Missouri Football: Why Gary Pinkel Must Succeed in First SEC Season or Else

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IMay 28, 2012

Missouri Football: Why Gary Pinkel Must Succeed in First SEC Season or Else

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    The Missouri Tigers football team will be making a much-anticipated jump to the SEC in 2012.

    It will be a big opportunity for head coach Gary Pinkel, who needs to duplicate the success he’s had in the Big 12 in years past.

    If he can succeed in the best college football conference on the planet, he’ll become a household name in 2012.

    Let’s take a look at the top five reasons Pinkel must succeed in 2012.

5. The Tigers Had a Messy Exit from the Big 12

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    When Missouri left the Big 12, the conference almost fell apart.

    That led to some harsh words from other Big 12 schools (especially Kansas.)

    Needless to say, there will be plenty of teams, fans and schools rooting for Missouri to fail in the SEC.

    Gary Pinkel needs to make sure his team tunes out all the negative press and focuses on football.

4. He Needs to Keep Performing Well in the Best Conference

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    Pinkel has beaten a lot of SEC teams in the past, most recently in a 2008 Cotton Bowl drubbing of Arkansas.

    He’s proven he can beat some of these tough teams once. Now, he must prove he can have his team ready to play every week against the toughest competition.

    If not, people will say Pinkel’s early success against the SEC was a fluke.

3. He Needs to Keep Mizzou from Embarrassing Itself

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    The Tigers made the move to the SEC, in part, because they wanted to prove they belong among the greatest teams in college football.

    Now they’ve got what they want, so they must make the most of it.

    They’ve talked the talk, now Pinkel and the Tigers must walk the walk.

2. He Needs to Make a Name for Himself

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    Not many college football fans know who Gary Pinkel is, despite the fact that he’s done nothing but win during his time at Missouri.

    One thing is for sure though—if he has a big year in the SEC, people will notice.

    Beating teams like Georgia, Florida and South Carolina will get you noticed in a hurry.

1. He’s on Thin Ice After Last Season

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    Pinkel’s arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol has been the only negative in his tenure at Missouri.

    But, it was a big mistake, and one that can’t be taken lightly.

    The best way to get fans back on his side will be to lead Missouri to a respectable record in his first season in the SEC. 

    Everyone deserves a second chance—2012 will be Pinkel's.