Turfburner is happy Jason Madson has agreed to share his college football wisdom on this site this season. His insights into the Big 12 will be a welcomed addition. Thanks Jason, and welcome aboard. You can find out just a little more about Jason right here.
The recent release of the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll got me thinking, "Did all the Big 12 teams that deserved to be ranked, get placed in the correct spot?" Let's take a look.
Oklahoma is my clear cut number 1 team, the Sooners should go undefeated and they are my favorite to win the National Championship. I'd say they are in the right spot. They have the talent to start and finish the season number 1, without leaving the top spot all year.
Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are flipped in my rankings, but close enough that it doesn't matter. The Aggies and Cowboys have some serious studs on the offensive side of the ball and a few question marks on defense, but they will probably turn into strengths once the season plays out. These are 2 very tough teams that could give OU a run for their money.
Most people are questioning the Texas Longhorns being in the Top 25. I am not one of these people. I like the Longhorns being placed at 24 and agree with Jay that this is about where they should stay all season. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new coordinators bring to the table in Austin this season. Manny Diaz has some playmakers to work with on the Defensive side of the ball, while Bryan Harsin brings his Boise State play book with him to the Lone Star State. This Texas team could really surprise some people if they get some better QB play.
This brings me to the Missouri Tigers. When I look at their ranking of 21, I'm happy to see them ranked for only the 3rd time in the Pinkel Era. Then I think about it a little more and begin to look at the teams directly in front of them (mainly 15-20) and think why aren't the Tigers ranked higher? I know its preseason and the coaches base a lot of this off last year, but look at why I think the Tigers should be higher and why they will be going forward.
This team has veteran leadership everywhere. They will need to rely on that leadership in the trenches, where the Tigers are the most talented. The Mizzou offensive and defensive lines rank among the top 10-15 best in the country. The Offensive Line needs to be a strength, with an extremely young, unproven signal caller in James Franklin. He will suffer through some growing pains, definitely. That's when the Tigers rely on the above average stable of running backs. This team needs OC Yost to realize that handing the ball off isn't a bad thing, at least early on in the season.
The Defensive side of the ball has really become a strength for Mizzou, when they are healthy. Getting DT Dom Hamilton back to 100% and Sheldon Richardson on campus will really provide a boost to this teams run D, that was sorely missed in losses to Nebraska and Iowa last year. The linebackers and defensive backfield have two studs in the making in LB Zavier Gooden and CB EJ Gaines. Mizzou fans are expecting big things out of these 2 in the very near future.
The Tigers have 6 home games this season and one "home" game at Arrowhead Stadium in KC v. the Jayhawks. The Tigers are building something special in Columbia. Game day is pretty crazy and the Tigers play much better football at home. Just looking at the schedule, Mizzou should win at the least 6 of these 7 games, with the only toss up being OK State. Missouri should go 3-2 on the road with losses at OU and either TAMU or Baylor. 9 or 10 wins isn't out of the question.
Now for the teams in front of the Tigers. Each of these teams has either lost a lot (Auburn, Ohio State, TCU) or shouldn't be there in the first place (sorry Notre Dame, just can't buy the hype yet) with the exception being Miss State (who lost DC Diaz to Texas). I could easily see the Tigers being ranked in the 15/16 range to start the season.
This article was written while I had my Black and Gold tinted glasses on. I can see the other side of this as well, but I'd rather just close my eyes.