The opening kickoff for the 2013 Missouri Tiger football season is a mere 50 days away, so it’s time to start gearing up for the season. Despite the fact that Missouri returns two-year starter James Franklin at quarterback, Gary Pinkel declared this to be an open competition after underwhelming results at the position in spring practice. Since all fans of mediocre teams love QB controversies, and I expect a very mediocre season from Mizzou in 2013, I think it’s time we break down the likelihood of each of the candidates to take snaps this season. Here they are listed in their order on the depth chart coming out of spring practice.
3. Corbin Berkstresser, RS Soph., 6-3, 225
If there’s one thing positive you can say about Berkstresser’s chances, it’s that he certainly looks like he should be a good quarterback.He has the prototypical size and weight you want in your signal-caller, and has a rocket arm as well. Of course, his on-field play during the 2012 season can best be described as a dumpster fire. Berkstresser started three games for the Tigers, and also played the bulk of two others. When he wasn’t over-throwing open receivers, he could be seen running in circles in the backfield with no apparent plan.
On the season, he completed a mere 49.7% of his passes, with a 5-to-7 TD-to-INT ratio. But the stats don’t do justice to how bad he was. I have more confidence in Congress coming up with a solution to Social Security than I do in Berkstresser’s ability to lead a touchdown drive. His best play of the season was probably the 85-yard TD pass he threw to Bud Sasser in the Vanderbilt game. Of course, if you look closely at that play, it appears Berkstresser may have accidentally overthrown his intended receiver and the ball just happened to land in Sasser’s hands.
Considering Berkstresser was a redshirt freshman last year, he has considerable room to improve. However, I expect he will be the third string quarterback when the season starts. If Berkstresser is named the starter this year, not only will Mizzou go 0-12 in 2013, but they will likely be booted from the SEC after the season.
2. Maty Mauk, RS Fr., 6-1, 200
If you don’t have an all-conference starter then the backup QB is usually the most popular guy on the team, and that’s what I expect Mauk to be for the Tigers this year. In fact, I’m preemptively making Mauk my favorite player on the team. At least until he plays, which at that point I reserve the right to make Berkstresser my favorite player.
What we know about Mauk is that he was all-world in high school. He came into Mizzou as the national record holder for career high school passing yards after he broke his older brother, and former Cincinnati Bearcat QB Ben Mauk’s record. So clearly that means the guy is going to be a stud, right?
Of course it does! Maty Mauk is already the best quarterback in the SEC and possibly the nation. While Johnny Manziel may have beat Alabama and won the Heisman last year, did you know that Mauk didn’t throw a single incomplete pass all season? As a true freshman no less! Manziel misfired 139 times last year and he was a redshirt freshman. If he’s the starter, Mauk is going to consume SEC defenses with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse.
If Mauk starts this year expect Missouri go 14-0 in route to the school’s first ever national championship. Once again, I reserve my
right to change my mind when I see Mauk play a down of real, actual football.
1. James Franklin, Sr., 6-2, 230
Of course, at the end of the day everyone knows Pinkel is going to go with incumbent James Franklin as his starter. The conservative coaching move is going to go with the known quantity rather than take a risk on the untested Mauk (even though he will be passing up on a national championship by doing so).
Mizzou fans are torn on Franklin. Is he the guy who passed for 2,800 yards and rushed for nearly 1,000 more as a sophomore in 2011, or is he the guy who was too injured to get on the field and posted mediocre numbers in 2012? Glad you asked.
Franklin will likely only play about two and a half quarters week one against Murray State before being pulled due to a blowout. In fact, if Pinkel wants to he can probably win by 40 by just direct snapping the ball to Henry Josey all game, and not even play a QB. Week two, he will put up decent stats in a win over Toledo, but he’ll also throw a pick, which will be the only thing any of us Maty Mauk supporters remember. Cries for the backup will be sounded from Power Mizzou to Tigerboard but Pinkel will ignore them. (Because, like all college football coaches, Pinkel does not read the paper, own a TV, or have access to the internet). Franklin will lead Mizzou to wins against Indiana and Arkansas State with decent stats as well, leading Pinkel to leave him in for conference play.
That’s where things will get hairy. I expect at least one game where Franklin absolutely leads the team to victory and at least two where he completely blows the game.
In the games against Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M it doesn’t matter what Franklin does because that’s where Mizzou just gets the holy hell beat out of them.
Having a better season than last year, but not quite putting up the stats of his sophomore year, Franklin will lead the team to six or seven wins and a berth in the Cricket Wireless Crawfish Etoufee Bowl sponsored by Depends played on January 25th on Spike TV.
Of course, all of this can be avoided if Pinkel would just start Maty Mauk—the greatest QB in the history of college football.