It might not have been pretty at times, but winning isn't always pretty. Anybody complaining about the Missouri Tigers' current standing should take a sip of reality and realize how pretty the Tigers are actually sitting.
Any Mizzou fan that says one month ago they wouldn't be happy with a 4-0 start is a liar. Flat out. With a neutral site game against a team knocking on the Top 25's door, a home opener against a MAC school that loves upsetting BCS clubs, and their first road game against a pissed off and talented Nevada team, and many pundits saw the Tigers realistically limping into conference play at 2-2, with their toughest games yet to come.
Yet here they stand, undefeated. Behind a young gunslinger with a thus far perfect starting resume and an All-American linebacker named after a breakfast utensil.
True, Missouri's toughest scheduling lays ahead. They have three straight games against teams ranked in the Top 25, Blaine Gabbert is bound to show signs of his age soon enough, and it's doubtful one year after being one of the most horrific units in the country that Mizzou's D is actually one of the top 25 scoring defenses in the nation.
But if you had told me during the summer that Mizzou would be perfect through four games, plus have games set up against Iowa State, Kansas State, Colorado, and a Griffin-less Baylor squad, I'd say if you can pencil us in for 8 victories minimum with one of the youngest teams in the country. I'd have taken that in an instant, and still will.
Tiger fans have been griping lately about the Top 25 rankings. Sure, it's debatable that Missouri is the highest undefeated team that can't crack the AP's polls, and they also took steps back in the coach's poll even though they won on the road on national TV, but who really cares? Win any two of the next three games and the Tigers are looking at a possible double digit win season.
This isn't supposed to be Missouri's year. They lost almost every star they had minus linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Fans shouldn't remember that earlier this decade the team was dropping non-conference games to Troy and New Mexico. Gary Pinkel's current unit is in a whole 'nother stratosphere.
Who cares if the national respect isn't there just yet? All MU can do is keep racking up wins. A huge opportunity looms against Nebraska on Oct. 8 in Columbia. Defend your home turf, and Mizzou beats a top 20 opponent in its third national TV appearance of the young season.
That'll get you attention. And a 5-0 start, which is one win away from bowl eligibility.
Baby steps Tiger fans. A bowl is all but a lock. The Tigers young talent looks good. The love will come in due time. Just keep winning.
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