Sunday, October 01, 2006

I've been procrastinating on my prognosticating

Since Mizzou is 5-0 for the first time in my lifetime, I thought I'd actually pitch in on here for the first time as well. And now that I'm 2-for-2 in correctly predicting Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive (Erica can vouch for this), I'll follow the directives of the omnipresent Winstar billboards and strike again while my luck is still hot. Here we go:

Scenario 1: Best, albeit unrealistic, case
Mizzou is for real — the nonconference schedule was just the right balance of cupcake self-esteem boostery and legitimate challenge, and they're primed to tear through the season. Plus, they get lucky whenever they need to.
@ Texas Tech Having studied the TCU game tapes, Mizzou's defense shuts down Tech's high-flying offense, and Chase Daniel doesn't make any mistakes. Mizzou wins by a touchdown or two.
@ Texas A&M Plain and simple: A&M sucks. Even in College Station, this isn't even a contest. Mizzou handily.
vs. Kansas State The Wildcats always give Mizzou a good game, which this might be in Manhattan. But this one's in CoMo. Mizzou in a rout.
vs. Oklahoma One of those games where everything falls Mizzou's way — a tipped ball here, a gust of wind there, maybe even a well-timed fluke injury. Home-field advantage helps too. Mizzou squeaks by on sheer luck.
@ Nebraska Sure, the Huskers romped the
Little Sisters of the Blind, but they haven't looked so powerful against respectable programs. All the same, Lincoln's never an easy place to play. Mizzou wins, but it's close.
@ Iowa State They're just not very good. Mizzou wins easily.
vs. Kansas This game can never be taken for granted, but in a miracle of miracles, Gary Pinkel makes his players forget that they have "Mizzou" on their jerseys, and they a) continue working hard despite having the division title already clinched and b) ignore the constant media attention that they're getting as an undefeated team. No one can stop their momentum.
Big 12 Championship Except Texas, that is. (Sorry, I have to make this a tad believable.)
Bowl game The four at-large BCS berths go to the Michigan/OSU loser, Notre Dame, Boise State (guaranteed by finishing with a better record than the ACC champ) ... and Mizzou. (It helps that the SEC powers all beat up on one another.) With the Pac-10 and Big 10 champs in the Championship, the Rose Bowl has two spots to fill, and they take the Michigan/OSU loser and Mizzou. Tigers put up a good fight, but they're simply outplayed.
Final record 12-2, and the stretch of Stadium Boulevard from Carrie Francke Drive to College Avenue is renamed Pinkel Parkway.

That was fun, wasn't it? But bringing it back at least into the troposphere, if not all the way down to Earth...

Scenario 2: Optimistic, but realistic
The Tigers prove that the 5-0 start was no fluke, and the could-go-either-way games go their way. But they're still not yet to that upper echelon.
@ Tech Tech is beatable, and though it's close, Mizzou beats 'em.
@ A&M Aggies make it a game, but they can't sustain the effort. Their fans are actually happy about the loss, since it's another nail for Franchione's coffin.
vs. K-State K-State's having a rebuilding year, to describe a lose-to-Baylor year nicely. Plus, Mizzou's relishing the chance to turn the annual thümpinwümpin on its head. A solid win.
vs. Oklahoma Home-field helps make it close, but Mizzou's offense isn't quite polished enough to compete with the big boys. Plus, the pressure of being 8-0 is a little much for a young team (not to mention for a program that hasn't been 8-0 since the Eisenhower Administration).
@ Nebraska Yeah, Nebraska's not the juggernaut it once was, but dang, it's hard to win in Lincoln. The letdown from the previous week's loss doesn't help either, and Mizzou loses by a touchdown.
@ Iowa State This is a nice pick-me-up. Not a blowout, but a good, convincing win.
vs. Kansas KU brings its A game, but so do the Tigers. With the North Division title within reach, they don't disappoint. (Colorado disappoints, though, failing to beat Nebraska, which wins the North in the head-to-head tiebreaker with Mizzou.)
Bowl game Texas goes to the BCS, Oklahoma to the Cotton and Nebraska to the Holiday (the Huskers have a worse overall record than Mizzou, but hordes of traveling Husker fans = bigtime revenue). Mizzou is the fourth team chosen, heading to the Alamo Bowl to face Wisconsin. Big Poppa remains loyal despite threats from kin and childhood friends, and Mizzou shows that the Badgers were more lucky than good (e.g. not having to play Ohio State or Michigan State).
Final record 11-2, and Columbia still throws Gary Pinkel a parade.

