Missouri is the most surprising team in the country, and it's not even close.
A 7-0 start to the season and two straight victories against top-tier teams have seen the Tigers go from being unranked to positioning themselves for a trip to the SEC Championship.
It's a fairytale story!
The first BCS Rankings were released Sunday night, and the Tigers are ranked fifth in the most important poll. With endless possibilities for this team, let's break down the road to the BCS for Missouri.
Where Missouri Stands
|Record||AP Poll||USA Today Coaches'||Strength of Schedule||BCS Ranking|
Biggest Obstacles to a BCS Berth
South Carolina: The Gamecocks aren't nearly the team most thought they would be, but they're still quite talented and capable of winning when motivated. The offense needs work, and the defense can look nonexistent at times. Still, Mike Davis is an elite running back, and Jadeveon Clowney and company are capable of pressuring the quarterback. You can't sleep on South Carolina.
Ole Miss: The Rebels are just one of two remaining road games for Missouri, and they won't be easy to defeat. Ole Miss is loaded with playmakers on offense and is quite physical and athletic on defense, creating headaches. They're also a team that's peaking at the right time with a win over LSU and a near-victory over Texas A&M.
Texas A&M: Johnny Manziel. Do I need to say anymore? While the Aggies' defense may be softer than your pillow, Manziel simply doesn't lose very often and usually always has the answer with the ball in his hands. It's tough for any team in the country to outmatch last year's Heisman winner.
Missouri pretty much single-handedly knocked out Georgia and Florida in both polls. And with both programs suffering from an unusual number of injuries, they could continue their losing ways. However, we're talking about two of the top programs in the SEC, two teams that were considered national contenders before the season started. It isn't far-fetched to believe that both teams could turn things around and help out the Tigers in strength of schedule.
|Missouri's Remaining Schedule|
|Sat, Oct. 26||vs. South Carolina|
|Sat, Nov. 2||vs. Tennessee|
|Sat, Nov. 9||at Kentucky|
|Sat, Nov. 23||at Ole Miss|
|Sat, Nov. 30||vs. Texas A&M|
The Big Picture
The big picture for Missouri is really as clear as it can get for a team: Just keep on winning. Really, it's that simple. The Tigers don't need any help from anybody to accomplish anything. They play in the toughest conference in college football and truly control their own destiny. There's a reason they shot up the rankings after two straight wins over elite SEC competition.
Missouri would make a case as the top team in the country if it can run the table throughout the regular season. But even if that isn't enough, an SEC Championship matchup against Alabama would do the trick. This team will decide where it ends up and doesn't need to pay attention to anybody else. Win out, and a chance at a crystal football will take place.
Final Bowl Prediction
Could Missouri actually run the table and reach the national championship? Yes, it's quite possible. However, I see that being a stretch for the Tigers in their second season in the SEC. But a trip to the SEC Championship is very promising and will pretty much secure a bid in the BCS Sugar Bowl. Whether the Tigers lose a game or not during the regular season, they have cleared the way for Atlanta. I just don't think they're ready yet to knock off Alabama on the big stage.
Still, a BCS bowl is something nobody could have imagined and will put this program on the map in the SEC. Watch out!