Big XII Preview – Mizzou

Boring. Ask five people to name the schools in the Big XII, and Missouri will be the one that at least three of them struggle to remember exists. Everyone remembers Iowa State and Baylor because they are so lame, but Missouri is just Missouri, a school that is in Missouri, a state whose best city is named after Kansas.

On the football field, Missouri had a fine season last year. They lost only to Oklahoma and steamrolled a mediocre Arkansas team in the Cotton Bowl. But, they had to play Oklahoma twice and those two losses killed any chance they had to get into a BCS Bowl. In fact, gulp, the Big XII game of the year was probably when Missouri faced off against Kansas, a fact which caused a lot of real football fans to throw up on their couches and not even clean it up. Why were two basketball schools playing a meaningful football game?

Deathburger predicts a solid season once again for Mizzou, with a 10-2 regular season record with both losses coming in the conference, which will be good enough for a second place finish in the north. They’ll miss on a BCS Bowl and will be ignored by the Cotton Bowl since they played there last year. It looks like Holiday or Alamo time this season for the Tigers.

Missouri (and Kansas as well, but we’ll look at them in a few weeks) figured something out. They could come into Texas and out recruit TCU for Texans. They currently have almost twenty Texans on their roster and are looking to add more. They developed the TCU model of recruiting the best athletes off of smaller high schools and just throwing them on the field and letting their speed take over. The rise of Mizzou and Kansas will be the end of TCU beating Big XII teams because TCU cannot compete with Mizzou one on one for athletes. Mizzou will win every time.

Usually, a college football team will assume the identity of its head coach. That’s not the case at Mizzou. Gary Pinkel has no image except that he came from Toledo. The team runs a spread type offense with poster boy Chase Daniel slinging around the pigskin and a host of running backs hoping to get the ball on the zone read. Tony Temple is gone after racking up impressive yardage and fumble numbers in a bizarre career. The offense returns six or so starters and should remain potent for Daniel’s senior campaign. Sophomer Jeremy Macklin will be an all conference wide receiver. The defense returns nine starters and should be improved. This defense wasn’t great last year, but it was good enough to beat everyone on the schedule except Oklahoma. Mizzou had big leads in most games and the defense was able to key strictly on the passing game. They held Texas Tech to 10 points.

Mizzou is a school similar to Colorado in that it is very liberal. Unlike Colorado, you have to think Mizzou does fit into the Big XII because where else would they go? I doubt the Big 11 would be interested, they don’t fit in the SEC, so if the Big XII goes belly up they would have to form a new conference with the remaining Big XII teams and raid the MAC or Conference USA for a few teams. They have a fairly large but rarely sold out football stadium and Melvin Watkins has been seen recently on their campus. Their most famous basketball game was a loss to UCLA. Their mascot looks like he has digestive problems.

The schedule is probably the easiest in the Big XII. The only non-conference threat is Illinois in St. Louis. Buffalo, Nevada, and Southeast Missouri State shouldn’t present a challenge. They get Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma State from the south, and they have to travel to Austin and Waco. Their other road games are at a poor Nebraska team and at Iowa State. They finish the year against Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium. They avoid Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma this year. If they’d had this schedule last year they probably would have gone to a BCS bowl.

In summary, Missouri looks like a nice little football team. They have some weapons on offense, and their defense should be a lot better. They stock their roster with Texans and their biggest rival is Kansas.

Mizzou Notes – Tennessee Williams, a gay playwright, is among the most famous Mizzou alums, along with Brad Pitt and Sheryl Crow. Columbia, Missouri has a population of just under 100,000 residents. The south end zone of Faurot will not see any major expansions since it is too close to the water table. Chase Daniel was seen picking his nose on the sidelines in a televised game.

Missouri’s Alma Mater:

First Verse
Old Missouri, fair Missouri
Dear old Varsity.
Ours are hearts that fondly love thee
Here’s a health to thee.
Proud art thou in classic beauty
Of thy noble past
With thy watch words: honour, duty,
Thy high fame shall last!
Second verse
Every student, man and maiden
Swells the glad refrain.
‘Till the breezes, music laden
Waft it back again.
Proud art thou in classic beauty
Of thy noble past
With thy watch words honour, duty,
Thy high fame shall last!





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