Missouri Talking Points Walkthrough
The Tigers are one week into the season, one singleton game against a supposedly overmatched opponent. Sixty minutes of football, about fifty of them featuring players relevant to the 2017 season. Fans hoped to observe some unimpeachable facts about their team: that a cornerback is Stepping Up, that Drew Lock is taking The Next Step, that Damarea Crockett is Mean, Nasty, and Chiseled. That the kicking game would be Solved and the linebacking Stout and the pass rush Ferocious and the offensive line Impenetrable.
But the syllabus handed to us was lacking for small lessons and instead had one thesis: the offense is extraordinary, and the defense stinks. It would behoove you -- and your emotional stability for four hours over the next eleven Saturdays -- to commit this lesson to heart. This is it. This is the team: strikes and gutters, ups and downs.
The offense will be incredible, good enough to win many games single handedly; they will be explosive, and versatile, and entertaining. The defense will be pliable and generous. There are no immediate fixes or schematic overhauls. This is our truth, and as fans we must adjust our short-term expectations accordingly.
I would urge you to remember this lesson, as you watch a talented South Carolina offense succeed repeatedly at their stated mission, as Rico Dowdle and Deebo Samuel and Hayden Hurst stroll -- touched or un- -- into paydirt. Strikes and gutters, ups and downs.
For every Jake Bentley pass and Kamryn Pettway run and Antonio Calloway catch, Missouri will have an answer. The skill position players are explosive, the quarterbacking is excellent, and the schemes are breathtaking. The Missouri offense is an absolute treat.
You can choose to be mad online about every linebacker out of position, every whiffed tackle, and every third down converted. Or you can accept this current reality yet demand a long-term fix, maintaining a healthy enough headspace to appreciate an offense on the sport’s cutting edge.
I will choose the latter. Like The Dude, I will abide.
Keegs’ Poll Top 5 Games Of the Week
- Auburn at Clemson, 7 PM ET, ESPN - An absolutely loaded evening slate gets underway with a bang, a rematch of a 19-13 slugfest of a Clemson victory. Last season’s tilt did not have Jarrett Stidham or Kamryn Pettway, but did have a whole lot of Deshaun Watson. So things were different. One thing that is the same: both teams have some of the sport’s most ferocious defensive line talent. This has the makings of a classic.
- Oklahoma at Ohio State, 7:30 PM ET, ABC - I’m bumping down this top-5 matchup of two brand-name programs because, well, because these are my rankings and I can do what I want. You’re not my real mom anyway. Oklahoma is excellent in a way that is undeniable but somewhat boring, and Ohio State is in danger of evolving into that style team as well. Flashy young wide receiver Parris Campbell is a tonic for your great-but-boring ailments; take the medicine.
3. Stanford at USC, 8:30 PM ET, FOX - Stanford is back with their usual assortment of agile beef, and USC has superstars Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones in the backfield. This is a potential conference championship game in Week 2, and maybe the third best game of the timeslot. What did we do to deserve such riches?
4. TCU at Arkansas, 3:30 ET, CBS - The most compelling matchup of a dreadful mid-afternoon docket, unless you really enjoy watching Alabama’s backups. I feel like I am familiar with a lot of players on both teams, but nothing about the actual teams, you know? Bret Bielema has supplanted Les Miles as the SEC’s reigning king of guaranteed chaos.
5. South Carolina at Missouri, 7:00 PM ET, SEC Network - Whoa! Let’s do it! Drew Lock! Jake Bentley! The Show-Me Shootout!
Far be it from me or any author in these electronic pages to discourage you from watching any college football; that is certainly not my intent. However: if you are a college football junkie in need of a fourteen hour fix, but also perhaps interested in prioritizing, or performing some adult obligations, or potentially earning brownie points with a romantically interested party, or even just not completely alienating a significant other, you might find yourself in a bit of capital-P Pickle every fall Saturday.
Dear reader, I must confess that I have no such obligations, and my current prioritizing is deciding if my Saturday takeout order should be pad see ew or panang curry. Thus, in the name of service journalism for the Rock M community, I have scoured Saturday’s schedule and would like to proclaim Week 2’s noon slate as: entirely skippable.
Ditch that joint, man. Do you have errands? A wedding caterer to meet? The mythical “lawn work,” something I am told about in commercials but as a New York City resident have no understanding of? Coaching, transporting, or watching youth athletics? Literally anything else that does not involve sitting on the couch with a remote control and Thai food? Do those things. Because the noon slate is rough, and our night games are delectable. The night games are *Italian chef finger kiss* good.
You may protest that some ranked teams are playing at noon: Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas State among others. These are some of our sport’s most snoozable superpowers. Skip ‘em. But the superstars, you say: Lamar Jackson! Quinton Flowers! Shea Patterson! Entertaining players all, and you should allow them to command your television sets during more compelling matchups.
Leave this noon slate to the completists, and enjoy the first half of your day. Saturday night gets rowdy.