AF: We gotta start with this crappy "Battleline Trophy". What do you guys think of it? Considering Arkansas already has troops (Arkansas alumnus John Daly and Barry Switzer) at Downstream Casino ready to invade Missouri, does that validate the name of the trophy?
RMN: I don't know anyone who is particularly fond of the name. Is there an actual trophy yet or do we just take turns stealing shopping carts from each other's WalMart parking lots?
I'm not overly familiar with southern Missouri except to say that if y'all invaded it'd probably take a while for me to notice. Furthest south in Missouri I've ever been was the Johnson Shut-ins. I'd imagine a combination of that and the Lake of the Ozarks would be enough to thwart even the most seaworthy of mobile homes.
To be honest, I kind of wish they hadn't forced a name on it and a corporate sponsorship, thereby giving it a chance to be grow organically. I still think we can call it whatever we want and to hell with what Shelter Insurance. In fact, I'll be disappointed if this doesn't happen. Best suggestions: ARMOgeddon, Ozarkapalyse, Ozark of the Covenant.
AF: A lot of people are saying that there is Norfolking way Missouri should be allowed to win the East after losing at home to Indiana. Does it feel like you guys against the world? Because, it sounds like most people want Georgia to win the East for the sake of the conference.
RMN: I think you'd have to be a Nutt to think Mizzou is a better team than Georgia. They pantsed us on our home field without Todd Gurley, I had to watch from the press box and it was probably the most joyless Mizzou game I'd ever experienced. The Indiana game was fluky and we were missing one of our best defensive lineman in Markus Golden. I could go on with excuses but since Georgia couldn't manage to handle their business against Florida or South Carolina I'll make no apologies for how we get back to Atlanta. At least we didn't follow our SEC Championship loss by losing to a Big Ten team.
Mizzou fans were born with a severe case of feeling disrespected. Half the reason many of us want to return to go back to Atlanta is to stick it to everyone who brings up the Indiana game.
AF: Speaking of the team that blanked Mizzou at home, Arkansas has a very similar offensive style as Georgia. The Hogs are also on a two game shutout streak. This can't end well for Missouri, can it? Or do Mizzou fans see it differently?
RMN: We're pretty impressed with our defense. Mizzou actually held Georgia to below their season average in yards and yards per play and Nick Chubb needed 38 rushes to get to 143 yards. A major factor in the game was Mizzou's complete ineptitude on offense and 4 turnovers continuously putting the defense on the field and in bad field position. I know that's how y'all jumped out to that 17-0 lead in the first quarter over Ole Miss.
I'd be insane to think that Maty Mauk and this offense reverting to that kind of form but since the Florida game we've seen marginal growth each week and a fundamental change in the way the offense has been run. The return of 2 of our original starting 3 wide receivers has been offset by a sudden propensity to shoot ourselves in the foot with false starts, delay of game, or other procedural penalties. We've also faced Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Tennessee minus numerous starters on defense.
If Mizzou can put up 21-24 points I think I'll be happy. If we get shut out I'll be disappointed and somewhat surprised. The variance for this team has left me incapable of real emotion.
AF: From a Mizzou perspective, what do you guys think about Bret Bielema? After the struggles with Indiana, they have to be terrified of playing a coach that was so successful in the Big 10, or nah?
RMN: Bert seems like a guy who peaked in the Big Ten and knew it so he went to a program in crisis that would be thankful he chose them. I recall there being a bit of contention between Bert and Pinkel during SEC media days about tempo and pace of play but ironically Mizzou has been forced to slow down it's offense to one of the slowest in Pinkel's tenure so perhaps they have more in common than either would like to admit? I don't know, all I know of your coach is the pictures of him without a shirt, the GIF of him falling down and that he outkicked his coverage with regards to his wife.
(Writer's note: At least Bert doesn't have a mugshot.)
RMN: I'll tell you what, I think Arkansas wins this one and I'll tell you why: Because to kick start a rivalry the teams need to be playing for something. Arkansas is already bowl-eligible but Mizzou wants to go back to the SEC Championship game. What better way to birth animosity than for y'all to trip us up at the very last moment?
I think Mizzou comes out, kicks a field goal, then Arkansas scores 14 before half-time. Mizzou starts the second half with a touchdown. Y'all respond. Mizzou gets a non-offensive touchdown somehow (a pick 6? Marcus Murphy punt return?) but can't quite finish the comeback.
Final score Arkansas 21 - Mizzou 17.