? Distract Orgeron with delicious Cajun food? Anything and everything helps.
3. Leonard Fournette is an incredible athlete that might end up being an equally incredible running back in the NFL. Missouri has faced its fair share of players who went on to have great professional success. Who would you say is the best of the bunch?
Matejka - He might not be the absolute best, but one guy whose impact against Mizzou never left me is Ndamukong Suh. He's an absolute monster, and that showed in the Nebraska games back in Mizzou's recent hey-day.
Snelling - Joe Montana, 1978. Missouri won that game, btw.
Bohkay - Not the best player by any means, but Andy Katzenmoyer knocked Corby Jones into the Newmanium, or Kramanium. Whichever you prefer. Just make sure to have enough ice and balloons.
Peglow - Well, I would've said Adrian Peterson had he not broken his collarbone prior to Oklahoma's game against Mizzou that year. Joe Montana is a good choice, but he isn't the most satisfying answer to this question. That would be - of course - Aqib Talib, starting cornerback for the Kansas Jayhawks. He's turned out to be a wonderful player in the NFL, but he couldn't stop Chase Daniel from torching his team for 361 yards and three touchdowns in the biggest football game of his career at the time.
Gamble - Michael Jordan.
TheRonDavis - I'm sure there were countless numbers of incredible athletes who came through and played Missouri, but I only want to speak to what I've witnessed since I got to Mizzou in 2013. Jadeveon Clowney was an absolute freak and wound up going No. 1 overall in 2014, but he wasn't in dominating fashion against Missouri. I had high hopes for Johnny Football, but he certainly didn't have his best game in Columbia. The best individual performance was Tre Mason in the SEC Championship, but for the sake of the questions, I'll go with Clowney for what he's doing in the NFL now and what he'll eventually become.
switzy227 - Recency/very sleepy bias, but when not a dirt-bag, Suh has been very good in the league.
dcrockett17 - The best player I saw live was Andre Ware in the early 90s, the Houston run n' shoot QB. People forget how good that guy was. He was better than all those big names at Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, etc. Obviously, he didn't have much of a pro career. They had no idea how to transition a guy from a shotgun, single-read system to a pro-style. That, and Cincinnati. As for top RBs, I'd have to give it to Gurley. Overall though, in terms of recent players, I'd say the most talented was Jadeveon Clowney. (We did a very good job on him in the prime-timegame) People are panning him, but underestimate how much he had to learn about how to play the game. He had an NFL body in high school, and "first-world problem" though that is, he just never really got coached up on technique. We've always seen flashes, but those flashes are becoming more frequent.
AlaTiger - Hard to argue with Joe Montana.
PBoggs - Todd Reesing.
jaeger - Best now or highest ceiling? Harris is the best NFL prospect at the moment, but Lock is closing in fast.