1. What did you learn, if anything, about your team on opening weekend? More specifically, did you see anything that brought complete elation or utter disappointment?
-- To me, the game, as a whole, brought neither complete elation nor utter disappointment. Missouri's win over Illinois reinforced several concerns that were already raised about the Tigers. Personally, I learned that Mizzou has some playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, notably linebackers Brock Christopher and Sean Weatherspoon, and of course, safety Pig Brown. The offense was again stout for the majority of the game across the majority of the field, but once again, there were major issues inside the red zone. The coaching and its effect on nearly blowing a huge lead had me thinking one thing during the Illini comeback: "Sun Bowl."
But individually, my "complete elation" moment was the Pig Brown fumble return, and my "utter disappointment" moment was the McGee touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage after the botched MU reverse.
2. 20 years from now, someone will ask you "Where Were You When Appalachian State beat Michigan?". Describe what you were doing at the time, your reaction.
-- During the moment that Ann Arbor took a nosedive into one, giant drinking-induced coma, I was touching the rafters in the boondocks of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, taking in my first game as a student at the University of Missouri. Before the game, there had been rumblings around fans that Appalachian was giving Michigan a run for its money. My friends and I continued to check our phones and the Edward Jones Dome scoreboard for updates. Then, early into the first quarter, someone in the section proclaimed "Appalachian State just beat Michigan, 34-32." I immediately thought, "even if we choke this game away, it won't be as bad as it is in Ann Arbor right now."
3. Given the big event of this past weekend, what's the worst you've ever felt about your team?
-- My history with Missouri is not as storied as a lot of my readers, or for that matter, a lot of my colleagues with their respective blogs. Thus, I'm going to keep it recent and narrow it down to a few choices from last year alone:
Option A) The Sun Bowl. The choke was indicative of all things Missouri, but I was not that depressed because I still felt the way Mizzou played in that game was semi-impressive for recruiting.
Option B) 2006 Nebraska game: I honestly felt like the match-ups last year (namely, Chase Daniel to Will Franklin deep vs. NU's shaky defensive backs) tilted heavily in Mizzou's favor. Then Pinkel and Co. decided not to exploit this match-up and I was stuck in "Wait 'til next year" mode.
Option C) The loss to Texas A&M. Missouri was undefeated and rolling entering College Station. The inevitable letdown started the trademark "Missouri slide."
Option D) Losing to Iowa State, which was accentuated by Pinkel's extension only a few days earlier. Pinkel had avoided the non-conference losses that plauged him, but he then showed he's still not immune to giving one away.
Personally, I'll go with a mix of options B and D.
4. Take a classic - like Homer's Odyssey, Lord of the Flies, Little Women, or, heck, even the latest Simpsons Movie and tell me how it relates to your team this season.
-- Maybe it's because I've had my head buried in it for a Humanities class for the last two weeks, but Mizzou football circa 2007 reminds me of The Iliad by Homer. Missouri's fate has been decided by the gods (to be forsaken and always fall JUST short), but even with the inevitability of death, history, and fate, the team is tempting the will of the gods to carve out a personal legacy and a place in history. There is no way to avoid death, but death can be cheated only if you can be remembered. How will this team be remembered? Only time will tell...
5. It wasn't just by accident you got here. Somewhere, some time, there was someone who influenced you to become a fan of your team. Tell that story.
-- In all honesty, there is no great story. I was not born in Missouri. I was not raised in Missouri. I am Texas-born and Texas-bred. I am the son of a graduate of the University of Alabama. I am the brother of a Texas A&M Aggie. There was potential for influence all around me, but, amid seas of burnt orange, maroon, and my father's crimson, I found my way to the black and gold. My college search began early in high school, as I searched out the world's greatest journalism school and found my way to Columbia. And, as a diehard fan of all things college sports, I began adopting the traditions, history and culture of Missouri athletics.
6. Give us your nominations for the offensive and defensive players of the week within the conference.
-- Offensive player of the week: Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray. Carrying 17 times for 88 yards and 5 touchdowns qualifies as one hell of a freshman debut, even if he did it against
-- Defensive player of the week: Missouri DB Pig Brown. You'd be hard pressed to find a player with better stats in week one than Brown's five tackles, two fumble recoveries, one touchdown and one interception. And if you did, I'd find it hard to believe anyone did it at bigger times in the game than Pig, whose touchdown was a HUGE 14-point swing and whose interception sealed a victory.