Missouri Football: An Overview of the Tigers' Schedule with Dorial Green-Beckham

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IIFebruary 2, 2012

Missouri Football: An Overview of the Tigers' Schedule with Dorial Green-Beckham

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    With Missouri's conference schedule set in stone, there's only two game slots that must be filled. 

    As it stands, Missouri has three empty weekends, with Miami (OH), Southern Illinois and a bye week left to fill them. 

    After the Tigers' program-changing splash on national signing day in which they nabbed the nation's No. 1 recruit, how will the signing of in-state stud Dorial Green-Beckham impact the team in 2012. 

    Let's take a quick run-through of what we know of Missouri's 2012 football schedule, play out each week and see where the Tigers will stand in their inaugural SEC season with their shiny new super-recruit. 

Georgia Bulldogs—September 8th, 2012

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    Georgia's 2011 Final Record: 10-4, 1st in SEC East

    The Georgia Bulldogs' 2011 campaign saw the team at its highest of highs and their lowest of lows. 

    After starting the season off 0-2, we were ready to call the Bulldogs' season a loss right then and there, until they found their groove and rattled off 10 consecutive wins en route to a spot in the SEC Championship. 

    After being waxed by LSU in the conference title game, Georgia lost a heartbreaker in overtime of the Outback Bowl to Michigan State, 33-30. 

    Georgia has high hopes heading into 2012 and will look to get off on the right foot at Missouri to open up the SEC schedule. However, what they'll find is a tough Missouri squad, who is returning their top talent at all offensive skill positions, ready to make their opening mark on the SEC. 

    Faurot Field is going to have an electric buzz permeating through air as the Tigers host their first ever SEC game. 

    Look for Missouri to sneak one here, surprise the slow-starting Bulldogs and leave a thunderous reverberation throughout the college football nation that the 2012 Tigers are for real. 

Arizona State Sun Devils—September 15th, 2012

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    Arizona State's 2011 Final Record: 6-7, 3rd in Pac-12 South

    Missouri will host the Arizona State Sun Devils on September 15th looking to avenge their thrilling 37-30 overtime loss in Tempe, Arizona in 2011. 

    Last year, Arizona State was really what I call a tale of two seasons. After beginning the season 5-1 with wins over Missouri and USC, the Sun Devils began a downward spiral and lost six of their last seven games, including a massacre by Boise State in the MAACO Bowl. 

    This season, the Sun Devils will be without their best players on both sides of the ball—quarterback Brock Osweiler on offense and linebacker Vontaze Burfict on defense. Both junior stand-outs declared for the NFL draft. 

    With a new coaching regime in place and uncertainties at most skill positions on offense, the Sun Devils' prospects don't look bright for a repeat of their early success in 2011. 

    Look for Missouri—who will be hyped after a huge upset over Georgia—to handle their business at home against Arizona State. 

At South Carolina Gamecocks—September 22nd, 2012

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    South Carolina's 2011 Final Record: 11-2, 2nd in SEC East

    Missouri's first true road test of the 2012 season comes when the travel to Columbia, South Carolina and face the South Carolina Gamecocks. 

    This will also be the Tigers' first taste of the hostility that comes with SEC road games. 

    Do I think Missouri will be up for the challenge? I'd hope so, but I just can't see them coming out victorious when I play it out in my mind. 

    South Carolina is too strong on defense and returns freshman phenom Jadeveon Clowney to a unit that only surrendered 18.4 points per game a season ago. 

    Missouri may compete in the first half of this one, and the scoreboard will end up looking closer than the game really is large in part to South Carolina's notorious struggles to score points on offense. 

    The Tigers' first loss of the season comes at the hands of Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. 

At Central Florida Knights—September 29th, 2012

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    Central Florida's 2011 Final Record: 5-7, 5th in Conference USA East

    Last year could have been considered a rebuilding year for Central Florida, and as the school prepares for their move to the Big East in 2013, this could be considered a transition year. 

    This game will be no easy task for the Tigers. Central Florida ranked in the top 10 in total defense in 2011 and will return eight starters to that unit for 2012. 

    Also, five of Central Florida's seven losses came by a touchdown or fewer, showing that, despite a losing record, they aren't going to roll over for anyone and will play better opponents to the final whistle. 

    When Missouri visits the Knights in late September, it's going to be a battle. I think the Tigers pull one out in Orlando—not by much, though, and I'm predicting overtime for this one. 

    Missouri absolutely can't overlook the Central Florida Knights, because they're a team that can surprise you if you're not fully prepared for them. 

Vanderbilt Commodores—October 6th, 2012

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    Vanderbilt's 2011 Final Record: 6-7, 4th in SEC East

    Missouri relies heavily on their quarterback James Franklin, but so does Vanderbilt. Not Missouri's Franklin, but their head coach, who's also named James Franklin. 

    Is it appropriate to call this one the "Battle of the Franklins"?

    Simply getting to a bowl game was a remarkable feat in Franklin's first season. He's a young, fiery head coach who demands the best out of this players, and that's mainly the reason that Vanderbilt looked as competitive as they've ever been in a week-by-week basis. 

