Reality Faces Mizzou: Winning Out Is Only Option to Defend Crown

Peter FleischerSenior Writer INovember 2, 2009

Young defensive end monster Aldon Smith loves to do John Cena's "You Can't See Me" celebration after he gets a sack (he had three Saturday in Boulder). And that's all well and good. The Tigers got back in the win column with a 36-17 victory.

However, the fact of the matter is that Missouri can barely see the top of the Big 12 North division. In one of college football's worst divisions, they can barely see their shot at repeating staying alive.

The North currently sits like this ahead of Missouri:

1. Kansas State sits in first at 3-2, but they finish playing Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. I woudn't be surprised if they dropped all three, but then again they looked pretty good against Oklahoma before losing in Norman.

2. Nebraska is tied for second at 2-2, but you can pretty much pencil them in for a loss to Oklahoma this weekend, their game in Lawrence is looking pretty difficult, and for a team that lost to Iowa State and the Cyclones backup quarterback, KSU and CU are no longer gimmes either.

3. Iowa State is 2-2 also, but should probably be 1-3. How they beat Nebraska in Lincoln still floors me, but I don't expect them to beat Missouri or Oklahoma State.

And that's it. Surprisingly, there is no Kansas in front of Mizzou. Colorado is, as usual, a doormat. The North is (again surprisingly) winnable. Bear with me; if Missouri wins out, they have a very good shot at winning the North.

Say the Tigers beat Baylor in Columbia (this is close to a given), beat Kansas State in Manhattan (not too crazy again, but not a given with how Bill Snyder has had the 'Cats playing in the Big 12), defeat ISU at home (again, they should expect to win), and beat Kansas on neutral ground to finish the year. Missouri ends up at 9-3, and walks into the Big 12 title game for the third straight year IF:

1. Kansas State loses Kansas or Nebraska. Is that too out there? To a team that lost to University of Lousiana-Layfeyette 17-15? No. Bill Snyder is doing a good job, but the team is undermanned from the Ron Prince years.

2. Nebraska loses to Oklahoma (looking likely), and drops one of three games to Kansas (road), KSU, or Colorado (road). Going into the season (both regular and conference) I thought the Huskers were the best team in the North. But after that Iowa State loss, I wouldn't bet on them ever again. Cody Green appears talented but is too young, and Roy Helu has faded big time after a huge start to his season.

That's it. If Missouri wins out, that's all that has to happen. They have four games against their four weakest conference opponents, two at home, one on neutral ground. Their quarterback is getting healthier, their two-deep (the youngest in the nation) is getting more experienced and better, and their angry after an embarrassing start to the conference season.

I would hardly put my money on it, but stranger things have happened. Aldon Smith loves to say "You Can't See Me", and at the end of the season, there's still a chance that all opponents will be able to see is the Tigers stealing their third straight Big 12 North title.