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VISITING LECTURER: ROCK M NATION ON MISSOURI

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Teams: there are a lot of them. In our effort to bring you the finest "bullshit" coverage of college football, our Visiting Lecturer Series today welcomes the boys from Rock M Nation, SBN's fine Missouri blog. They slang it like Chase Daniels delivering pizzas or footballs, since we all know he is really a 35 year old pizza deliveryman moonlighting as a brilliant spread qb.

One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:

Well, if you happen to take a gander at this scoreboard, it might be easy to assume that Mizzou's 2008 season could be construed as a certain shade of orange. But after what many perceived to be a golden season last year, that hue has started to fade as the fan base turns their attention to business in 2008. This year, it's all about black and white. 12 wins were a thing of beauty for a fan base in desperate need of some success and some national spotlight, but this year, expectations are set. Win the Big 12 and be a player on the national stage - no shades of grey. And, if you want to take it out of context and use another form of black and white, who am I to judge?

Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?

Missouri: smoking, full of potential.

This was a tough one, but I'll stick by present day Emerging China. Both China and the Missouri football team are having to get a feel for new found power and respect, and a lot of eyes are focused their way waiting to see how they conduct their business. In addition, no one is quite sure what to expect from them in the future.

Case in point:

"Anyone who gives a straight-line prediction about where China will be in 20 years is making it up." -- Heritage.org

Anyone who can give you a prediction on where the Mizzou football program will be in 20 years is hitting a Missouri pride point a little too hard. Plus, if Missouri is going to emerge, it wants to do it with the borders sealed, monopolizing on its own people (especially since Missouri lacks a major D1 school in-state with which to compete).

Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.

Everyone should know the names Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, and William Moore. All three are popping up on All-American lists across publications and Web sites everywhere. All three are important, and losing any of the three could be a devastating blow.

Note: all three are UNLEASHED!--ed.

But other, under-the-radar names could tell the story of the season. Center Tim Barnes takes over for a position that has seen only three starters in the last 12 years. LB Sean Weatherspoon must fill in a defensive leadership gap left by the departures of DT Lorenzo Williams and S Pig Brown.

Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.

Aug. 30, vs. Illinois (in St. Louis) - The season opener is set for ESPN and brings national exposure to a matchup of two teams who stole some spotlight from the rest of the country last year. Missouri dominated the early part of the game last year before Rashard Mendenhall's angry running and Eddie McGee's relief effort at QB had Missouri fans (accustomed. to. heartache.) fearing the worst. This season, if Missouri's at full throttle, it shouldn't require a last minute interception for Mizzou to leave STL at 1-0.

Oct. 18, at Texas - If Mizzou takes care of business in St. Louis, exorcises demons in Lincoln against Nebraska, and avoids a home trap against OSU, the Tigers will be heading to Austin for their marquee matchup of the season. Mack, Colt, and crew will be coming off the Red River Shootout, and will either be on an extreme high or be extremely pissed off, neither of which could be good for Mizzou. Last year, Missouri hung tough with Oklahoma in Norman, which was a "moral victory" (if you believe in that type of thing) at the time. This season, hanging tough won't cut it. The 'Horns are Missouri's biggest threat to running the table throughout the regular season.

Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game we're better off NOT watching.

Sept. 6, vs. Southeast Missouri State - I'm going to pretend like this game never happened. I welcome you to do the same.

Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?

Oddly enough, the biggest complaint you'll hear out of Missouri's circles is the major questions about, (dramatic pause....), the punting situation (GASP!). Departed Adam Crossett, at times, showed that he had a cannon of a leg but the accuracy of a spray bottle. The job seems wide open heading into the fall, and don't be too surprised if Pinkel goes all "Mike Leach" by trusting his efficient offense more than he trusts his punter.

In addition, Missouri lacks the water from the River Styx, which would be extremely useful given the Tigers penchant for injury so far during the offseason (WR Danario Alexander, LB Sean Weatherspoon, LB Van Alexander).

Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, we're serious–do it.

Unequivocally, it's "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude," although the metaphor is slightly different. Missouri has never been at the latitude at which it currently stands. Mizzou is supposed to be the hunters, not the hunted. But the attitudes in the program and in the fan base are shifting. All of this is mounting on a fan base that, like I noted earlier, is nowhere near immune to sudden despair. When it comes to Missouri's storied history of disappointment, "if we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."

"These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane"

Seven: We're master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.

I'll bet you $10 bucks that you can't watch Jeremy "Percy Harvin of the Midwest" Maclin for an entire season and not develop a serious mancrush. Unless, of course, you hate speed. In which case, you can get the hell out of my country. If you don't like America, then you can git out!

The Library of Congress has no comment on the state of Missouri due to a long-running spat between the state and our nation's information repository over a prized copy of a Laura Ingalls Wilder sex lithograph. We, however, recommend that if you want to learn more about Missouri, you check out Rock M Nation.