Wednesday, August 13, 2008
(Warning this post will not follow the traditional format and will be filled with blatant homer bias)
Missouri (as a state) is starting to develop home grown talent
(With the help of other states)
They're in contention for the Fulmer cup
They have a Heisman Trophy candidate
They have an excellent blog
And evidently an anthem...
Clearly Mizzou is on the rise.
I stated earlier that this is a semi homer addition simply because I grew up in the show me state and I've been on the ZOU bandwagon since the Corby Jones, Brock Olivo days. However, it is strange to think about Mizzou's rise into the elite level of college football. Specifically, games such as this haunt fans to this day. The 1997 game is a microcosm of Missouri football lore which is the inability to achieve a defining moment/season in the program's history.
Last year is a perfect example of this. Yeah they beat Illinois( in a surprisingly significant game) Yeah they beat the Cornfuckers. Yeah they beat the Gayhawks to win the Big 12 North. But the two losses to Oklahoma still leaves the Missouri faithful wondering what if? (What's more is they got completely fucked by the BCS)
I suppose like most upper mid level teams, the citizens of Missouri have always proclaimed that the program was destined to become an elite status. Unlike other programs, however, Missouri's argument actually makes sense. The high school talent that comes from the state is fairly respectable. Admittedly it's nowhere near the level of California, Florida, Ohio, PA, Etc. but Mizzou is the only show in town. They could and should have a f-ing monopoly on Missouri football talent. However, for years and years the in state talent went to the likes of Nebraska and Oklahoma. Gary Pinkel seems to be changing the SOP and is becoming quite effective in locking down the borders while showing an ability to bring in out of state talent, specifically from the People's Republic of Texas.
Another factor leading to Missouri's arrival is the team's identity. X'&O's aside, Dave Christiansen's offense has given the tigers an identity and swagger. I'm really big on DC not just because he has a great grasp of the game and a kick-ass system, but he seems like a pretty cool dude(looks like him too) and not one of those ego-driven d-bag coaches that are all too common today. (It will be vital for the Zou to hold on to him as long as possible) Couple the Dude's offense with a defense that should be more than adequate. Which brings me to the point of this whole post... this season.
Everyone knows Chase Daniels is back along with the young Jeremy Maclin. The defense returns 8 starters. The Tigers will be good. The question is how good? I feel like the schedule for the Tigers is the most important factor of their season. They open with Illinois is the STL in what should be a highly publicized, yet easy win for Mizzou. They must Travel to Nebraska (I never underestimate Nebraska) on OCT. 4th and take on the Oklahoma State Boone-Pickens the following week. However, on Oct 18th they travel to Austin Texas which could be a groundbreaking game for the team, the program, and the state. Obviously, it will be an emotional homecoming for Daniels who was snubbed by the Horns, but it will also be an important measuring stick for the program. If (and thats a big if in my mind) the Tigers can go into Austin against an established Big 12 power and come out with a win it will solidify the Tiger's status as an elite team. As a homer this game worries me simply because I really can't imagine the Tiger's as a legitimate NC contender for two years in a row. I'm wishing, hoping and dreaming that this can be accomplished, but I guess the show me nature of the state has the best of me. Regardless of the game in Austin, the Tigers should win the North Division and hope they don't play Oklahoma in the championship game.
In years past the Tiger faithful have screamed Big 12 North or bust. This year the rallying cry is BCS or bust... Which is nice.
...Oh yeah they play these guys.
Posted by Steve Lattimer at 2:28 PM