    When the visit the Missouri Tigers in early October, the Tigers' fans will be in for a treat.

    However, I think that Missouri finds a way to pull out a huge victory at home behind a strong performance from freshman Dorial Green-Beckham.

    Vanderbilt was 1-4 on the road last year, scoring less than 21 points in all four of their losses.  

Alabama Crimson Tide—October 13th, 2012

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    Alabama's 2011 Final Record: 12-1, 2nd in SEC West, National Champions

    This is the game that Missouri fans are circling on their calendars because the feeling in the air when the Tigers host the defending national champions is going to be electric. 

    I'm of course talking about the pre-game feeling, not the post. That one won't be so pleasant. 

    Alabama is too good. Plain and simple, they will overpower and out-class a Tigers team that will be riding a high entering the game. 

    Missouri's offense will be stymied by the powerful Alabama Crimson's defense, and while they aren't likely to be shut out, points will be at a premium. 

    Tiger fans will be ready and waiting for this game. False hope, maybe, but one thing we will soon find out is that Missouri will get a real taste of SEC football when Alabama comes to town. 

Kentucky Wildcats—October 27th, 2012

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    Kentucky's 2011 Final Record: 5-7, 5th in SEC East

    In Missouri's final SEC home game of the 2012 season, they host the Kentucky Wildcats, who are expected to finish at the bottom of the SEC East once again. 

    There's nothing too serious to this one. The Tigers should win easily, but that doesn't mean they should overlook the Wildcats, with Florida in their sights the following week. 

    The Tigers give their fans a treat in the final home game of the season, beating the Wildcats easily behind a strong offensive showing from Henry Josey and James Franklin. 

At Florida Gators—November 3rd, 2012

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    Florida's 2011 Final Record: 7-6, 3rd in SEC East

    The Florida Gators came out of the gate hot in 2011, winning their first four games, then dropping their next four to the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Georgia. 

    Heading into this season, they lose key players on offense, including quarterback John Brantley and running back Chris Rainey. However, they return 10 defensive starters and are sure to be a top five defense in 2012. 

    It's going to be difficult for Missouri to score against the Gators, especially on the road. 

    I give the edge to the Gators here because of home-field advantage and a strong defense, and I think their offense gets them just enough points to beat the Tigers. 

At Tennessee Volunteers—November 10th, 2012

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    Tennessee's 2011 Final Record: 5-7, 6th in SEC East

    I can't begin to explain the problems that the Tennessee Volunteers had in 2011. Off the top of my head, they were horrible in the rushing offense—averaging about 90 yards per game—leading to their struggles in scoring the football. 

    In 2012, I don't see Tennessee being that much better. 

    They were 1-7 in SEC play a season ago, with their only win coming in overtime against Vanderbilt. 

    While playing at home may give them a little boost, I don't foresee it being enough to beat the Missouri Tigers. Their inability to run the football will be a problem, coupled with Missouri's ability to rush the quarterback when Tyler Bray drops back. 

    Missouri rolls in Knoxville behind a strong offensive performance from the freshman stud, Dorial Green-Beckham. 

At Texas A&M Aggies—November 24th, 2012

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    Texas A&M's 2011 Final Record: 7-6, 7th in Big 12

    As both Missouri and Texas A&M transition to the SEC, we as fans are lucky to keep this old Big 12 rivalry still in tact. 

    For those who think that Texas A&M is going to all of a sudden dominate the Tigers because of their move to the SEC, remember that these are the same two teams. Texas A&M hasn't defeated Missouri since 2006, and the Tigers have gone into Kyle Field and beaten the Aggies each of the last two seasons. 

    The Tigers will head to College Station once again in 2012 and finish their season against the Aggies, and just like last year, I expect them to win. 

    Texas A&M is without their top players at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions due to graduation. 

    In fact, I don't foresee Texas A&M having a winning record next season. 

    It's not going to be an easy game—road games against rivals seldom are—but I see the Tigers finishing a hard-fought season by winning a hard-fought battle deep in the heart of Texas. 

Conclusion

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    Despite popular belief, the Missouri Tigers will have a successful first season in the SEC. I like what they can bring on the defensive side of the ball, and adding a game-changer like Dorial Green-Beckham gives the offense the chance to spread the ball out like never before. 

    Let's run through what we covered in the previous slides:

     

    Wins:

    Georgia

    Arizona State

    Central Florida

    Vanderbilt

    Kentucky

    Tennessee 

    Texas A&M

    TBD: Miami (OH) and Southern Illinois 

     

    Losses:

    South Carolina

    Alabama

    Florida

     

    I truly like this team's chances at finishing their first season in the SEC at 9-3. I think they sweep their non-conference schedule and that a massive upset against Georgia in their first-ever home SEC game gets them off on the right foot. 

    They will have their struggles on the road in the SEC, showing in two losses at South Carolina and Florida, but the addition of Dorial Green-Beckham is enough reason for this Missouri team to get the respect it deserves. 

    The Tigers won't be conference champions. They won't even make the conference championship, but it's not like they were expected to. A 9-3 record in the SEC East exceeds overall expectation and is a strong first season in the SEC.