Quite a bit has changed in the offseason but MizzouRah will try to steer those people that like to wager a few toothpicks on the games in the right direction.
I was able to find my last set of predictions from last season and I've gotta tell you, I was REALLY depressed after the Tigers lost to KU. With my natural optimistic nature I have forgotten how disappointed I was with the Missouri team in 2004. We now know that the new offense will solve all of our problems, we can manage to overcome losing Ellison and Mosely and the O line will be top Big XII Caliber this season! There is nothing to worry about! Well, okay maybe there are causes for concern but I don't want to make light of the significant causes for optimism when we look at the Tigers this season. I will get to some of those in a minute.
Before you get all your "toothpicks" out to follow this advice a word of warning. Last year was MizzouRah's first losing season in several years. I finished 64-66 Against the Spread and 97-44 straight up. In my defense I won the bowl pool I was in (picks were ATS) and I went something like 19-13 ATS but by the time bowl season came around I was too depressed to post anymore. This year I am confident will be much better! On to this week's games!
Let's get the mismatches out of the way first. I am sure that on Sunday I will be saying our new offense can't be stopped, KU fans will be comparing Barman to Joe Montana, KSU fans will say the same about Webb, Husker fans about Taylor, etc. etc. etc. MAYBE that's right but these games don't prove much of anything. I got ripped pretty good by some Husker fans last year for suggesting that Joe Dailey's performance against a horrible Western Illinois team might not be a good indicator of things to come. You really can't determine anything about your team against a 1AA opponent, and you can't determine much against a poor 1A opponent. There are several on the schedule this week. Don't get me wrong, I hope to be VERY optimistic about 3 PM on Saturday and you won't be able to convince me at that point that MU can be stopped unless we (gasp) look really bad on Saturday.
Texas Tech has a bye to prepare for that incredible FIU, SHSU, ISU schedule they have. A schedule like that should be illegal, I'd be mad if I bought season tickets there.
OSU vs. Montana State - games against 1AA opponents really drive me nuts. OSU needs to get the used to their new spread offense, but these games are jokes and I don't spend my time worrying about joke games.
OSU wins 48-10 and everyone says the new offense is perfect! They will be wrong.
Nebraska vs. Maine - games against 1AA opponents really drive me nuts...did I already tell you that?
NU needs to get the new QB some work but these games are jokes and I don't spend my time worrying about joke games. I will be mildly interested to see if they hold Maine under 10.
Next week we will learn something about the Huskers.
Nebraska wins 52-7 and we hear a few Taylor for Heisman remarks. Those folks need to calm down. Of course, they are Nebraska fans, so they won't.
Iowa State vs. Illinois State - games against 1AA opponents really drive me nuts. ISU needs to what? Doesn't ISU have most of their starters back? Well they need to get ready for Iowa so I'll give them a pass.
Iowa State wins 35-3 and we hear a few Meyer for Heisman remarks. Those folks need to chill.
Now to the games we can bet toothpicks on! Lines from today's KC Star, you know...that newspaper that a certain editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch referred to as a lapdog.
MIZZOU (-26) at Arkansas State in that suburb of Jonesboro, KC MO! Okay, let's see this new offense work! The coaching staff has worked with the Bowling Green coaching staff, they have the playbook, and MU has made a significant investment in this new system (BTW, the BG head coach was the guy who really formulated this "Urban Meyer Offense") and I think it suits Smith, Temple, Woods, Coffey, Rucker, Franklin et. al. perfectly. The O line is more experienced this year and should take well to this scheme.
ASU has talent returning at QB/RB and the secondary, that's about it. They moved the ball on us fairly well last year and while I like our secondary, we usually let even not-so-good teams score in the first game. Lots of talk about true freshmen.
Chase Daniel is playing second team (Is he going to unseat Brad Smith? NO, NO, NO, What is wrong with people who think this? We have the best QB in the league (my opinion), he's not shifting to WR, we just have to get our next best option ready for next year). MU rarely looks too impressive on D in the first game regardless of the opponent, so I will pick against the home team here.
MIZZOU wins 41-17 but ASU covers. MU has a real test next week.
Kansas State (-33) vs. FIU - Here is a team that is barely 1A. If KSU has a repeat of the WKU game from last year look for a repeat of the poor season. I think they have worked hard to prepare for the season and they should come out and do well. We might learn a bit about the O line here as they struggled early on last year. Money has been coming in on FIU and I like betting against the "smart money" early in the year.
KSU is the pick - they win 48-6
KU (-23.5) vs. Florida Atlantic - Money has been POURING in on KU as this line opened at 19. FAU has lost most of their starters. The trouble is KU struggles to score so they have little margin for error with this spread.
Pick FAU - they lose 27-9
Baylor (-2) at SMU - Baylor has gotten a little better and shown some heart. SMU is pretty bad and the money has been coming in on SMU. I kind of like BU's QB.
Pick Baylor 17-13
Texas (-40) vs. La Lafayette - Texas doesn't need to run up the score given the Ohio State game upcoming but you can bet they will. ULL has a poor D, not good.
Pick Texas 56-7
Now for the "real" games
CU (-7) vs. CSU in Boulder - I hate to give this many points in a rivalry game but CSU has some serious replacements to make. Good game for TBS to kick things off because CSU always seems to bring their best game in the Colorado game. CU needs to find a top tier running back. I like this secondary a lot.
Pick CU 27-17
Texas A&M (-1.5) at Clemson - I'm not sure I'm buying all the A&M/McNeal hype. We will find out in a hurry, this is a legit conference opener. Clemson has some O line issues that I think A&M will exploit.
Pick A&M 24-16
OU -26.5 vs. TCU. OU didn't put together blowouts in the non conference last year, I doubt they do it this year against a solid TCU defense. Both teams have serious concerns along their offensive lines, but I think TCU is good enough to keep this one within reason.
Pick OU 34-13/OU does not cover
Other games of interest:
I like Minnesota (-14) at Tulsa they like to run it up in the non conference.
I like Boise State (+7) to keep it close but lose to Georgia.
I like Georgia Tech (+7) to lose a close one to Auburn as well.
Good luck to your team!