If you're looking for a weather report on tonight's game, it's raining in Columbia.
is that really what you're looking for, though? Probably not. You're probably looking for some insight as to what team might gain an advantage in the rain.
First, there's the old school concept that rain favors a running team. The idea used to be that the offensive line could get off the ball faster in mud, get their footing and push the defense around more. That was probably true when natural grass fields were prevalent, as they turned into mud puddles on days like this, but with field turf at Missouri I'm not so sure it applies.
However, going along with that, consider that the players will be welt as well. A powerful running back will be more difficult to grasp, won't he?
Then there's the concept that rain favors receivers because they know where they're going so it's easier for them to make a defensive back slip when they're making a cut on a route. There's still some validity to that, even on field turf, but of course if it's a torrential downpour, then no one will be running any deep routes, will they?
Wet balls are harder to catch and harder to hold onto. Seems like that might negate both running and receiving and favor the defense.
Add up all the possibilities and you're left with the idea that bad weather provides no clear favor on way or another.
But you'd be wrong. The team that's favored is the one that lets it bother them the least. The one that doesn't make excuses, the one that is most mentally tough. If that sounds like a cliché', it isn't.
We most likely all know sports fans who are "perfect weather" snobs who believe that every game should be played in ideal conditions. They don't want the environment to interfere with the athleticism of the players, apparently believing all sports should be played in a vacuum, or in a dome where they can sit in a skybox away from rabble like me.
I hate weather snobs, mostly because their idea of "perfect weather" tends to boil over into other aspects of life, i.e., "perfect hair", "perfect wife", "perfect job", "perfect life". If things don't go well, they're the ones most likely to freak about it as if God is personally against them instead of taking whatever gets thrown at them and working through it.
If you played sports at all, you probably remember some guys on your team complaining about the heat, the cold, the dry, or the wet. Some complained about everything. It gave them an excuse to perform poorly, an "out" that make them feel better.
Those guys exist everywhere. It's our tendency to believe the other guy has more of them than we do, but they're on every team. Tonight we may find out who they are. I hope more of them are wearing black and gold. So does Bo Pelini.