Meet the new favorite in the SEC East: the Missouri Tigers
The Tigers, who came in at No. 5 in the BCS rankings on Sunday night, are the nation's biggest surprise this year at 7-0.
With marquee wins over Georgia and Florida, Missouri is 3-0 in the SEC, while everybody else in the SEC East has at least two losses.
Missouri can all but seal up the SEC title and a berth into the conference title game with a win on Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks, who are second in the division.
If the Tigers win that one, then they will have a head-to-head advantage over the second- and third-ranked teams in the SEC East.
And with only one game against a ranked team left after this week, you've got to think the Tigers will take care of business down the stretch and continue to solidify themselves as an elite SEC team.
What's most impressive about the Tigers this year is that they've survived a year in which the SEC is beating up on itself.
There are only two SEC teams in top 10 of the BCS standings (there's three from the ACC, just to give perspective), and that's because the conference has been ruthless.
Just last week alone, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee pulled off upsets over Texas A&M, LSU and South Carolina, respectively.
If you're looking for another example of just how dangerous the SEC is and how impressive it is that the Tigers have avoided a loss so far, look no further than the team that put Missouri on the map, the Georgia Bulldogs.
Going into their matchup with the Tigers just two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were considered a dark horse for a national title berth.
But now Georgia, with two straight losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt, don't even appear in the BCS rankings and are all but lost in the minds of college football fans.
Missouri Is Squarely in the BCS Mix, but Just How Good Are the Tigers? http://t.co/dDEFZ3MCc7— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 21, 2013
The Tigers have quietly put together one of the nation's best offenses despite having to replace starting quarterback James Franklin with Maty Mauk last week after Franklin went down with an injury.
They currently rank 30th in passing (279.0), 15th in rushing (234.4) and eighth in scoring (44.3), per ESPN.
However, as the old saying goes, defense wins championships. And Missouri hasn't allowed more than 28 points all season.
The Tigers have five games left on their schedule: three at home and two on the road. The two ranked teams they play—South Carolina and Texas A&M—are both at home, so the Tigers have the edge there.
|Oct. 26||No. 21 South Carolina||Columbia, Mo.|
|Nov. 2||Tennessee||Columbia, Mo.|
|Nov. 9||Kentucky||Lexington, Ky.|
|Nov. 23||Ole Miss||Oxford, Miss.|
|Nov. 30||No. 16 Texas A&M||Columbia, Mo.|
As long as Missouri doesn't collapse down the stretch, the surprise of the nation should coast into the SEC title game with a potential shot at a national title berth.