In case people have missed it, I have done a position preview for every position on the Missouri Tigers football team for the upcoming season, all building up to this article, my season predictions.
I think the Mizzou team should be really strong this year, even stronger then some people are giving them credit for. While a national championship shouldn't be expected, it isn't out of the question either.
Week 1: Missouri 38, Illinois 24
While the Fighting Illini are talented, I don't think this will quite be the matchup people are making it out to be. People forget that the Tigers were destroying the Illini before the first and only Pinkel-esque collapse of the season, calling for late heroics by Pig Brown.
Illinois has lost Rashard Mendenhall, two linebackers including captain J. Leman, and both safeties. That means the Missouri defense, who returns all but one starter, can focus on Juice Williams and Regis Benn, while the offense can pick on a young LB corps.
In the end, I think the Tigers are trying to get to where the Illini are working to be, and their superior talent will win out. (Record: 1-0)
Week 2: Missouri 65, SEMO 17
This one will be a laugher. This game will give the team a chance to get important backups some experience. Hopefully, Chase has a clean and dominating performance, pushing his numbers toward a Heisman finish. (2-0)
Week 3: Missouri 51, Nevada 20
Nevada is not a terrible team, but they only return four starters from a defense that should have some major problems in Columbia. Simply put, Missouri is too explosive and fast for the Wolf Pack. (3-0)
Week 4: Missouri 44, Buffalo 13
This is the last of those non-conference jokes that will provide a good tune up for the Tigers. Buffalo probably isn't even one of the top 100 teams in the nation. Missouri is in the top 10. At this point, Chase Daniel could have 20 total TDs. If he keeps his INTs down, he'll be hearing Heisman whispers already. (4-0)
Week 5: Missouri 41, Nebraska 24
Last year's game in Columbia was Missouri's coming-out party, and the start of the end for Nebraska. The Cornhusker offense might put up respectable numbers in front of a home crowd, but for a defense that finished 112th overall last year and returns just six starters, this is an impossible match up.
If you're tempted to take the Huskers in a home upset, don't. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen will have two weeks to prepare for the Blackshirts. Missouri gets its first conference W. (5-0)
Week 6: Missouri 48, Oklahoma State 31
If this game were on the road, I'd be concerned about an upset, but Missouri should have this game on lock at home. One thing to mention is that they might be looking ahead to Texas, but Daniel and Co. have always done a decent job of tackling the task at hand.
Bottom line, Missouri's offense is better then Oklahoma State's. About 17 points better. (6-0)
Week 7: Missouri 37, Texas 31
I don't trust the Tigers to win in Austin, but every sign points to them coming out victorious. They have a new defense to learn under Will Muschamp, and only five returning starters to stop Mizzou's offense.
They also are coming off a game at Colorado and then another out-of-towner for Oklahoma in Dallas. I think the 'Horns will be tired and beaten up.
Colt McCoy is good but not great, and yes I'm sure Mack Brown will find playmakers for the offense, but the cupboard is much more empty than in years past.
Don't think the Mizzou D, which is packed with Texas kids (Tommy Chavis, Ziggy Hood, Stryker Sulak, Sean Weatherspoon), will pass up on a chance to embarrass Texas.
This may be the first time ever that Mizzou will be the better team. It's just a matter of execution. Oklahoma was a better team than Missouri last year. Period.
But other then that, the Tigers took care of business against lesser foes. If they do that this year, they'll beat Texas. (7-0)
Week 8: Missouri 45, Colorado 21
After last year's beatdown in Boulder, I wouldn't be surprised if the Buffs came into Columbia pissed off and played well. But they will stay be in Columbia, so I don't see an upset coming.
Darrell Scott might give the Tigers problems, but ultimately a defense that got flat-out TORCHED last year and lost both their CBs and an All-American LB isn't going to stop the Tiger offense. (8-0)
Week 9: Missouri 58, Baylor 17
Maybe Art Briles' spread offense will be up-and-running by week nine, but I doubt it. Combine that with a defense that was ranked 110th last year, and you will see a Mizzou offense scoring a lot and a Baylor offense still in transition.
Baylor might be on the way up under a new coach, but not yet. (9-0)
Week 10: Missouri 42, Kansas State 27
Josh Freeman is talented, but a lot of his success had to do with All-American WR Jordy Nelson, now in the NFL. With Nelson gone and the running game in question, the Tigers will be all over Freeman.
I'm still not sure if Ron Prince is hitting the panic button by bringing in all the juco players. With five starters back on defense, Kansas State won't be able to give Missouri enough trouble to really put up a surprise W, especially on the Tigers' home field. (10-0)
Week 11: Missouri 38, Iowa State 24
The Cyclones have always given Mizzou trouble, and I'll never forget Pig Brown getting hurt against them last year. He was on the field late in the game because of costly mistakes, when really the game should have been over long ago.
However, after losing long-time tandem in QB Bret Meyer and WR Todd Blythe, Iowa State won't beat the Tigers.
The Cyclones do return 14 starters, but the team was 3-9 last year. I expect year two under Gene Chizik to be better, but still not good enough to upset my Tigers. (11-0)
Week 12: Missouri 35, Kansas 27
This game should be a really great, fun game to watch, once again. Last year's contest was incredible, but I guess I was on the winning end.
This year, both teams should be good again, but look for Chase Daniel to step up here. He won't want to lose in the final game of the regular season, and he's always torched Kansas (6 TD, 0 INT, 717 yards passing).
The loss of Martin Rucker does concern me with the Jayhawks star-studded LB unit, but I think Missouri was much better then KU last year, and that the Kansas squad actually lost more overall talent in between. Mizzou will go into the postseason undefeated, and possibly as the No. 1 team in the nation. (12-0)
Big XII Championship: Missouri 34, Oklahoma 27
Yep, I'm calling it right here. I think that the Sooners lost enough talent (two LB, both CB), that the Tigers can take the final step and beat the Sooners. It's more about desire in this one than skill as well.
This will be the last season for a lot of stars in black and gold (Daniel, Coffman, Hood, all three LB, Moore, possibly Maclin and 'Spoon), and they won't let their school lose to OU again.
Daniel should have an easier time, because although the Sooners only lost four starters on D, having Curtis Lofton and Reggie Smith gone should help him immensely.
On the other side of the ball, I think the younger guys (Lambert, Gettis, and jucos Justin Garrett and Castine Bridges) will be seasoned enough to take advantage of OU's losses on offense.
Am I sure Mizzou will win? Absolutely not. But I have faith in this year's team, and I think a win is entirely possible, this year more then ever. (13-0)
Recap: So there it is guys. I truly believe that Missouri football can go 13-0 this year, and head to the national championship game in January. Do many share my opinion? Definitely not. But is the evidence there to support my idea? Yes, it is.
Missouri definitely isn't the most talented team in the nation, but they have a much easier schedule then most, and could definitely be playing for the ultimate prize in January.
I'd love to hear what people have to say, and answer any questions or arguments.
Thanks for reading, I'm Peter Fleischer.
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