Missouri Breakdown: Where Credit is Due

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IJuly 23, 2008

Let's start off by giving credit where credit is due. The Missouri Tigers were a great football team in 2007. Statistically speaking, they were one of the best. It's pretty straightforward what made them so good, and what will likely make them just as good in 2008: Chase Daniel.

Gary Pinkel has kept the same staff for a number of years, turning them into a finely-oiled machine. He has built the team around the skills of an agile, athletic, and very intelligent football player. Averaging 39 points per game is not out of the question again.

70 offensive touchdowns in 14 games. 490 yards per game. One of the top teams in almost every offensive category that the NCAA keeps track of. Their 33 turnovers gained versus 20 lost was also a huge part of getting so many points.

Just one team stopped them from being in a national championship game. It's hard to believe that they didn't beat Oklahoma when you looked at all of their stats. They were highly efficient in critical downs and protected their quarterback and the ball.

Of course everyone thought of Mizzou as this explosive offensive powerhouse, but their defense turned out a modest 23 points/game and only allowed around 378 yards/game - about the middle of the road in the NCAA last year. Expect improvements on the defensive side of the ball as seven seniors are expected be starting in the fall. If they can average 40 points/game and hold opponents to an average of 20 points/game (which is what I expect them to do), they have more than a shot to win against every opponent on their schedule.

Unfortunately, this includes Nebraska. Vegas oddsmakers hand three points over to the home team in every game. If Nebraska wins at Memorial Stadium this year, it will likely be by those three points. The Huskers averaged 33 points per game, but averaged over 60 when Joe Ganz was leading the team!

I doubt we can average 60 points per game, but we will need everything Ganz can muster against one of our toughest opponents of the year. I'm going to have to give the edge to the Tigers, 42-38. Prove me wrong Bo Pelini. Prove. Me. Wrong.