Scenario 3: Cautious, a.k.a. realisticer
The Tigers' hot streak was fun, but it didn't prove a whole lot. But by all means, it's a surprisingly good season that shows lots of promise.
@ Tech Remember how Colorado moved the ball on Mizzou but got stopped in the red zone? Well, Tech's offense is better. It's the first time the Tigers face a good team, and their weaknesses (and youth) are exposed. Tech wins by 10.
@ A&M This has could-go-either-way written all over it. The lack of momentum caused by the Tech loss plus the imposing confines of Kyle Field are what tip it against the Tigers, and they blow it late.
vs. K-State Mizzou's hungry coming back to Faurot, and K-State is reeling after four straight losses. Plus, it's homecoming. The Tigers regain their beginning-of-season form.
vs. Oklahoma Mistakes don't cost Mizzou this game, which is good. Getting outplayed by OU does, which is bad, though not unexpected..
@ Nebraska It's close, but Nebraska learned from the KU scare. Someday the Tigers will win in Lincoln. Not this time.
@ Iowa State This might be the "cautious" prediction, but Mizzou's still a better team than Iowa State. Tigers by 14.
vs. Kansas Oh, how those wily Jayhawks like to throw a wrench into things. But Mizzou claws back in the second half, and Chase Daniel nearly singlehandedly wins the game. Harpo's saves him a piece o' goalpoast.
Bowl game The bowls are dealt out as above, except Tech goes to the Alamo. Mizzou heads to the Brut™ Sun Bowl, where they draw the Pac-10 No. 3. Cal is just too good for the Tigers to keep up, but at least they don't embarrass themselves.
Final record 8-5, and Gary Pinkel gets a contract extension.

Scenario 4: Skies above us are gray.
It turns out the only reason the Tigers are undefeated because they haven't played anyone good, and one thing leads to another. I hate to think this way, but I've seen too many promising Mizzou teams collapse (see: basketball at No. 2 in the country, the Brad Smith Era taken as a whole) to not have this in the back of my head. And imagine how pessimistic I'd be if I'd been around for the Fifth Down or Flea-Kicker.
@ Tech Pop! The hype is deflated. In Mizzou's first game against anyone ranked, Mike Leach and Co. have a field day in front of their home crowd.
@ A&M Lubbock was bad, but Aggie fans are downright crazy. Chase Daniel just can't get his footing or bearings or what have you, and the Tigers are behind from the beginning.
vs. K-State Some teams, when they keep losing, get in a funk. Some get really angry and motivated. In this case, Mizzou's the former, K-State's the latter. The Tigers are the better team, but turnovers kill them.
vs. Oklahoma Mizzou holds them for a little while, but OU breaks it open and runs away with it. A long way.
@ Nebraska Just ugly.
@ Iowa State A season without off-the-field problems? Yeah, right. Who knows what it is this year, but even if it's something as uncontroversial as an injury, it catches up to them. A five-game losing streak has left them with no confidence at all, and they drop a matchup they would've won had it been in Week 6.
vs. Kansas No matter how bad the Jayhawks are, they play hard against Mizzou. And this year, they're not bad. The chance for a break-even record and a berth in the former Bowl just can't motivate these once-starry-eyed Tigers. Remember Chase Patton? Let's just say we see him by the second quarter. The few fans that are still a) in Faurot and b) sober see him at least. ¡No más!
Final record 5-7, and Gary Pinkel joins Quin wherever he is these days.


Mini Me said...

I have also been wondering if Mizzou is for real.

Kara said...

Do we have to refer to Troy as the Little Sisters of the Blind? Come on! They whupped Alabama State! :)
Also, I get the feeling that each of the Tigers' remaining games is winnable. I don't think they will win all of them, but there's not a clear 'L' on the schedule. Nebraska's the closest thing to it, and if an Adam Barnam-quarterbacked kU team can take them to overtime... I'm getting ahead of myself.