We're powering through the top 25 as the college football season looms closer and closer. We'll finish off with Georgia on Thursday just before kickoff later that night. First up today is Missouri, brought to you by blogger Big Head of Mizzourah.net . Being a Mizzou fan gives us a specific right; the right to be confident, yet afraid that the sky will fall on us at any moment, and more than likely it will come in a shitty city like Ames or Waco. Like the first time I went in to a strip club and it was Asian pregnancy night, it's embedded in the mind. It's a Missouri thing- Don Denkinger screwing the Cardinals (although it benefited the Royals), Adam Vinatieri booting a forever long field goal to win the Super Bowl against the Rams, Carl Peterson being 18 seasons into his own 5-year plan to take the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, George Brett going apeshit about a bat that was stickier than Jules' afro in Pulp Fiction...it's just a Missouri thing. We have come to acknowledge it. We saw it last year when we shit the bed in Norman on a fumble, and then got routed in the Big 12 Title game. Then again, Oklahoma is a good team. It more than likely happens when we play less than stellar teams. It's what we do.
This year is no different. Even though we are ranked in the top ten of all publications (6th AP/7th USA Today/4th SI/6th Phil Steele), we're still waiting for this team to turn into a pumpkin. Does the SI jinx kill us? We are confident that it won't...but yet as a Mizzou fan, we expect something to go awry at some point. We know a 12-0 or 11-1 season is a decent possibility, but wouldn't be surprised with 8-4 or 7-5. It's what we do. The rug gets pulled out from underneath our Missouri sports fandom every year, unless you're a Cardinals fan (we sold our souls to the devil a long time ago. See Leitch for a deeper explanation). The 2008 team has been expected to be the Mizzou team that had the best shot at winning the Big 12 for awhile. All the pieces have been in place for a run in 2008 since about 2006. Last year was great and all, but Mizzou is even better this year. We lost a few of the pieces of the puzzle, but Gary Pinkel has been able to fit some new players in that gained a lot of experience last year. The defense is the best in the Pinkel era, but lets be honest; it all starts with quarterback Chase Daniel.
Chase is a great representative of the people of the Show Me State; chip on the shoulder, a little chubby, and can grow kick ass facial hair in his free time. Sure, he's not actually from Missouri, but nobody gives a shit...he's a Missourian. Jeremy Maclin and Daniel are a dynamic duo, and are so good, they could kill each other's Heisman votes. Being a Mizzou fan, we expect the greatness of two of our stars to kill the hype on each other's greatness. It's what we do.
As far as our rivalries go, we really only have two; Nebraska and kansas. Some may argue that we have four by adding Oklahoma and Illannoy in the mix, but for it to be considered a 'rivalry', you need two things; back-and-forth balance of competitive games, which we don't have by getting dominated by Oklahoma for years, and the mere fact of actually giving a shit about the other team, which we don't against the Illini. Illannoy, as you may get from the nickname, has basically been a little brother kind of pest to Mizzou. They are a team without a true rival, and they decided that they would become our rival. Basically a bullshit, made up rivalry to appease their fan base. Tiger fans have always considered Nebraska and kU the teams of mass hatred. Nebraska for all the ass beatings that we incurred and Nubs fans claiming they did it with class, followed by many years of close games until we finally started to pull through. The hatred reached a boiling point with the whole Flea Kicker thing in 1997. kU is hated because they are kansas. It all goes back to William Quantrill and Bleeding Kansas, but Deadspin isn't a place to drop hints to the repeats of Win Ben Stein's Money. We hate kU enough to never acknowledge them with a capital-'k' when referring to them. Of course, last season threw a Phillips 66 station worth of gas on the fire with the game at Camerohead and the birth of Sodd Reesing (see picture above), but this year has already been turned up to an 11 with the release of kU's "Big 12 North Co-Champion Trophy". The trophy has caused a little bit of an uproar among Mizzou fans because of the 36-28 win in the Armageddon game last year, and the fact that we went on to the Big 12 Title game, not the Squawks. For once in my tired, pathetic, college football loving life, my team has expectations to do well. Everywhere I've turned all off-season, everyone has pimped the Tigers. Do we 'Eight Belles it', and go down in the backstretch of the season? Or instead, does our six-foot, chubby hero wearing the #10 save the day? Speaking for all Tiger fans, we are banking on the second option. Expect the worst, but going all-in for the best. It's what we Mizzou fans do.