When Gary Pinkel arrived at Missouri, he shook up the Big 12 North by being the only head coach to wear a visor in December. The resulting brain freeze explained his 13-17 record at Missouri in games played after November 1st. It’s cold up there, Gary. He turned the corner against Kansas by slicing open Mark Mangino like a tauntaun and climbing inside his ample abdomen to stay warm. It worked. They won the North, but he still couldn’t beat Oklahoma in two tries.
He's now part of Mack Brown's Facebook Mafia.
It all starts for Missouri on offense. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen has been with Pinkel for over 15 years. Perhaps because the relationship got stale, Christensen installed the spread offense three years ago. It was the relationship equivalent of getting a boob job. Now Pinkel loves to come to work though he hardly looks Christensen in the eye anymore.
Quarterback Chase Daniel is one of the best in the country. He’s also at least 36 years old and no taller than 5'6". How do I know this? Because I checked out his profile on IMDB. Duh. He’s a street baller at heart (watch the The Wonder Year’s opening credits) who gets the most out of his limited physical skills. Unless you watch Nick at Nite, you won’t be seeing Daniel on tv after this season.
Daniel only had 10 picks last year.
Missouri does want to run the ball. They're quite open about it. In fact, that's exactly how they say it. 'Missouri does want to run the ball.' Missouri coaches and players frequently refer to themselves in the third party. Like 'Gary Pinkel is hungry,' or 'Chase Daniel is getting on this roller coaster.' Will they miss running back Tony Temple? In a word, no. Granted he was one of the few tailbacks who could actually hide behind Daniel, but he was oft injured and never had a breakout season. The Cotton Bowl game against Arkansas was a statistical outlier. Look for Missouri to split carries between senior Jimmy Jackson and sophomore Derrick Washington. Good rule of thumb. If you're looking for a tailback, don't go past the $20.
Jeremy Maclin is the best all around player in the country not named Percy Harvin. He’s a witch who accounted for almost 2,800 total yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Danario Alexander and Tommy Saunders return as the X and Z receivers, so named because that’s where they are alphabetically on Daniel’s progression of reads. They're a lot better than Kevin Arnold and Paul Pfeiffer though. Tight end Chase Coffman is one of the best in the Big 12 and will catch more balls than a mousetrap on Clay Aiken's chin. They’re able to put him in the slot where he causes matchup problems, both receiving and blocking. The graduation of Martin Rucker will hurt them though in the two tight end set because their number two played Chrissy Seaver on Growing Pains.
The offensive line is made up of four guys 6’5" 305 and one 6’8" giant at right tackle. Christensen is also the line coach, and the spread puts more pasty white dudes in position to succeed than Groton. The problem is that they don't have any depth outside of a bunch of freshmen. Austin Wuebbels is the most promising among them because of his ability to wobble without falling down.
The Missouri defense is…well, not quite really good…um…how about pretty good? That’ll do. Missouri needs to take the next step. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has a saying, ‘Don’t show me the pain, show me the baby.' In the past this led to more abortions than the Serbian takeover of Bosnia. They have some very good individual players among their ten returning starters, but unlike say Kansas, they’re not much better than the sum of their parts. Think of them as the Audioslave of Big 12 defenses.
Their best parts are on the defensive line. Ziggy Hood is a featureless mass at defensive tackle who finds humor in the mundane. Such as the tackle Missouri coaches will line up alongside him. Defensive end is Tommy Chavis from West Orange Stark. At the very least you know he can probably run. Dudes from that place generally can. His fellow defensive end Stryker Sulak of Rockdale is four popped collars cool. Check out his picture, ladies. Yeah, that's Drakkar Noir you smell.
Sean Weatherspoon is the best linebacker in the Big 12. He’s an honor student from Jasper that Texas passed on. To be fair, being an honor student at Jasper usually just means that you understand your Miranda rights well enough to waive them. But Weatherspoon is a legit talent and quality kid who will play in the NFL. He’s joined by two white guys named Brock and Van, both senior returning starters. Their mothers drive minivans with their respective son’s name and 'Missouri Football' on a sticker on the rear window.
William Moore from Hayti, Missouri is the best player on the defense. The team trainer has to blow scopolamine in Moore’s face before each game to control him, but he still led the nation with 8 interceptions. An NFL paycheck is in his future. He missed the spring after injuring himself in a necklacing incident, but you can’t keep a fucking zombie from playing. You just can’t. Cornerback Carl Gettis might be a future star at the position, and he’s paired with Castine Bridges. Both have good size. Bridges and strong safety Justin Garrett are both seniors.
Missouri has the talent and experience, and they finally won their division. Oklahoma isn’t on the schedule, and they get both Illinois and Kansas at neutral sites. The North championship goes in streaks. First Nebraska dominated, then Kansas State and then Colorado had their run. Now it’s Missouri’s time. Anything less than a North championship will be considered a disappointment.
But can they win Big 12?
I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.
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