Let’s take a look at what has transpired thus far in 2016 and see if we can somehow forecast where we’ll be at the end of November:
September 3rd, WEST VIRGINIA
Missouri started the Barry Odom era on the road at Morgantown, West Virginia. We knew this would be a tough game for our young squad and what transpired revealed both the positives and negatives about our team that while surprising at the time, have continued to play themselves out to be realities. Our offense rattled off 462 yards of offense, which was a breath of fresh air after our historically bad 2015 offense. Unfortunately, our new defense proved to be utterly unlike the 2015 version as well. Struggling to put DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place, the Tiger defense allowed Skyler Howard and company 494 yards and 26 points for a relatively easy win.
September 11th, EASTERN MICHIGAN
Our first home game was against one of the worst teams in FBS football, and allowed us to see just what our new Josh Heupel air attack was capable of. Against the lesser secondary and pass rush, Drew Lock went wild and put up 61 points. Still struggling to put DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place, the Tigers still allowed 21 points to the lowly Eagles.
The biggest gut-punch of the season came at home against the #16 Georgia Bulldogs. Missouri really dominated much of the play. Drew Lock found open receivers and the Tigers rattled off an astonishing 471 yards of offense against the Bulldogs. The downside again was the defense, still struggling to put DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place, and allowed freshman quarterback Jacob Eason to keep Georgia in the game. A series of Tiger mistakes allowed a last minute comeback, and a crucial fumble from J’Mon Moore iced the game for Georgia. Brutal.
September 24th, DELAWARE STATE
The Tigers played their annual FCS cupcake game against lowly Delaware State and the results were not really indicative of anything. Drew Lock mutilated a horrifically overmatched secondary and the Tigers scored a historic high of 79 points. The defense didn’t allow a point and Tiger fans were left wondering if this was an anomaly against a very poor team or whether they were still struggling to put DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place.
October 2nd, LSU
After a close game against a ranked conference opponent, and an unequivocal blowout against an FCS school, Tiger fans had high hopes going into Death Valley. LSU had just fired Les Miles and star running back Leonard Fournette was sitting out with an injury. As it turned out, those high hopes were ill-founded and Mizzou’s supposedly high-powered offense was utterly neutered by the brutal LSU defensive attack. Defensively, Mizzou struggled to put DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place and allowed 42 points, a record high against SEC competition for LSU.
That takes us to now. Missouri has had a week off to lick its wounds and make adjustments for their upcoming game against Florida. Mizzou stands at 2-3 and winless in SEC play. They have lost every game the national pundits expected them to and are not in contention in the East. In order to reach six wins and become bowl eligible, the Tigers will need to win four of its next seven games. Is it possible? Let’s look ahead and see.
October 15th, FLORIDA
Missouri will again take on a tough road team when they head to Gainesville to face #18 Florida. The Gator defense is as tough or even tougher than that of LSU which doesn’t bode well for Missouri’s offense which has proven to be very one-dimensional. The only hope the Tigers have for making headway is to somehow get its hapless running game, led by undersized Ish Witter, moving. While Florida doesn’t have a prolific offense, their impromptu bye week courtesy of Hurricane Matthew has allowed quarterback Luke Del Rio to get healthy and LSU didn’t seem to have much of an offense either before putting 42 on us. The big question will be, will Mizzou’s defense continue to struggle putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place? MIZZOU LOSES (2-4, 0-3)
October 22nd, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Why the Tigers chose a lower tier nonconference team as its Homecoming opponent is baffling. It doesn’t inspire much confidence in the Tiger fan base. However, for all its flaws, Drew Lock salivates at the opportunity to exploit undersized or under talented defenses. Look to see more bloated offensive numbers in this one. The real question will be, will Mizzou’s defense continue to struggle putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place? MIZZOU WINS (3-4, 0-3)
October 29th, KENTUCKY
Kentucky is allowing 31 points per game, which bodes well for the Tigers. Mizzou also has the advantage of playing at home. Like every conference game thus far, the big concern will be, will Mizzou’s defense continue to struggle putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place?
MIZZOU WINS (4-4, 1-3)
SEC road games are always tough but South Carolina has a putrid offense, plus they’re coached by the most hapless clown in college football, Will Muschamp. I expect Drew Lock to be able to muster enough points to allow our defense to HOPEFULLY prevail. All of this of course is predicated on whether our defense continues to struggle putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place. MIZZOU WINS (5-4, 2-3)
November 11th, VANDERBILT
The Tigers will take on the SEC punching bag Vanderbilt at home this year. Vandy is a team that should be a sure fire win every year but Mizzou has managed to find ways to lose to them. This year, I expect the Tiger offense to flourish. The Commodores have been garbage this year, but if Mizzou is going to win, they’ll have to contain junior running back Ralph Webb who makes up the entiriety of Vandy’s offense. To do this, of course, the Mizzou defense must not continue to struggle putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place. MIZZOU WINS (6-4, 3-3)
November 18th, TENNESSEE
No upset win would make our hearts swell more than beating Tennessee in Knoxville. Though Butch Jones’ squad has had its struggles, they seem to be improving week in and week out. My heart wants me to pick the Tigers in this one but the reality is that this game is unwinnable as long as our defense continues to struggle putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place.
MIZZOU LOSES (6-5, 3-4)
November 25th, ARKANSAS
Oh boy. This one is tough. Arkansas is currently ranked #22 in the country and just put up 30 points on Alabama in a losing effort. The Razorbacks defense is not good which gives the Tigers offense hope but as you’re probably aware, Mizzou’s defense has struggled putting DeMontie Cross’ new scheme in place, which has tended to allow even decent offenses to run wild. Sadly, I think that’ll be the difference. MIZZOU LOSES (6-6, 3-5)
There you have it. Given what we’ve seen to date, the Tigers just don’t seem capable of taking wins from quality teams. Our potent offense is more than capable however, of going nuts on struggling defenses. This should be enough to eek out six wins and keep us bowl eligible. YAY SHREVEPORT!