I don't really have the quantified evidence to support how I feel about the Missouri defense, so please bear with me—I just don't get it.
Why exactly is Missouri's defense catching so much crap!? Yes, it had one terrible game against Illinois, in the team's first game, against a good opponent. But come, on people! The national media is acting like Missouri gives up 40 points per game.
The statistics that land Missouri its poor national rankings involve yards per game allowed and passing efficiency, but don't factor in the fact that the Tigers' starters rarely see the fourth quarter because they're playing in a blowout.
People have lost sight that the main goal of a defense is to allow fewer points than you score. Missouri has done that. And very well, too.
Since the Illinois game, the Tigers have given up 14.5 points per game. They held the Nebraska offense, which scored 30 points against a good Va. Tech defense the week before, to only 10 points before a meaningless last-second score.
They've outscored opponents by an average of 33.4 points per game this season, but it's not like the offense is carrying the squad completely. The defense is doing more than enough to win ball games. The point differential is plus-167 on the year, and it could end up much higher.
Yes, the Tigers' pass defense has been burnt for a big play, but they held Joe Ganz and the Huskers to a dismal performance, and a lot of their tough stats are still skewed from Juice Williams' big game in St. Louis.
No, Missouri doesn't have the iron-curtain on "D." It might not even be that good. But is its defense that bad? Is it to the point where the team has no chance of winning a national championship because of it?
Not yet. Not if the Tigers keep scoring 33 points more than their opponents. So let's cut them some slack, and see what they can do.