By Tiger Fan
With less than a week until kick-off, it’s time to get serious. No more reveling in Brad Smith’s glories of old. No more tales of days gone by. It’s time to look ahead and see what’s coming. And the first team coming?
I’ve never heard of the state of
After last season’s disastrous campaign, the Racers fired coach Joe Pannunzio and replaced him with Matt Griffin – who at the time was the coach at conference rival Tennessee-Martin. Griffin seems like a good guy (he loves spending time with his wife and three kids), but his coaching resume is rather short: He was the head coach at Tennessee-Martin for three years, leading them to one winning season (last year’s 6-5) mark. Really not enough there to know what he’s got, so as much as I hate to do it, I have to say Pinkel has the edge. However, it’s worth noting that MSU has produced solid coaches in the past, like Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and
The Racers return eight starters, led by QB Ryne Salyer who threw for 1,062 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago. But three others – including
Seniors Gerald Goldberg and Barry Thomas lead a thin defensive line and could be paired with two freshman for the opener against the Tigers. Nathan Williams, a junior, leads a linebacking corps that also has its share of question marks. The most solid defensive unit for the Racers is the secondary, led by free safety and team captain J.R. Webber. Again, Mizzou’s athleticism will win out in the end. Comparing the units side-by-side, its hard to see how the Racers can match up with a Mizzou d-line that goes seven or eight deep and a secondary highlighted by All-Big XII candidate David Overstreet.
Advantage: Mizzou (but not by much)
Let’s see, a Big XII team at home against a team that finished 2-9 last season in the OVC. Even if the Racers and dig deep and hang around for a while, they’ll eventually succumb to Mizzou’s superior athleticism. I’ve complained often about Pinkel, but I don’t even think he can screw this one up. It will be exciting to see what Chase Daniel can do, but Tigers fans should be wary of using this game as a barometer for the season. I’m picking the Tigers to roll, 42-10… setting off a rash of unreasonable expectations in the Tiger nation.