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Blue Ribbon Wrap Up E-mail
Written by Slim   
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 01:49

Earlier this summer we gave one of our readers a free copy of the Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook.  A month later, I've finally been able to read through the book myself and thought I'd sum it up for those who don't have it.

First, let me say the book is awesome.  In all, it's 400 pages and provides position-by-position analysis of every FBS team.  Outside of Mizzou, I'm not all that educated about other teams, so perhaps my favorite part was reading about Mizzou's upcoming opponents.

As for Mizzou, Blue Ribbon's coverage seemed spot on.  The book begins Mizzou's preview by discussing last year's youth and includes quotes from several coaches.

"It's amazing a yeaer later you can see the maturity level of the kids change," they quote Gary Pinkel saying.  "That's each player getting a little bit more mature, being able to get through his preparations better.  His consistency is better.  It's all part of the process and it's fun to see that."

As expected, the book raves about Blaine Gabbert, even going as far as to compare him to Peyton Manning... Well, kind of.

"At 6-5, 240 pounds he's the prototypical size for a classic pocket quarterback (see Peyton Manning, et al)," the author writes.  "He can gun the ball with the best of them and owns a quick release."

The book even gets as in depth as mentioning possible freshmen who may contribute.  Among the freshmen the book notes are Kony Ealy, Nick Demien, Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt, and Marcus Lucas, who they accurately call, "highly touted."

Blue Ribbon tells things like they are.  They don't waste time with hype or projections or anything like that, which I actually found refreshing.  Their claims are supported by facts.  For example, the book says the Mizzou needs to improve and then goes on to cite how the Tigers were 11th in the Big 12 in third down defense and last in red zone defense to back up that claim.

In the end, the book sums up Mizzou well saying, "With eight starters back on each side of the ball, the Tigers almost have to be better in 2010.  But it will take a huge improvement on defense - especially pass defense - to make them a serious challenger for the Big 12 North title."  Hard to argue with that.

Big 12 Summary:

Blue Ribbon doesn't project records for teams, but they do project how they'll finish in their respective conferences.  Here's how they see the Big 12.

North:

1.  Nebraska (6th nationally)

2.  Missouri

3.  Colorado

4.  Kansas

5.  Kansas State

6.  Iowa State

South:

1.  Oklahoma (4th nationally)

2.  Texas (9th nationally)

3.  Texas A&M (24th nationally)

4.  Oklahoma State

5.  Texas Tech

6.  Baylor

I'm a bit surprised to see Colorado projected third.  Colorado plays four legitimate non-conference opponents in Colorado State, at Cal, Hawaii, and Georgia.  Plus they get Tech, Baylor, and OU from the South.  Not exactly a schedule that sets up for a lot of wins.

As expected, Nebraska's rating is through the roof.  The book says the nubs have the nation's best secondary and projects DT Jared Crick as the national defensive player of the year.  The book seemed confident the nubs would have a more potent offense than last season (not hard to do).

Miscellaneous:

- The book lists Aldon Smith and Grant Ressel as the only Mizzou players on the All Big 12 team.

-  They pick Jerrod Johnson from A&M as the conference's offensive player of the year and Crick from nU as defensive player of the year.

-  kU offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson is the only jayhawk on the All Conference team.

-  Of course the "Big 12 Notebook," portion of the book wouldn't be complete without mentioning the near demise of the Big 12 Conference.  The book even cites Governor Jay Nixon saying, "The Big 12 will continue to operate with 10 teams, and while some - most notably the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, who opined the league had jettisoned its two 'weakest' basketball programs - thinks it will be better off..."

-  In the preview for Iowa State, the author writes how it will be difficult for the Cyclones to move up in the Big 12 North with, "A rising power (Nebraska), a solid success story (Missouri) and three other teams hoping to become challengers..."

Gripe all you want about the nubs being called a rising power, but if the national perception of Mizzou is, "A solid success story," I'll take it.

-  Blue Ribbon projects Illinois to finish 9th in the Big Ten.  Illini DB and former Mizzou recruiting target Terry Hawthorne is on their All Big Ten team.

-  The book has Arkansas ranked 24th in the nation, but only 4th in the SEC West.

 



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