How a Missouri Win over Georgia Strikes a Blow Against the SEC
To say Missouri is an underdog against Georgia this weekend is an understatement.
This is the SEC. In case you haven't heard, this conference breeds excellence, wins championships and has become the talk of the sport. And in this league, Georgia is considered a giant.
Missouri? Not so much.
Hear those sneers in the room as little ol' Missouri walks into an SEC meeting? Here are the new guys that think they compete with the elite in the conference. Hold the snickering to a minimum, please.
Well, it just so happens that these newcomers have a talented football team. And as dominant as the SEC has been and as good of a football team Georgia possesses, these Missouri Tigers are more than capable of pulling off the upset.
So, without blowing one game out of proportion, this is how a Missouri victory affects the SEC.
Big 12 > Than SEC?
The media and college football fans are so quick to jump to assumptions that a tight victory by Missouri would spark a whole different debate.
Could it be? Could the Big 12 be better than the SEC? The good folks in Texas and Oklahoma are sure to call their buddies in Louisiana and Arkansas to gloat about this being a win for the Big 12 conference.
But anyone with common sense knows that this simply isn't the case. It's one game and it really doesn't affect the landscape of dominance that's been paved by the SEC winning six straight national titles.
But for the sake of squashing that argument, Missouri is in the SEC now. The conference chose to go after it because SEC commissioner Mike Slive saw its potential, and any arguments made about the Big 12 are irrelevant.
But then again, not everyone thinks that way, and in this day and age, where wild speculation is as common as accurate reports and researched opinion, you know this is coming.
Eliminates a Title Contender
Georgia losing in Week 2 affects the SEC by eliminating a title contender.
Sure, the Bulldogs lost the first two games of the year last season and went on a winning streak en route to an SEC championship berth, but doing that again in 2012 is highly unlikely. Why?
Well, as Vanderbilt proved against South Carolina in the first week, the gap has closed in the SEC East. Florida's defense is better, Tennessee is stronger, Vanderbilt isn't backing down from anyone and South Carolina's blessed with a lot of talent.
So, the odds of Georgia running the table after losing to Missouri is quite a stretch, and even if Georgia makes it to the SEC championship game, it'll most likely have two losses.
Thinking long-term—should Georgia beat the SEC West champion on Dec. 1, the SEC could very well not be represented in the national title game. Catch your breath, folks.
Possibly Puts Mark Richt Back on the Hot Seat
Though at first glance, this doesn't affect the entire conference, a Mark Richt firing would be a huge blow to the SEC.
No, Richt wouldn't get fired after one game, but as much as he's been on the hot seat lately, a loss to Missouri might put him there once again.
So if Richt's placed on the hot seat and this team underachieves tremendously by losing three or four games in the regular season, you have to wonder about Richt's job security.
Fans are growing more and more impatient over there in Athens, Ga. They're sick of Georgia players getting suspended, and they're tired of their teams taking a backseat to Florida, LSU, Alabama and even Auburn.
What happens if they take a backseat to Missouri?
Puts the SEC East Up for Grabs
Consider the SEC East wide-open.
South Carolina showed flaws in its opener, Georgia is 0-1 in conference and the rest of the teams (minus Kentucky) all have legitimate chances of taking the SEC East.
Even more so, Missouri is in the driver's seat in the division, which is something that was thought to be improbable. And though this puts the Tigers on top of the SEC East, they're still far from winning the conference.
It's not like the SEC is exchanging one title contender for another with Missouri. Sure, Missouri poses problems for people with a mobile quarterback in James Franklin and its offense is talented, but the odds of them defeating Alabama and South Carolina are still unlikely.
Heck, this team should struggle with Florida, as the Gators defense will be able to match athlete for athlete with the Tigers' offensive weapons.
SEC West Stays Dominant over SEC East
And with all of the chaos it creates in the SEC East, it only makes the SEC West that much stronger.
It seems the SEC West is always showered with love, but that's because they always back it up. In fact, at one point of the season last year LSU, Alabama and Arkansas were ranked No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in the country. That had to have made Slive give out a Macho Man "ohhhh yeah! Dig it!"
But this is supposed to be the year that the SEC balances itself out again. As mentioned earlier, more is expected out of Tennessee with Tyler Bray returning at quarterback and Florida returning key starters on defense.
As for Georgia and South Carolina, they return great quarterbacks, strong defensive lines, and even without Isaiah Crowell, both have excellent running games. For those that disagree, see Todd Gurley.
Should Missouri pull this upset off, the SEC West once again becomes the main attraction of the SEC and will most likely hold its seventh straight national champion.